Questions from a newbie

SlimJim01

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May 17, 2022
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Hi! So, on the recommendation from a friend I tried Civ4 BTS and I gotta say this forum has been a lot of help since it always seems to show up when I'm googling things.
However, I have a number of questions that I can't seem to find answers to anywhere, so I'll ask them here, if you don't mind.

1. If I use a worker that's been produced in X city and I use him to build an improvement near Y city does the improvement go to the X city or Y city?
2. I've read that if you place a fort over a resource in no-man's land you will get that resource. I put a fort down over iron, stationed a unit there and even built a road to it. I didn't get the resource. Why?
3. The reason I usually go to war is because I run out of space to build stuff. Not that it's a problem mind you, I usually have plenty of space and gold and whatnot, but I'm just kinda bored since I can't really do anything but research stuff. Am I making the right call?
3. The other reason I usually go to war is because AI just starts building cities right on my border where there's like 3 tiles that are unclaimed. And that annoys me, so I usually raze those cities and maybe take one of the AI's good cities. But like 5 turns later they re-settle in the exact same spot! I read online that you can prevent this by stationing military units on that tile, but I did that and the AI settled anyways. Maybe because the AI had more military units escorting the settler?
4. How the fudge do city borders work? When I take a city form the enemy usually I only get the tile that the city is on, and maybe a couple more if the city is near my border. But even after the revolution is over in the city, it never expands! I read somewhere that you can only expand borders with culture. So, I focused on getting the enemy capital, since I figured that it would have the most culture. But even with me setting the city's output to culture, it never expands!
5. Is there a point in going to war before getting catapults? Since, as far as I understand, attacking a city without bombarding it's defenses to 0% is suicide. (I got this from the Stack of Doom from the War Academy)
6. Should I specialize my cities? The reason I ask this is because most of the time when I go to war the only cities pumping out units at a reasonable rate are my first couple of cities which are far, far from the frontline. So by the time all units get to where they need to be, the units are outdated and I have to spend gold to upgrade them .
8. Is there a point trying to wipe out a civilization in one war? Another problem I encounter when doing war is that I have a very effective stacks of doom and manage to take around 2 very powerful cities and maybe raze a small one. But as you all know, you loose around quite a few units when attacking cities even with bombardment and suicide catapults. After that the war is a bit of a slog. So I usually sue for peace.
9. Should I get a galleon as soon as possible to settle on other continents? I always neglect to think about settling cities overseas until midgame, and at that point it's too late.

Thank you in advance!
 

Gumbolt

Phoenix Rising
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1. Either city can use the resource as long as it's in it's city tiles and within your cultural borders. You have to select the tile from the city screen to take it from the other city.
2. Fort must be in your borders and you need the tech to make the resource work. Iron needs IW.
3. Yes if you burn down a city the AI will likely just resettle it unless the tile is covered by your culture. Putting a unit on tile does nothing unless you are at war with the AI. Personally when I delcare on an AI my objective is to take them out or take most of their land. Taking 1 city and razing a few will just cause diplomacy issues.
4. You need culture to expand a city border. Unless it has a religion it's unlikely it will gain any culture unless you build culture in city. So monument or library?
5. Yes. Horse archers and some UU units work well. Axes can be okay on lower levels against non protective AI. 20-40% culture defences don't stop wars.
6. Learn to use slavery and whip units. That or chop forest. No reason why you can't whip/chop 10-11 Horse Archers before 800bc and attack with them 1-2 turns later. If it takes you 30-40 turns to build an army your not using all the game functions correctly.
8. Yes. Grab land. Land= power. What do you define a stack of doom? With catapults you don't even need to fully reduce defences. You can keep whipping/chopping units to replace lost units. With high level units you should only really be losing catapults. Yes you usually have to recover your economy after a war.
9. Colonial upkeep can be a pain if you have more than 4 cities on another continent.

What game level are you actually playing at?
 

SlimJim01

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May 17, 2022
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1. Either city can use the resource as long as it's in it's city tiles and within your cultural borders. You have to select the tile from the city screen to take it from the other city.
2. Fort must be in your borders and you need the tech to make the resource work. Iron needs IW.
3. Yes if you burn down a city the AI will likely just resettle it unless the tile is covered by your culture. Putting a unit on tile does nothing unless you are at war with the AI. Personally when I delcare on an AI my objective is to take them out or take most of their land. Taking 1 city and razing a few will just cause diplomacy issues.
4. You need culture to expand a city border. Unless it has a religion it's unlikely it will gain any culture unless you build culture in city. So monument or library?
5. Yes. Horse archers and some UU units work well. Axes can be okay on lower levels against non protective AI. 20-40% culture defences don't stop wars.
6. Learn to use slavery and whip units. That or chop forest. No reason why you can't whip/chop 10-11 Horse Archers before 800bc and attack with them 1-2 turns later. If it takes you 30-40 turns to build an army your not using all the game functions correctly.
8. Yes. Grab land. Land= power. What do you define a stack of doom? With catapults you don't even need to fully reduce defences. You can keep whipping/chopping units to replace lost units. With high level units you should only really be losing catapults. Yes you usually have to recover your economy after a war.
9. Colonial upkeep can be a pain if you have more than 4 cities on another continent.

What game level are you actually playing at?

My stack of doom usually consists of a bunch of Swordsmen, with city raider, a couple of war elephants, some axmen, some spearmen, a chariot with a great general attached, a metric fudgton of catapults that I use to whittle down the defenses to 0% and then I use some for suicide. My formula is 1 suicide catapult for 3 enemy units in the city, and then I send one more after just to ensure I take as little casualties as possible. I almost exclusively give all my catapults the barrage upgrade because extra 20% collateral damage.
Wait, are you saying I don't have to lower the city defenses to 0% to attack? Then I must have misunderstood how city defense works. Could you elaborate?
I'm playing on noble with a friend.
 

AcaMetis

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Wait, are you saying I don't have to lower the city defenses to 0% to attack? Then I must have misunderstood how city defense works. Could you elaborate?
A city's defence rating, which is the higher value of either it's cultural or it's relevant "structural" (Walls/Castles) defence value, is added to a defending unit as a defensive bonus. The reason it's not always necessary to reduce city defences down to 0% is because it doesn't always matter enough to stop an attacking unit.

Say you've got a City Garrison I archer fully fortified on a hill city with 20% percent cultural defence - completely reasonable scenario. The archer gets +50% for being in a city because of a unit ability, +25% for being on a hill, +25% for it's unit ability further boosting it being on a hill,+25% for being fully fortified, +20% from City Garrison I promotion, and finally +20% from the city's cultural defences boosting units defending it. Cultural defences give this archer +20% of it's total +165% defensive bonus. As you can see, not a great contribution. With a strong enough unit you can just punch through that and not waste time bombarding or hammers suiciding catapults.

Now a CG I Longbow fully fortified on a hill city with a Castle, on the other hand? You're looking at a total of +220% defensive bonus, with city defences providing a little less than half of that. If you don't have any way to reduce that you're looking at Longbows that have an effective :strength: on defence close to Infantry. You're not punching through that the hard way. You're going to need something if you want to take that city - abundant siege to bring down city defences and weaken defenders before attacking (slow, but with Spies you can use a neat trick to bring down Castle defences very quickly if you sabotage a city's Walls before bombarding), stronger Gunpowder units that ignore Castles and can punch through the remaining defensive bonuses effectively enough (Cuirassiers or ideally Cavalry, which are very popular breakout units for exactly this reason), spies to instigate city revolts (city defences are 0% if a city is in a revolt), luring defenders out of cities to pick them off in the open where they don't have their defensive bonuses, or one of probably a few other strategies you can employ.

I can't and won't promise that all of those are viable options on all difficulty levels, but on lower difficulty levels (I.E. Noble) you can absolutely get away with any of them.
 

Gumbolt

Phoenix Rising
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Are you playing against your friend or against the AI? So 1 v1 or a standard pangea map with 6AI?

First of all if you have war elephants building swords adds less value. Same for spears as WE eat up chariots and HA. Phants will beat most units till mace and pikes. Spears vs phants is no guarantee unless defending on forest or in cities. I am assuming your attacking before longbow have arrived.

So on immortal I will normally have 10-11 phants and 10-11 catapults with CR attack. CR2-3 is sweet. If a city has no city wall and you can bombard in a turn do so. The key thing is speed. If you are bombarding for 3-4 turns the AI can just whip units and move units in I would rather partial reduce defences and take the city sooner. If your phants are getting 50-80% odds with 40-50% cultural defences then the need to bombard is less. All about judgement. Cities on hills need a bit more caution. If a city only has 1-2 defenders wasting 3-4 pults and bombarding adds less value. Heading for the capital first if near your border can also be good. Not attacking till your ready is best. One advantage of HA is speed. You can pillage their resources and snipe poorly defended cities.

If you are playing against another human player then rushing with large stacks will cause havoc.Having HA sneak attack and raze poorly defended cities will really annoy your friend. Pends how they play.

The AI on civ 4 will always have 2-3 defenders per city.

Yes castles are another matter! Same principle just take more bombarding. By times those arrive you should be looking at cuirs or trebs and phants? It's suprising what a few catapults can do to 2-3 defenders.
 

SlimJim01

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May 17, 2022
Messages
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A city's defence rating, which is the higher value of either it's cultural or it's relevant "structural" (Walls/Castles) defence value, is added to a defending unit as a defensive bonus. The reason it's not always necessary to reduce city defences down to 0% is because it doesn't always matter enough to stop an attacking unit.

Say you've got a City Garrison I archer fully fortified on a hill city with 20% percent cultural defence - completely reasonable scenario. The archer gets +50% for being in a city because of a unit ability, +25% for being on a hill, +25% for it's unit ability further boosting it being on a hill,+25% for being fully fortified, +20% from City Garrison I promotion, and finally +20% from the city's cultural defences boosting units defending it. Cultural defences give this archer +20% of it's total +165% defensive bonus. As you can see, not a great contribution. With a strong enough unit you can just punch through that and not waste time bombarding or hammers suiciding catapults.

Now a CG I Longbow fully fortified on a hill city with a Castle, on the other hand? You're looking at a total of +220% defensive bonus, with city defences providing a little less than half of that. If you don't have any way to reduce that you're looking at Longbows that have an effective :strength: on defence close to Infantry. You're not punching through that the hard way. You're going to need something if you want to take that city - abundant siege to bring down city defences and weaken defenders before attacking (slow, but with Spies you can use a neat trick to bring down Castle defences very quickly if you sabotage a city's Walls before bombarding), stronger Gunpowder units that ignore Castles and can punch through the remaining defensive bonuses effectively enough (Cuirassiers or ideally Cavalry, which are very popular breakout units for exactly this reason), spies to instigate city revolts (city defences are 0% if a city is in a revolt), luring defenders out of cities to pick them off in the open where they don't have their defensive bonuses, or one of probably a few other strategies you can employ.

I can't and won't promise that all of those are viable options on all difficulty levels, but on lower difficulty levels (I.E. Noble) you can absolutely get away with any of them.
How do I see what defenses a city has? Do I have to send in a spy, or?
 

SlimJim01

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Are you playing against your friend or against the AI? So 1 v1 or a standard pangea map with 6AI?

First of all if you have war elephants building swords adds less value. Same for spears as WE eat up chariots and HA. Phants will beat most units till mace and pikes. Spears vs phants is no guarantee unless defending on forest or in cities. I am assuming your attacking before longbow have arrived.

So on immortal I will normally have 10-11 phants and 10-11 catapults with CR attack. CR2-3 is sweet. If a city has no city wall and you can bombard in a turn do so. The key thing is speed. If you are bombarding for 3-4 turns the AI can just whip units and move units in I would rather partial reduce defences and take the city sooner. If your phants are getting 50-80% odds with 40-50% cultural defences then the need to bombard is less. All about judgement. Cities on hills need a bit more caution. If a city only has 1-2 defenders wasting 3-4 pults and bombarding adds less value. Heading for the capital first if near your border can also be good. Not attacking till your ready is best. One advantage of HA is speed. You can pillage their resources and snipe poorly defended cities.

If you are playing against another human player then rushing with large stacks will cause havoc.Having HA sneak attack and raze poorly defended cities will really annoy your friend. Pends how they play.

The AI on civ 4 will always have 2-3 defenders per city.

Yes castles are another matter! Same principle just take more bombarding. By times those arrive you should be looking at cuirs or trebs and phants? It's suprising what a few catapults can do to 2-3 defenders.
We're playing on the same team vs 6 AI on Large Continents. He played Civ6 before so he has more experience in Civ games than I. He's not really a fan of combat in this game, so he's acting more as logistical support, providing research, spies and such.
 

AcaMetis

Emperor
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You can tell what defensive bonus a city has simply by looking at it if you have vision on it. If a city has any defences there will be a tower icon with a number next to it, that's how much of a defensive bonus it gives. If you don't have vision on a city you can't directly see how much of a defensive bonus it gives, but if the city isn't completely obscured you can see whether it has a wall or castle, in which case you can assume it's going to have at least that much if not more.
 

coanda

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How the fudge do city borders work? When I take a city form the enemy usually I only get the tile that the city is on, and maybe a couple more if the city is near my border. But even after the revolution is over in the city, it never expands! I read somewhere that you can only expand borders with culture. So, I focused on getting the enemy capital, since I figured that it would have the most culture. But even with me setting the city's output to culture, it never expands!

Tile ownership is... complicated.

There are, broadly, three things that people might mean when they say "culture," and all of them are distinct.

There's the city's culture-per-turn: how much culture it generates each turn. E.g., a monument gives a city 1 culture per turn, and 1000 years after construction that doubles to 2 culture per turn.

There's the city's total culture. Every turn, the owner of a city adds that city's culture-per-turn to it's total culture for his civilization. When that total reaches certain thresholds (like 10 and 100), the city's cultural radius expands.

And finally there is tile culture. Every turn, every city adds it's culture-per-turn to the tile culture of each tile within it's cultural radius. In addition, tiles on inner rings get another 20 culture per turn for each step inside from the furthest reach of the city. Note that old additions to tile culture are not wiped out if you conquer or raze the city that contributed them - although if the old owner now has no remaining city with the tile inside its cultural radius, it will instantly fall out of their control (while retaining that tile culture in case the borders of some other city pop at some point to move it back within their reach).

Of all the civilizations that have a tile within the workable radius of any of their cities, ownership of the tile goes to whichever civ has the most tile culture on that spot. So if you take over a long-established AI capital, any tiles that are no longer within reach of any of their remaining cities will instantly fall out of their culture. The remaining tiles will very likely stay under their control, since you now have to generate enough tile culture on each of those contested tiles to make up for all the dozens or hundreds of turns the AI's capital was piling up their civ's culture on the tile. The exception is if one of the civs is a vassal; contested tiles go to the suzerain as long as they have any culture there, even if the vassal has more.
 

Gumbolt

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I am guessing if you are both playing Noble then expansion is your biggest grief. Aim for 3-4 cities by 2000bc. Ignore the AI expanding to second city by 2000bc. Learn to build worker first and ignore huts. New cities should either share the capital's food or be settled next to a food resource. Don't be afraid to overlap your cities. When you reach 4 cities always be thinking where will I build my next settler? Keep grabbing the sites with best food resources. Keep expanding and gradually adding granaries to most cities.

If you are sitting on 5 cities by 1ad you have not expanded enough.
Worker use. Improve food resources, chop, cottage then road.
Techs. Go for techs that improve your food resources that or BW if you are surrounded by forrest.

Learn the game basics. Use slavery and whipping. Try to aim for 8-10 cities by 1ad with a size 12 capital.

Realise the most important building early on is granary as this will speed up your big cities.

Noble AI will not really have a stack above 5-6 units by 1ad. In fact they start with warriors so in theory can be warrior rushed from start. Axe/fast chariots should easily take down a Noble AI. As they lack workers they will be slow to military resources

The idea that you are only capturing 1 city on Noble wars means you are either going to war too late? How many cities will they really have by 1ad 3-4? More? I am guessing when you start an HA rush they might only have 2-3 cities maybe with warriors defending. Which means you would only need 5-6 HA? Of course this requires a level of micro and game play. If you are not swapping resources between cities you are missing some fairly basic gameplay here.
 

SlimJim01

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If you are not swapping resources between cities you are missing some fairly basic gameplay here.

How do you swap resources between cities? I always try to build a road between my cities as soon as possible, and of course roads to all my resources.
 

coanda

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When two cities share a tile (it's within the workable radius of both cities), go into the city screen of the city that is not currently working the tile and click on that tile. It will take control of it; now it will be working the tile and the other city no longer will. You can of course switch it back at any time by just going into the city screen of the other city.

This is a particularly useful little bit of micromanagement for things like very high-food tiles; maybe you want one city to work a corn long enough to grow a size, then pass the corn to the other city so it can grow too. It's also commonly done with cottages; by passing control of cottages back and forth between cities whenever they can spare a citizen to work it, you can help ensure the cottage develops quickly to hamlet, village, town for more commerce because one of the two cities is always working it.
 

Gumbolt

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How do you swap resources between cities? I always try to build a road between my cities as soon as possible, and of course roads to all my resources.

Roads are okay but not a priority early on. Focus on food resources, chopping and cottaging flood plains and river grasslands. Roads for trade networks help but early on all resources need to be on expanding and growing cities via granaries. Come 1000bc maybe roads. Top player will only build minimum roads needed.

Not all resources need roads. Especially if on rivers. Roads to connect military are okay if your planning an early rush.
 

SlimJim01

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whenever they can spare a citizen to work it,

Whoa-whoa-whoa, what do you mean 'spare a citizen to work it'? You're telling me if I build an improvement there's no guarantee it's going to be automatically worked? I have a policy of settling my cities down on the most useless tile, and building anything and everything I can on the other tiles. Were those tiles being worked? Was I just wasting my time?
 

AcaMetis

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Whoa-whoa-whoa, what do you mean 'spare a citizen to work it'? You're telling me if I build an improvement there's no guarantee it's going to be automatically worked?
When you settle a city, there's only one tile that will always be worked: The city tile. This is part of the reason why people favor settling cities on something like a plains hill, because it improves the city tile and that will always be worked. Every other tile in a city's BFC must be worked by a citizen in order to contribute :food:/:hammers:/:commerce:, although resources don't need to be actively worked in order to be added to your trade network. A city has as many citizens that can work tiles, or be used as specialists (provided you've the slots for them), as the city's size.
 

Gumbolt

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Try posting a save so people can see what you're actually doing. Farming all tiles won't give you much of an economy.
 

Lennier

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So I was under the impression that :food: = :hammers:, so I've been using flood plains and river grasslands for food, unless there's :commerce: on it. Then I build a cottage.
Tiles next to rivers always get an extra :commerce:. So flood plains and river grasslands will always get an extra :commerce:. In "normal" mapscripts, flood planes can't have resources; it is possible for grasslands to have :commerce: bearing resources on them, but you'll eventually want to place down the improvement (plantation for most of them) to get the resource and maximize the :commerce: from the tile. (Most of the time.) If you're a long way from Calendar, you might want to farm those resource tile. Every once in a while you might want to cottage them, but you usually want to be working cottages that will stay cottages for almost the whole game so you can grow them into towns.
 

SlimJim01

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Try posting a save so people can see what you're actually doing. Farming all tiles won't give you much of an economy.

I warn you, this game is already lost and honestly one of my worst.
 

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