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Production cities in Beyond the Sword

Discussion in 'Civ4 - General Discussions' started by ringwraith18, Jan 6, 2014.

  1. 3iff

    3iff Chieftain

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    I actually found and planned a big production city. All land with grass with 4 (I think) hills and a couple of food bonuses plus a great mass of rivers...no plains. I went to work on it, clearing forests and preparing for workshops. It was really churning out the hammers (for military, mainly). I must take a screenshot.

    I was quite proud to have done something so efficiently (for once!).
     
  2. noto2

    noto2 Emperor

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    You want a hammer city? Well... let's assume you want a hammer city that will be good throughout the whole game. What you should look for is, ideally, a location near water (either coastal or beside a lake, but a river is better, both riverside AND coastal is even better), or, if there is no water, a bunch of forests will do as well. Then, it needs to have several hills and some high food tiles. This could be, for example, a coastal city with fish and clams, and 4 green hills. You work the seafood and feed the hill mines. Below size 6, whip away for production. Once you grow past a certain size, however, whipping is only useful when you hit the pop cap and you don't want to whip the city down, this is somewhere between sizes 6-8, depending on tiles.

    But, who are we kidding, ideal sites are hard to find. In the early game all you need is food, find a location with lots of food and whip, whip, whip, whip. Then, when you get to guilds you can switch to caste system and spam workshops everywhere. You'll no longer have the whip but you won't need it, and there you have your powerful medieval production city.

    The reason why I say keep it near water and leave some forests if you can is when you hit the industrial era you'll want to build a factory and a coal plant, which create an enormous amount of pollution, and you'll want all the health you can get.
     
  3. ringwraith18

    ringwraith18 Chieftain

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    I don't understand the whipping thing. Why would I want to sacrifice food/commerce production for production early game? Wouldn't it be better if the citizens were developing a cottage or on a mine?
     
  4. Imp. Knoedel

    Imp. Knoedel Properly Paranoid Proletarian

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    Most tiles in the early game with the exception of resources aren't really that great, thus you will gain more use from the pop by whipping it away. Of course the whip is more efficient the more food you have, and due to the increasing amount of food you need to grow to each higher pop level (e.g. You need more food to grow from 13 to 14 than from 6 to 7) it is also more efficient for smaller cities. In a nutshell you want to whip in the beginning to build up basic infrastructure (Monument, Granary, Lighthouse the works) and later on to keep your unhappiness under control. Someone once calculated that until size 6 the whip gives more hammers than working a grass hill mine, so until the mid-late game when improvements become better and Universal Suffrage offers an alternative way to rush build something Slavery is in most cases the best way to gain hammers until your cities consistently stay in the double digits population wise.

    Commerce is of course a different story, in cities focused on it you should indeed use the whip only very sparingly.
     
  5. Seraiel

    Seraiel Deity

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    Each citizen "eats" 2 :food: , so if a tile is giving you i. e. 4 :hammers: but no :food: (i. e. Plains-Mine) , that tile is actually costing you 2 :food: !

    When cities are very small and have a Granary, the conversion ratio from :food: to :hammers: is can exceed 2:1 , so working the Plains-Mine would actually result in losing about 1 :hammers: / turn when compared to keeping the city small and whipping that tile away, and smaller cities also cause less maintenance than larger ones.

    What Imp. Knoedel says about that only resources are really worth working, is quite fitting for most Domination / Conquest games.

    Of course, Commerce is a completely different category. Sacrificing Commerce for Production is the right move when i. e. having a military-key-tech and before going to war. One basically maximises Commerce to reach the key-tech, and then whips the whole emipre as harsh as possible, to maximise the advantage gotten through that key-tech -> land.

    What many players also underestimate, is, that it's possible to stay in Slavery for the whole game. I just mention this, because I just finished a Conquest game which ended at 16xx AD, with no city larger than size 8. Kremlin + Biology-Farms -whips have basically the highest degree of efficiency in the whole game, as then, 1 grassland Farm can easily exceed 20+ :hammers: via Slavery. (Count 1 :food: = 2 :hammers: * 2 from Forge + Factory * 1.5 from Kremlin. Biology farm has 4 :food: ) .
     
  6. noto2

    noto2 Emperor

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    ringwraith - it's a complicated question that takes many things into account. What I can say, though, is most new players will drastically underestimate the power of whipping. All I can really tell you is to try it once and you will see. Instead of slow building your workers and settlers and defensive units early game, try whipping them.

    Wait until it takes 2 pop to whip the settler, and then whip it out. Then build a few archers/axes while your city grows back up 2 pop. Then train a worker and whip it out, then grow back while training some archers/axes...etc, and keep doing this. You'll notice you expand very quickly.

    Then, try whipping units and immediately building some infrastructure the next turn, like a library, build it for one turn, then switch back to a unit and whip again after your city grows 2 pop. This is called your whip overflow, and you can put it towards buildings and even wonders.
     
  7. dohh

    dohh Warlord

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    One sadistic person You must be:)
    No one claims for whipping as much as Seraiel. However Your results speak for themselves and theres a lot to learn from You.
     
  8. Pangaea

    Pangaea Rock N Roller

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    Whipping (and Drafting) is quite simply ludicrously powerful when gearing up for war (in general too, but particularly then). You can whip out a huge army in just a handful of turns, then use that army to crush an AI or two, get more land and therefore more power. Then the snowball rolls and rolls and rolls...

    Just try it once. When you are planning to go to war, go into full-scale war and whipping mode. 2-3 pop whip Cuirs (or whatever) from virtually all your cities. I tend to spare the capital, HE city (if I have one) and perhaps a commerce city, especially if it's low on food. But otherwise, whip to your heart's content :devil:

    Everybody should try this wholehearted at least once. It's very powerful, almost a cheat mode against the AI.
     
  9. auagxa

    auagxa Warlord

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    I concur, well except for drafting which I don't trigger happy with that much. Even if going to space, those whipped cities will recover fast enough to contribute to space parts.
     
  10. noto2

    noto2 Emperor

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    ^^Drafting is also just stupidly powerful. Once you get to rifles and cannons, have every city build cannons and then draft 3 rifles/turn. You'll see AI power scores go from 2.5 to 0.2 after a good 20 turns or so, and then you win the game.

    I wish the AI would do that against me. I wish the AI played to win like that. I wish an AI would be low in power and hit rifling, and then 15 turns later I have 45 rifles knocking on my door.... but alas, it never does.
     
  11. Pangaea

    Pangaea Rock N Roller

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    The unhappiness from drafting can be a pain, that is certainly true, but 30 rifles in 10 turns is enough to win a war. Then there is whipping on top, and you're laughing.

    I'm glad the AI doesn't do this though. The immense biases they have can be rough to deal with at times, so if they were actually competent as well, the game could simply become unwinnable at the highest levels.
     
  12. noto2

    noto2 Emperor

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    That's the point. The AI could beat you without cheating. That would be a lot more fun.
     
  13. Pangaea

    Pangaea Rock N Roller

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    Well, let's assume the AI became pretty darn good at micro and whatnot. Combined with the immense advantages it has on the higher levels (less war weariness, less maintenance, cheaper research, builds, and so forth), it would pretty much become impossible to win at the higher levels.

    As Soren said (paraphrasing here), it would certainly be possible to make such an AI... but would it be fun?

    Right now it's possible to win at deity (but still pretty damn hard), and much more so on immortal. Make a truly good AI that would take much better advantage of good micro, whipping and drafting, and I don't think that would longer be the case.

    Most probably the reason WHY they gave the AIs such obscene advantages is that they couldn't be arsed to make a truly competitive AI to begin with, but I am quite fine with how the game works now tbh. It means there are plenty of challenges at all difficulty levels, depending on how good the player is. Many who are active in these forums are competitive at immortal and even deity, but I reckon most players were quite content at winning at Noble or thereabouts. And as a developer, Firaxis had to develop a game for everybody, not just the top 1%.
     
  14. noto2

    noto2 Emperor

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    I think you have it all backwards. I could make the difficultly level even higher, by giving the AI even more bonuses to production, etc, but if the AI played worse you could still beat it. Imagine if the AI never used siege weapons, for example, and liked to suicide units on castles on hills.

    If the AI played much smarter, you wouldn't need those high difficulty levels. You're complaining that you couldn't beat a smart AI on deity...well... why do you even need deity level in the first place? All the high difficulty levels do is give the AI handicaps.

    You ask about fun... personally I'd rather play against an AI so good it doesn't need handicaps to beat me, that would be fun. I find it FAR LESS fun to play against an AI that has ridiculous handicaps. Who cares if it's impossible to beat on deity... it SHOULD be impossible to beat on deity, if it were truly good at the game... you know how many handicaps and cheats it gets at that level?

    When I play against chess AI on good software, on the highest difficulty level, it completely owns me without cheats. That's good AI. Good chess AI exists because people took the time to program it. Imagine if chess software makers were lazy and made horrible AI that even a novice could beat most of the time. Now imagine to make it more challenging they simply gave the AI handicaps...like... on higher difficulty levels the human player starts without their queen, or something like that. Would you enjoy that? I wouldn't.
     
  15. Pangaea

    Pangaea Rock N Roller

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    Chess isn't exactly a good comparison here though. Everything is very limited in a sense, and that software is something people have worked very hard on for literally decades. That is not the environment in which game developers find themselves.

    Besides, I'm not "complaining" about how hard it is to beat deity. I've never played deity. I'm simply saying that there is a reason why game developer choose to use AI cheats and punishments rather than make a truly competitive AI. It's very, very hard and takes a long time. It's easier to make an AI that operate with a set ruleset and then give it bonuses/handicaps for different difficulty levels, than to in effect make X different AIs that play at the various levels.

    I agree it would be more fun, for us, to beat an AI that was competitive without cheats, but that same AI would wipe the floor with about 90% of people who play the game, and that would not be fun, not profitable for Firaxis when the backlash hits from unhappy customers. Like I mentioned above, they had to make a game for all that bought it, not just the top 1% who play competitive and at the very top levels. And the cheap and easy way to do that in a reasonable time frame is to design an AI with bonuses and handicaps.

    I don't want to keep arguing about this back and forth, but am trying to see the situation from a different perspective.
     
  16. elitetroops

    elitetroops Deity

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    Pretty much this. And I would also add that it would be impossible to make a competitive AI without bonuses unless the diplo system is dramatically changed. As it is now, the human player can always surprise attack regardless of relations, which is quite a big bonus. With a "perfect" AI that plays without other bonuses, you would have to give it this option too, otherwise the human has an unfair advantage. That would then ruin the whole point with diplomacy, so it's not an option I'd like to see.

    The main problem with how it is now is that while deity is beatable, you pretty much have to exploit the bad AI to do so. You need to know which mistakes the AI is likely to make and take advantage out of them. Playing the game like you would play it against a good thinking player is not the way to beat deity.
     
  17. Seraiel

    Seraiel Deity

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    Exploiting the AIs weaknesses as much as possible is, was and will always be the way of the best players to achieve fantastical results in a game.

    Using mechanics that players regard as Bugs, is prevented by the HoF rules i. e., so there's some protection against a player i. e. parking a stack of 20 chariots in front of a city, and gift that city to an AI while being in war and always recapturing and re-gifting it over and over for +20 diplo by 20 chariots in 1 turn, but exploiting weaknesses is totally different:

    If the AI is too stupid for something, taking advantage of that is only logical. Like when AI comes with its 50+ units stack, and one sends one (suicide) warrior next to it, to deterr it's course for just the 2 turns that are needed to get enough defenders and build a Castle in a city that'll get attacked, that's amazing! Consecutively chopping tons of Forrests into the same wonder over different cities, just because of conversion rates, is brilliant, and pursuading an AI to revolutionize for the upcoming 3 turns with one's SoD right at its borders, is hillarious and geniuz both together.

    Does this help?
     
  18. Nexlev

    Nexlev King

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    I'm still learning how to leverage both slavery and drafting. I've understood the concept for awhile now, but still underutilized it. For example I only recently learned that you can set a reminder with the buffy mod, one of my key mistakes was forgetting when it was time to draft again.

    Also, I've been watching Seraiels OCC video on youtube, and honestly it would never have occured to me to re-whip before the unhappy penalty has expired. I'd always adhered to the 10-turn rule exclusively. Same with drafting, for most cities. I have an aversion to seeing unhappy cities but I am learning that there are situations where the production over-rides the unhappy.

    The real eureka moment for me, when I fully realized the power of slavery, was playing with Montezuma on a rainforest map. Also really made me appreciate the spiritual trait. On that map I forced myself to whip every five turns (as much as I could remember). In most cities my first whip was the alter once it was available. Talk about a breakout... Monte whips ridiculously so... fun to play.
    Alternatively, you could give the human player the same rule as AIs i.e. no attacking at pleased for most leaders. Which would also suck.
    Yes.
     
  19. Nexlev

    Nexlev King

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    As pangea said, chess doesn't work as a correllary.

    Chess has been around 1500 years, and that whole time human players have been developing strategy, sharing strats and training each other, etc. By the time software was developed for chess AI, the strategies were so well defined and possibly everything there was to know was known.

    Imagine if CivIV was released for beta, but in it's current form with rules in place etc. Then Civ fanatics was given 1500 years to develop strategies, then the programmers had a chance to redesign the AI from the ground up. The game would be ridiculously good but so expensive to develop that way...

    As it is, the game has been around what, 8 years? And strategies to this day are still being developed and refined
     
  20. Pangaea

    Pangaea Rock N Roller

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    When you get access to drafting, you usually have quite mature and big-ish cities. Or alternatively, if you have whipped a lot, small cities with a huge happiness cap. In any case, the time to draft again is most likely the next turn. At least for a while. In my current game there are many cities with +12:mad: for drafting, but that isn't a problem at all as long as there is still happiness to go. All that matters is that you have positive happiness.

    In the beginning of the game you often have to adhere to the 10-turn rule, because your happiness cap may be 4-6:) Then it's hard to accrue lots of whipping unhappiness, because you'll quickly have cities with semi-permanently unhappy citizens. But as time progresses and you get access to more happiness via resources, buildings, religions and bonuses, there is much bigger room for whipping, and you can get a pretty high whip anger without it really affecting much. This does add up quicker with drafting than whipping, because for each drafted unit you get +3:mad:, but it's usually not a big problem to draft for example 5-6 units from a city. Also, as you have (or will) learn, the draft is incredibly powerful, especially with Rifles (best :hammers: to :mad: ratio). You essentially get one Rifle for 30:hammers:. Or more precisely, X :food:, depending on what size the city was when you drafted from it.

    Double up on whipping and drafting, and you'll have an army in no time :)
     

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