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Religions in Emperor and above - observations and thoughts

Discussion in 'Civ4 Strategy Articles' started by maltz, Feb 16, 2006.

  1. maltz

    maltz Chieftain

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    First of all, we all know that it is nearly impossible to found a religion ourselves in higher difficulties, since the AI has a great advatange, such as research, especially at the beginning. Diplomacy in high difficulties seems always narrow down to clashes between a few prominent religions, until Liberalism (free religion) is well adopted by every Civ. If one makes good use of religious diplomacy, victory of all kinds is not very far away.

    Here are a few AI's behavior patterns that I observed (mostly on Emperor and above, Terra or Pangea). Hopefully they are useful to you:

    1) Due to AI's rapid road paving / missionary production efficiency, Buddhism and Hinduism usually becomes 2 prominent religions of the world, before the other religions are even founded.

    Usually after the early phase of expansion, one would end up with having strong Buddism and Hinduism neighbors. Then it becomes obvious -- pick one of the two religions, make good friends and trading partners, and expand towards the other.

    The religion modifier goes as high as +8 on religion-minded leaders, such as Cyrus, Isabella and Mansa Musa. Isabella is particularly a fine religious ally, as she is aggressive enough to agree to war against civs of a different faith with you. Mansa Musa, on the other hand, would only agree if you give him multiple expensive techs.

    2) During peace times, AI always switch to "Organized religion" to make us of its 25% building rate bonus in cities with the state religion. This civis is very nice indeed, and all you need is Monotheism, which you can easily trade from the AIs.

    3) Sometimes one religion spreads so fast that every single civ in the world is in the big family, and they are usually happy among each other, much happier than to the player's Civ. This is not going to last forever, though... (see below)

    4) The AI tend to switch religion to the one founded by itself, but usually comply with the international trend until a war breaks out between another civ of the same faith. This is quite important, as when you attack a Civ of the same faith, you would get -1 "You declared war on our friend!" modifier from all Civs of the same religion. But you won't after it switches to its own religion.

    While the AI is losing the war and its own holy city. It will again switch religion to match the environment. Too late!

    5) While generally speaking, leaders of the same religion almost always become good friend over time, it is possible to bribe the expansion-minded (and falling in tech) leaders to go against civs with the same faith since ancient times. Some examples are:

    -- Montezuma of Aztec
    -- Genghis Khan of Mogol
    -- Alexandar of Greece
    -- Victoria of England
    -- Tokugawa of Japan

    Chances are some of them are on the map. This means even if everyone is everyone's friend, I can still stir a world war. Leaders will convert to their own founded religion, causing even more conflicts and military actions promoted (in secret) by nobody else than the player him/herself.

    6) Peace loving leaders are extremely reluctant to go after anybody who shares the same religion wth them. This means that you don't have to produce army during peace times when you are bordered with them only. Also, when you attack their neighbors, you don't have to worry about backstabbing because they can't choose which friend to help.

    7) If there are multple war-loving leaders (such as Montezuma and Alexander), it is quite important to keep them busy with somebody else as early as possible. They are like mercenaries, waiting for a bid. Even if they are pleased with you, they will still go after you if they have nothing to do with their neighbors.

    8) Whenever possible, bribe AIs to war is a great idea even if it costs you your most advanced techs. Every single war put a -3 modifier on relationship permenantly, so you are pretty much guaranteed of a life-long enemy between the two, which is a great thing to you. They won't come after you now, and you can come after them while they are exhausted.

    However, you have to have a tech lead relative to them in order to bribe them. In order to have a tech lead, you have to have larger, juicier lands to start on, and good strategies to make money fast. There are many good posts here covering these aspects.

    9) Aligning with the No.1 Civ, or the No. 2 Civ (while you are No.1) is not necessarily a bad idea when you are still not prepared in terms of military. Bribe someone to attack them as soon as possible, though. They will give you that -1 "You brought as a war ally!", but they are usually still pleased with you since you share the same religion. :D

    10) If you are not using a Creative leader, during the very early game, you probably want to delay the declaration of a state religion so non-capitol cities with non-state religions can have their border expanded to level 2 (harvest diameter) first.

    No state religion --
    Holy city of any religion: 5 culture / turn
    City with any religion: 1 culture / turn, it stacks up

    With state religion --
    Holy city of state religion: 5 culture / turn
    Holy city of non-state religion: no effect
    City with state religion: 1 culture / turn, plus 1 happiness
    City with non-state religion: no effect
     
  2. morchuflex

    morchuflex Chieftain

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    Very good article. Thank you.

    For the moment, I'm happy playing on Prince level, where you can usually found your own religion (not that it is always a good idea...). But when I move to a higher level, I'll definitely follow your advice.
     
  3. playshogi

    playshogi Chieftain

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    I have been able to found Confucianism on Deity with these settings:
    1) you choose Elizabeth
    2) standard map 10 opponents (no industrious or financial opponents)
    3) tiny islands, tropical
    4) room for 2 cities on the starting island
    5) a few seafood resources and a happiness bonus like gems or fur.
    Beeline to writing, build library and generate great scientist for academy. Then get to priesthood and code of laws. You can even take time for bronze working and sailing.

    Here is an example of a great start: 3 gems and 2 clams, and fresh water not shown is another clam and corn, with room for 3 cities!

    View attachment 125268
     
  4. manarh

    manarh Chieftain

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    I've been playing my second game at immortal and got religion by timing building the oracle with learning writing, having already gotten priesthood earlier. You then take code of laws, which is also very tradable for a while.

    I actually did this because I had a spiritual leader and wanted to switch toggle between slavery and caste system. I was about to found a bunch of cities - for spiritual leaders I often use an artist for 3 turns to grow to 10 culture so I can see my fat cross.
     
  5. Nestorius

    Nestorius Chieftain

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    Interesting, I never realized paganism had that advantage with culture.
     
  6. The Lardossen

    The Lardossen Chieftain

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    I stay at no state religion most part of the game most of the time. If I'm bordered by peaceful civs with the same religion, I'll switch. On Emperor and above you'll stay out of trouble most of the time by siding with noone. Picking a religion means someone somewhere will attack you.
     
  7. patrickkrebs

    patrickkrebs Chieftain

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    That starting location is freakin sick!
     
  8. civictor

    civictor Chieftain

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    Yeah, who cares about founding a religion? With that start you can join the pantheon on mount olympus!
     
  9. dh_epic

    dh_epic Cold War Veteran

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    I tend to ignore religion at the higher levels, and let it come to me. It tends to make me too many enemies.
     
  10. Ramesses-Rules

    Ramesses-Rules Chieftain

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    I've tried that. At Emperor, the only way I can get a religion is to do it myself. I can often get Hinduism. Otherwise, the other religious civs get too far ahead of me. But I agree with the idea of not immediately adopting the religion if the neighbor is aggressive and founded Buddism. Just spread your religion around to your other cities, and wait until you have Monotheism and enough military defense before you declare your religion. Ramesses really needs religion, and it suits me with my advantages I get with Oblisk and Temple building. I like to spread my religion to a strong military civ and then make defensive pact with them in the late game. That allows me to run Pacifism for a long time.
     
  11. morchuflex

    morchuflex Chieftain

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    I simply ignore religion altogether.

    There are a few exceptions:

    If one religion spreads to everyone on the same landmass I'm on, I will gladly adopt it. Otherwise my nation remains agnostic the whole game.

    If I am blackmailed by a powerful neighbor, I may yield and adopt his religion, provided it doesn't alienate too many other neighbors.

    When I get a great, isolated start with gold or gems in my 1st or 2nd city, I may attempt to found Confucianism. Other than that, it's not worth the try.
     
  12. Shafi

    Shafi Chieftain

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    ^ Not true. Dont agree? check HUI 3 on my signature, i had multiple religions spread to me during the game.
     
  13. Ramesses-Rules

    Ramesses-Rules Chieftain

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    Yes, eventually I will get a religion. But for a Spiritualist civ like Ramesses, I can't afford to wait around for centuries at the beginning of a game to get a religion while the other religious civs have their priests, monotheism, allies, etc. I have tried it both ways, and I find it difficult to win your way with Ramesses at Immortal and (so far) impossible at Emperor. Both my Emperor wins came when I controlled the religious world from early in the game and founded most of the religions myself on my way to a Cultural victory.:)
     
  14. Shafi

    Shafi Chieftain

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    I guess it has to do with different play styles i have probably won cultural once ages ago, that's it. My wins usually come through my military and the only religious techs i research myself are CoL and Philosophy, the others i just trade for. Never played on Immortal, moved to emperor recently and doing ok now.
     
  15. Ramesses-Rules

    Ramesses-Rules Chieftain

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    Yes, we have opposite play styles. I beeline to Liberalism, run Pacifism, use religion in place of military. Like you, I pretty much skipped from Prince to Emperor. I just don't see very much difference between Prince and Immortal, but I am still adjusting to Emperor level, especially the economy. I find it much harder to manage.:)
     
  16. morchuflex

    morchuflex Chieftain

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    Huh? :crazyeye:
     
  17. Ramesses-Rules

    Ramesses-Rules Chieftain

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    I can win just about as easily on Immortal as on Prince, because I did not find that I needed to rethink my basic approach. All that seems to have changed since I moved to Emperor. I am still experimenting with the economy at Emperor level, but I am definitely going to have to research Currency earlier than I did at the lower levels. I know that will delay my progress toward the top tier (Literature>Drama>Philosophy) that is critical to those of us who target Liberalism and cultural victories. I am not comfortable with it yet, but I know I need to change anyway.:D
     
  18. jmas

    jmas I Can Has Imperium?

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    Do you mean you can win as easily on Monarch as on Prince?

    The order goes: Prince, Monarch, Emperor, Immortal.

    Hence the :crazyeye:. :)
     
  19. Ramesses-Rules

    Ramesses-Rules Chieftain

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    I meant Monarch, not Immortal. For me, the difference is that it just takes me longer on Monarch than on Prince, but the same strategic approach worked fine for both. I quit playing Monarch because it was no longer a challenge. Now on Emperor, I have to revise my plan, because what worked for me on the lower levels has produced only 2 wins at Emperor, and I lost count of how many tries! Basically, I need to focus more on sustaining my economy by getting Currency sooner -- plus whatever else I am doing wrong that gets my economy stalled at Emperor.:)
     
  20. Grashopa

    Grashopa Chieftain

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    Every Immortal Uni game that I could I have grabbed hinduism right off the bat. A bit lucky to get it every time, but your chance is very high if you work a tile with commerce - Also each game I have founded judaism as well (For OrgRel and missionaries). If you found both hiduism and judaism and buddhism was founded on another continent? Good times. Each time I have been told I'm lucky to get such a religion spread. (I play without events)

    The reason the player can make his religion dominant easily is that the AI doesn't spread the religion intelligently. Once you found the religion, use your capital to spam missionaries. And send one to the capital of each civ. Then spam the civ that doesn't convert - hitting his biggest cities first. At currency pay him to convert and he will spread the religion himself to his other cities.

    My last game I was getting 50 gold per turn from 2 shrines having built 22 missionaries. At wallstreet that is 150 per turn. This is typically worth losing a few city sites in the initial expansion as long as you get 6.

    If you go religion first, build a few warriors before your worker if your tech order means he'll be idle. The warriors will especially be useful here for exploration and setting up trade routes. Make sure you block barb city spawns for example - on the higher levels this is a big problem.
     

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