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Questions about some old tips

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by Xzight, Jul 9, 2019.

  1. Xzight

    Xzight Chieftain

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    First of all, this is my first post on this forum so hi everyone! I have recently picked up Civilization 4 (a game I played as a very young child but never quite understood) and have been looking for some tips to win at the Noble difficulty. I found two great articles here on the forum:

    Article 1
    Article 2

    What I am wondering is how well this advice holds up today seeing as these posts are a few years old. And also as a more specific question in article 2 it says "Cottage every other city's flatlands, except for one GP farm." Seems simple enough but I wondered what I should do in the other half of my cities? My assumption was that the other cities would have farms on their flatlands but thought I would check with you guys to be sure.

    Disclaimer: I know that this is a very complex game and there isn't one set of tips you can follow to be successful at every difficulty. Really though I just want to learn the basics to win on noble and start playing with the Nobles Club! :)
     
  2. AcaMetis

    AcaMetis Chieftain

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    Looking through just the quoted post in article 1 and the first post of article 2 I actually don't see any advice that's obviously wrong or outdated except for the one you mentioned. The rest looks like solid advice to me, albeit in need of clarification and interpretation at times. For example, it's true that most wonders aren't worth their :hammers: cost, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't sink hammers into them! Failbuildings wonders, the practice of building but never actually completing a wonder to get your invested hammers paid out as a large sum of :gold: when another civ finishes that wonder, is a useful to very powerful strategy in the right circumstances.

    Overall I'd say that if you follow just the advice of the article 1 post you quoted and the OP of article 2, minus #8, you should have a solid base to work with. City specialization is certainly something to learn and practice, but thoughtlessly putting cottages everywhere is not a strategy that'll get you much of anywhere, especially if you're on a Lakes or Inland Sea map with Monty and Shaka right next to you. As article 2 suggested, play the map, not your (Financial) leader.

    And Noble's Club maps can be played on difficulties below Noble, if that's where your comfort zone is. The point of NC is to challenge and teach new players how to employ tips and tricks to improve their game and climb up in difficulty, such as failbuilding wonders for failgold. Though even basic stuff like city management will come up, and a lot of Civ IV is the basics.
     
  3. Kaitzilla

    Kaitzilla Lord Croissant

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    Welcome to the forums Xzight :)

    Civ 4 Beyond the Sword is the greatest 4x game of all time. (Explore, Expand, Exploit, Exterminate)

    I'd recommend just playing random games for fun at the start.
    Gandhi of India is the most new-player-friendly civ to play.
     
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  4. sampsa

    sampsa Ghost

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    The advice on those posts is very decent, as they are not that old. I'd avoid reading stuff written in 200x.

    One thing missing seems to be that you should manage your empire in phases - rather than having one city dedicated to unit production throughout the game, all your cities should be building military when the time is nigh. Same goes for GP, rather than one GP-farm, there should be a period of creating :gp: in several cities, usually during a golden age. But I suppose this is more of an advice on how to climb from immortal to deity...
     
  5. lymond

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

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    The above folks have pretty much addressed and clarified the posts you linked, which are generally good. @elitetroops 's post is relatively much more current, as well as him being a very good and analytical player.

    I would like to address the point in your quote above. As other's here have alluded too, as well as 6K in the related post, you play the map first. That logic belies the idea of something like cottaging every other city's flatland, which is just wrong. Granted, at that earlier timeframe in the evolution of IV strategy the idea was probably more highly regarded as valid. Cottages are important, but mainly you will build them first and foremost on green river tiles or floodplains in your capital for the Bureaucracy bonus, one of the most powerful mechanics in the game outside Slavery. Albeit, not all starting caps are suited for cottaging, but generally it is what you look to do.

    Regardless, early on your focus is on improving food and then chopping.

    Besides that, the most important thing for any city is food, i.e,. food specials. If a city can grow, then the sky is the limit on what those cities can do. Thus, you develop cities according to the land and your empire's needs. But as long as you have food you have production...simple as that. You may certainly focus some cities with river tiles on cottages.

    Anyway, you can certainly play around with the advice you have been given, and corrected on here. As Kait mentioned above, just try playing some random maps for a spell...normal settings. Pangaea maps are best for learning initially, I think, because you are forced to incorporate some aspect of diplomacy early on. Meetings AIs is just going to happen rather than thinking about it.

    Try playing the first 100 to 150 turns at first, and then repeat those turns in order to improve on the results. The early game is the most important, and mastering it leads to success at all levels. If you really want to learn fast, post up a shadow game here for advice from Turn 0 (normal settings and maps, no huts/no events)

    Oh, and welcome to the forums, and welcome back to the game.
     
  6. Windsor

    Windsor Flawless

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    The advice given by 6K about cottage-spam still holds true. After all, his advice was directed towards new and struggling players. Cottage-spam is a FOOS, and those should never be underestimated.

    Cottages are strong and reliable. BTS is not League of Legends. The strategies that worked 10 years ago still works today.
     
  7. krikav

    krikav Theorycrafter

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    You can lose civ4 in alot of ways, main 3 is:
    1. Getting killed by an AI.
    2. Moving too slow, so that an AI achieves a victory before you.
    3. Tanking your economy so horrible that you can't recover.


    Now, on most lower difficulties, 1. is a non-issue.
    And just following a simple guideline such as "spam alot of cottages and make sure to mature them, they are good!" really eliminates all risk of 3, and greatly reduces the risk for 2.
    As such, it's a rule of thumb that can more or less lift the winrate of a struggling aspiring playing from 0-10% up to near 100%.
     
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  8. Xzight

    Xzight Chieftain

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    Thanks everyone for the warm welcome and clarifications on those tips! I started a new game on Noble difficulty as the Dutch with no vassal states, no goody huts, and no random events. I chose continents, normal size, and normal speed. I've mostly been looking at the post by elitetroops and I am happy to say this is the first time I feel like I have sense of what I am doing and not randomly picking things on research and what to build next. If anyone is interested what my turn 100 looks like:

    Capital City and Starting Location

    Spoiler :
    civ pic1.png


    My 6 Cities

    Spoiler :
    civ pic2.png


    Score History

    Spoiler :
    civ pic4.png


    Demographics

    Spoiler :
    civ pic5.png
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2019
  9. Anysense

    Anysense Chieftain

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    @Xzight
    I'd suggest to expand faster and build granaries with chops. It makes no sense to save forests when granary is the most important building for a city with good food. Speaking about food, next time you settle a city like Nijmegen have a boat ready to improve fish, and of course settle with fish in the first ring, not gold.

    I'd like to know your reasoning for building market. Obviously, you need a good reason to build something that expensive.

    Why don't just whip away all those nasty angry faces? 3-pop whip a settler, for instance, instead of slow-building it.

    BTW tech tree would provide very important information about the game.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2019
  10. lymond

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

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    Well, he is creative, Any, but really I probably would have settled a city for gold/horses N of Dam so that city could share the pigs. In fact, that”d be my first city. Fish city could be settled later to share copper. Both really strong cities.

    Xz, you can pretty much have boats ready from the OF of settler whips and / or chops. If possible, food is always the #1 priority, so having workboat ready from a stronger city is a good idea.

    Other than that, I see too many forests around and too much unhappiness. Use the whip!

    Market a no-no at this stage.

    I suggest replaying these turns. Post a save
     
  11. Xzight

    Xzight Chieftain

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    Okay the granary chopping thing makes a lot of sense and I will start to do that from now on. Slavery was confusing me at times so I think I just stopped using it...it seemed slavery was getting more expensive? Also I was worrying that I was building cities too fast so I was surprised that I should have actually been expanding faster. About how many cities do you think I should have had by T:100? Is there a number of cities people usually shoot for or just keep building until you run out of room? I was building the market for the happiness bonus to try and deal with my unhappiness problem but I was second guessing it when I saw how many turns it was going to take. As for replaying the turns that is definitely something I want to do as I have this game saved from turn 0 and about every 10 turns after that. So if I go back and replay I can compare my score and see if I did better. But I was actually wanting to go ahead and try to get my first win (14 years later!) before I go back and try to optimize unless you guys think I have played too poorly to turn this into a win? Based on my score I was thinking I would be able to win pretty easily but you guys know better than I do lol. :)

    Also, what does OF mean in lymond's post? I see a lot of abbreviations around here that I would like to learn do you guys have a glossary page or anything like that made up?

    Edit: It just came to me that maybe it means overflow?
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2019
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  12. sampsa

    sampsa Ghost

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    Yes, OF mean overflow. There is no good glossary page that I know of.

    :)-buildings are often ineffective as they are costly. It's much better just to claim more :)-resources either via resource trade or settling more cities to claim them. Hard to come up with a good answer to how many cities by T100, but "as many as possible" is a decent one. Even on deity (cities cost way more maintenance) I'd have 10 if there was enough space. Btw you shouldn't slow build settlers/workers, always whip as the :food:->:hammers: conversion is at least 1 to 2 (depending on the size), while slow building is obviously 1 to 1.
     
  13. lymond

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

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    Ha..I think someone put together a list of common abbreviations some time ago - in a thread, but beats me where to find it. I usually try to spell them out first with newer players, but sometimes it is just habit.

    As a side note, I would not even think about score...at all. It is not necessarily a reflection of anything worthwhile or substantial, especially early on. And as you move a difficulty it really becomes meaningless as AIs will be ahead of you in score for a long time, although that doesn't mean things are not good. Much of score is based on land and pop, and the AIs tend to expand faster (at higher difficulty) and whip far less than the human. Score basically is something at the end that quantifies your results and checks the box so to speak. Point is - there are far more important things to think about and worry about than score, so just getting that outta da way.

    Further on that point, I think as you play more and practice more you will start to get a feel for how you are doing at a particular level. Things like the number of cities you have, beaker rate, great person generation, and simply how ahead you are in techs to the AIs. You will get a feel for this. But measurements and benchmarks are not really much of a concern at this stage. It's more what you do in the game. How you manage your workers and cities. How you expand.

    Feel free to play whatever you want. You can win this game easily on Noble. There's a lot of obvious mistakes here, but you do have 6 cities which is not bad at this date, so you can do anything here. But if you want to learn now, I recommend replaying. As I mentioned earlier, practicing these earlier turns is what is going to pay off for you. And really, a shadow game is something where you get advice from turn 0, with short turnsets. Post a save and some folks might play along so you can compare.

    So as to happiness issue, one thing I think that is important is to give a bit of perspective on city growth and size. The point here is that you should rid yourself of the idea that cities just need to keep growing and become large early on. The fact is that for much of the game ..well BCs and beyond..your cities are going to be relatively small. Like size 4 to 6. Unhappy citizens are still worth the same as happy ones when you whip them. (30H on normal speed) So if you do grow into unhappiness plan to whip a settler or worker. At size 6 you can 3 pop a settler after 1 turn of build (don't ever whip things on turn 0 of production unless emergency). That's 1 unhappy from whipping but you just removed 3 citizens.

    As for whipping, it can be a bit complex, but first thing you must learn is that slavery is the most powerful mechanic in the game. Understanding it is the key to moving up difficulty and dominating the game. Not sure what you mean by slavery being more expensive. Do you mean the civic maintenance cost or the whipping cost? Whipping is always the same. Civic maintenance gradually increases a bit over time due to inflation, but you are always going to run Slavery early as soon as you can.

    Right now, the easiest advice on whipping is to whip settlers and workers, as sampsa mentioned. It's basically how you convert food to hammers. 4>2 whip or 6>3 whip settlers or 4>2 whip workers. (that is just a guideline based on the fact that you can't whip more than half a cities population) Think of is this way as to the benefits of whipping, other than simply speed of production. Cities generally have low base hammers for a long time - maybe 4 base hammers or thereabouts, probably much less very early. A citizens is worth 30H when whipped. When you whip say a settler at size 6 (6>3), you are whipping 3 citizens. That's 90H instantly! Furthermore, you get Overflow (OF) after whipping which can speed up the next item. And OF hammers are pure hammers. If the next item has a bonus - like from a trait - those hammers are boosted. For instance, say your leader is Expansive (EXP). You 4>2 a settler. For example ..say..the OF is 20H. You queue a worker next (bonus on production from EXP). Those OF hammers into the worker is boosted by 25%. Time a chop to this and you have a new worker in one turn.
     
  14. Fippy

    Fippy Micro Junkie Queen

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    Yup Civ4 is not different than other good strategy / building games in terms of replaying turns, if you get good in 1 area you will understand other parts better. If i want to learn chess, i would never care about end games until i understand what i should do early :)

    What can be confusing for new players imo, Slavery is already an advanced mechanic.
    City overlap too, and many strats that get mentioned by us first (cos we are so used to them).

    How would we first learn about slavery being so good? (somebody learned it first ;)).
    By understanding that turns in this game move by slooowly, unless we speed up what we are doing.
    Even building your first farm takes 5 turns :)
    I believe that all important mechanics are based on this aspect, once we are eager to be quicker we are ready to learn (stuff like slavery).

    I guess this also means: old tips can be weaker than strong guides / players are now,
    as they were not that fast 10 years ago.
     
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  15. AcaMetis

    AcaMetis Chieftain

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    About Slavery getting more expensive I think what @Xzight is talking about is the fact that the button to whip says "+1:mad: for (whip timer) turns", and interpreting that to mean that successive whips take longer to recover from. For reference, this isn't the case - every whip will add a set number of turns to a city's whip timer, depending on gamespeed. How the game tracks the unhappiness I'm actually not sure, since I don't understand the exact mechanics of how the Aztec UB works, but point is that whipping doesn't get progressively more expensive. It stacks unhappiness, but that unhappiness stacks (and decays) at a set rate. Aztec UB notwithstanding.
     
  16. Fippy

    Fippy Micro Junkie Queen

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    Sac Altar (Aztec) divides the unhappy timer by 2, for past and future whips.
    So if you build one after stacking 40 turns, they will become 20..very nice.

    In some way it's not wrong that more whipping can get expensive, as you can work less cottages or tiles in general.
    I believe the key aspect about slavery can be summed up like this: we speed up builds that speed up our whole game.
    An earlier settler means making another city good happens quicker, whipped units take more cities (if done well)..always similar.
    Estimating whip value = estimating the time saved on what was whipped, and it's use.
     
  17. 6K Man

    6K Man Bureaucrat

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    I don’t even remember writing that guide :lol:

    But I think most of it holds up, except for #8. I was a DaveMcW disciple back then (“Cottages!”), but now I’d suggest cottaging the capital (they get a huge boost with Bureaucracy civic) and a handful of other cities with rivers and/or Commerce specials. Cottage cities aren’t terribly flexible. I think the point I was trying to make was that cottage cities can keep you from going broke, and they address the lament of “the AIs all pass me in the middle game”. I’d lean towards production cities, now, even for levels below Noble – building Wealth is a game saver after Currency.

    The other obvious omission, of course, is not highlighting Bronze Working in point 5. But a guide to chopping and whipping is what you need to win Monarch, not Noble :p
     
  18. Xzight

    Xzight Chieftain

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    It's great that the community is still so active for this game, and you guys have been helping me out a lot! The slavery getting more expensive thing was because I thought my score was going down more as I whipped later in the game but that was before lymond pointed out I shouldn't be paying attention to score. I would love to post the save and do a shadow game...do I just upload my save at turn 0?
    Any strong guides you all would recommend? Would love to read more about this game but have been worried about reading incorrect information because I heard one of the most popular guides sisutli's is actually pretty outdated. Would love to learn more about some of the things you guys have mentioned like city specialization and some more about teching.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2019
  19. AcaMetis

    AcaMetis Chieftain

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    Yep, upload the T0 save, before doing anything like moving the warrior/scout and so on.
     

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