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Returning to Civ after a long hiatus, tips?

Discussion in 'Civ3 - Strategy & Tips' started by Mike Hussey, Mar 4, 2010.

  1. Mike Hussey

    Mike Hussey Cricketer

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    Hi guys,

    After a five year hiatus from Civ3, I've returned to the game I used to love.

    I used to be an Emperor level player who won his games by military means, specifically through capturing enemy empires in stages with the advent of key new offensive units (Swordsmen, Knights, Cavalry etc).

    The basic strategem was:
    - rapid expansion with about 2 settler pumps
    - teching to swordsmen in the ancient age and preparing for wars with the nearest civs
    - conquering the neighbour and consolidating
    - building more swordsmen and repeating the above steps
    - once I received Currency I would then build marketplaces in all core cities
    - the medieval age would be pretty much the same excepting the fact that knights replaced swordsmen and banks replaced marketplaces
    - by the industrial age I would have control of more than half the map and the rest would just be a formality
    - In conclusion I would only build settlers, workers, swords, knights, cavalry, barracks, granaries, and marketplaces all the way up til the industrial age.

    Five years later I find this strategy not working as well as I had remembered it. I started off by playing Regent and Monarch games which I found were a bit on the light side, so I tried Emperor again.

    It was an archipelago game with the Vikings where I warred and successfully conquered the neighbouring Celts. However after the war I discovered other larger agricultural civs who were much ahead of me in techs and size and were ready to goto war with me. Losing hope, I quit that game.

    Which brings us to the present. I've started a game with the Arabs (hoping to make use of the excellent Ansar Warrior) on pangaea continents. The screenshots and saves of the 4000BC stages are below as are about 30 turns into the game of my play.

    What I'm worried about at the moment is the fact that I'm unsure about what ratio of military to settlers I should be building. I find that if I go all out settler pump in all my cities I'm wasting the grassland shields in my core cities and eventually when I want to go to war it takes forever to get a decent enough army. On the other hand if I go with just one settler pump I feel I'm expanding too slowly.

    Please also feel free to critique other parts of my gameplay/strategy listed above, I really want to move up and experience the delights of deity and beyond as soon as possible.

    Tks
     
  2. Bucephalus

    Bucephalus Shooting from the lip....

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    One thing that immediately stands out is that you make no mention of building libraries/universities; unless you intend getting your techs some other way (ie, extortion, theft, clever trading) they are vital for self research.
     
  3. Optional

    Optional Chieftain

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    I'm not managing to find my Conquests CD, so I can't look at your save, but I'll give some thoughts, as they came to me as I was looking over the info you provided - very well presented info, by the way.
    Personally, I'm looking more for 1 settler pump + 1 worker pump. Ideally, that is, often there's not enough food for it. But if I can get a decent 2-turn worker pump, that beats occasionally getting a worker from each town.
    I don't think you should be needing banks in an Emperor military game. Marketplaces, yes, but by the time banks come around you should already be so big that money is no issue, and you should just be building troops.

    I'm ok about all your other points, although you might be building too many graneries, 2 or 3 or so should do. And I hope you're not building improvements in corrupt places, because that's not worth it. Are you using science farms (irrigate everything + put as many citizens as possible to work as scientists)? Perhaps, if you don't need techs anymore, the scientists could become taxmen.

    What is a bit unfortunate in your town placement is that no town takes in both the wheat, so specialization is more difficult - no town will excell at settlers like this. You'll probably be best alternating between settlers or workers and military units in the same towns, although things will indeed go a bit slower that way.
    What I would keep in mind is that your first opponant is India, and you will want to give them a blow before they build their War Elephant, because that are fierce creatures, they don't require a resource, so Gandhi will bother you with them once he's up Cavalry. So, because of the War Elephant, I would be more keen on having an early military.

    An alliance against India might be useful if it can divert some War Elephants, once that time comes.
    What I'm seeing is that you're not exploring too well. You seem to be beelining for Monarchy. There's something to say for that, but I hope you didn't do the same thing with the Vikings. Certainly there going Writing > Code of Laws > Philosophy > pick up Republic as freeby would be the only sensible route. And I hope you started with building a curragh. A Seafaring civ on an Archipelago should have a piece of cake with the tech pace, because they have so much advantage in making contacts.
    For Arabia it's a bit different. They don't have fast curraghs, but it might still be a good idea to get a curragh out now, you don't know many civs yet, and that needs to change. Did you not build a scout? I would have built one besides your free one.

    I assume Medina ended up in that place because it was a free town? It's a very unfortunate placing, as it's right on top of the only floodplain around. Floodpain = food, and food is scarce in that area, with all the mountains. One possibility to consider is to abandon it, by building a settler, but not gathering the food for it, then the game will ask you at 30 shields: 'Medina doesn't have enough food to produce the settler, do you want to abandon it?' Answer yes, and there's your settler. I'm assuming you haven't built improvements in the town yet, but I can't know that for sure. You will really want to be working that floodplain instead of having it lost like this.

    I'll try and look for my game again, then perhaps I can say more. Or maybe Buce has by that time given more of his insights. ;)
     
  4. Mike Hussey

    Mike Hussey Cricketer

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    Thanks for the replies Bucephalus and Optional :)

    So a 1 settler factory is basically enough for Emperor? I usually don't know how to manage a city to get a 4 or 6 turn settler factory, so all I do is mine green and irrigate brown/special resources and then build settlers until the city gets down to size 1.

    Mmm I would tend to agree with you there. But what happens is during the middle ages warring, there comes a time when I consolidate after a big war (especially when tech parity is reached) and I start building a bit of infrastructure and start researching techs for myself. It's for this reason that I was once in a glut with Smith's Trading Company, as I knew the AI wouldn't go with Economics and I would just pre-build for it every time and get it. I will definitely change to your strat now.

    About the granaries, I only build them in cities which are acting as settler or worker cities. So yeah, generally not more than 2-3 per game. Although what I am considering is that maybe giving core cities which are situated adjacent a river a granary to maximise growth and then when it reaches size 12, sell it? How does that sound?

    With corrupt cities in my empire I'm generally a bit lazy, and just build courthouses or harbours (for coastal cities). But yes, now that I've been reminded of the specialist strategy I will give that a go. Basically you just irrigate all possible tiles which gives you a food surplus which you use to run scientists or tax collectors right?

    About the Monarchy beeline, generally I always adopt this strategy in my games. The basic tech order for me is pottery (for the settler factory) then iron working or horseback riding to give me a good offensive unit, and finally monarchy for sustained war until the middle of the middle ages.

    But yeah I agree with you one the Republic beeline for archipelago games as you can't war as easily and wars if planned and fought properly should end easily.

    Yes, Medina was a free town. I popped a goodie hut with my scout and the town was already planted for me. First time that one's actually happened for me and it's surprising as I thought you'd only get gold or maps after Monarch difficulty level.

    I actually played a few more turns (before I read you guys' advice on these boards) and here's what happened:

    - After I expanded to about 6 cities, there was virtually no space left. Coupled with that I neglected my trades and that left me a little under an age behind in techs (they were almost at Feudalism whilst I hadn't even gotten Writing).
    - Also at this stage I was running about 30% luxury rate with no research as I could barely afford a reasonable research rate.
    - So basically I trained about 8 or 9 horsemen and invaded India and took or razed basically all their cities on my continent (about 6) and got them to a stage were they would offer me techs for peace.
    - Then I went to the other civs (Babylonians, Dutch, Carthaginians) and bought most of their ancient age techs for initially gold and then later gpt. This was so I could 'open up the tech line' so I could demand more advanced techs from the Indians for peace.
    - Then I went back and got all the other techs up to the Middle ages off India.
    - So basically now, from being about an age behind in terms of technology, I have caught up to almost parity (stilll behind 1 tech). I've also gotten Chivalry now, so just starting to build Ansars!
    - I've also just finished a war with the Romans whereby I conquered about 5-6 of their cities using only horsemen still as luckily they lacked iron.
    - With the three strongest enemy civs, two are allied against the other and this is slowing the tech pace down a little.

    Below is the save plus some screens:
     
  5. Spoonwood

    Spoonwood Grand Philosopher

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    This will depend on map size and number of opponents, but for a standard map with maximum opponents, generally speaking yes. For a 4-turn settler factory you need a granary, 5 food per turn, and 7.5 shields per turn. Here's a relevant link.

    Players sometimes grow cities from size 7 to size 12 by adding in workers (from worker pumps). Selling a granary when it reaches size 12 makes sense (unless you planned to build hospitals). Does spending 60 shields instead of producing two horsemen earlier make sense for the city? Does getting more shields and commerce per turn do all that much, or does it result in a lot of overrun on the units/buildings you want to produce? E. G. let's say a city produces 10 shields per turn at size 7. At size 8 through 11 it produces less than 15 uncorrupted shields. So, for producing horseman the size 7 city works just as well as the size 11 city (ignoring short-rushing). No need for a granary in that situation.

    As an aside in military games I'd argue that only horseman production and trebuchet/cannon production matters for most cities since you can disconnect-reconnect iron/saltpeter then upgrade with MOST tribes... Republic helps here more than Monarchy. To do this, you place enough workers to road an iron square within a turn... if I remember correctly it takes 6 regular worker for a hill square... and a warrior on the square. You disconnect the iron by pillaging with the warrior, change all your builds to horseman, reconnect the iron, then when horseman get built during the interturn you zoom to the city and immediately upgrade it to your knight or cavalry type unit. Won't work with India or Japan. I believe Optional regards it as an "exploit", but it comes as permissible in both HoF and XOTM games.

    Pottery might make sense... although that may depend on the type of map you play and if you have barbies around or not. Getting Pottery from a hut as an expansionist tribe at pretty much any level but Sid doesn't come as hard, or you could probably trade for it fairly easily early enough. If you have a pangea or continents map, I'd recommend more two warriors which go out and explore, a settler, and try to trade your starting techs for pottery. You can pre-build the granary if necessary with barracks, the Pyramids, or even a settler if playing as Rome or something. That all said, researching Pottery yourself comes as slightly less risky.

    I really can't recall researching horseback riding or iron working (well maybe when I first played I guess) at virtually any level... even on high food/Pyramids SGL lower-level games (I guess Always War players do this, but I don't play that and I dislike how it forces you to ignore one aspect of the game). Generally speaking it works best to beeline down the middle going Alphabet/Writing first and trading for those other techs.

    You CAN war in a Republic successfully. To get a handle on how war weariness works see here.

    It seems you didn't forget the artillery accidently! I'd really recommend that you start training some catapults, trebuchets, cannons, and artillery proper. When used in combination with attacking units and defensive units as needed, they really help increase the probability of a victorious battle, and decrease hitpoints lost during fighting. Also, from your screenshot, you did take that MGL, form a horseman army, win a battle with it, and start the Heroic Epic in a high shield city immediately, right?

    Looking at your save you can definitely use a city between Mecca and Aden, say on the lake. I don't see any cities with aqueducts. How much above size 6 a city gets may not matter in terms of unit production, but it'll help with unit support no matter the government. You also probably want some temples/libraries on this map for a lot more cities. Khurasan has a grassland cow nearby which it can't currently use, because it needs 10 culture to use it. Baghdad could get an extra shield or two at size 7 with 10 culture, and so on.

    I don't want to saturate you with too much information to digest, but my personal preference for a domination/conquest game comes as to NOT war with swordsmen. I much prefer to expand, build marketplaces/aqueducts/libraries/temples (if needed for cultural expansion), put out catapults/artillery from core cities (more-or-less pre having 10 shields per turn), then barracks in core cities, put out horseman/knights from core cities. More corrupt cities then put out artillery. And a few defensive units from cities with barracks.
     
  6. Bucephalus

    Bucephalus Shooting from the lip....

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    You're welcome. :)

    Being this rigid will probably hamper your efforts at improving your game to higher levels; here in the UK there is a saying that originated from the racing fraternity, "horses for courses". One strategy will not suit all circumstances or victory conditions. For example: What do you do if you have no iron for swords? Or no horses for horse units? I suspect maybe you reload, thus missing the opportunity to develop new strategies (and probably missing out on some engrossing games; some of my favourite all-time games have been won from early game adversity.)

    If you have the time, a good idea would be to read through some of the Succession Games in these forums; in these you will find any number of different strategies that have developed to cope with all kinds of situations, and will no doubt pick up a lot of useful incidental tips along the way.
     
  7. Mike Hussey

    Mike Hussey Cricketer

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    This is a very good point, I will be taking this into consideration in future games. Will definitely save a lot of wasted shields.

    But if you're in Republic, wouldn't the unit costs be prohibitive and disallow this kind of thing? I think I have tried this before but ran out of gold to upgrade the horsemen and therefore couldn't conquer the enemy in order to get more cities and gold to make up for the cost.

    This is quite an interesting idea, never thought of it that way, especially with the granary pre-build that early.

    Yeah I used this strategy all the time when I first started playing Civ. But then I read that Ision article about the jump to Emperor and tried to change up my options. But yeah, definitely something to keep in mind.

    I actually waited with the MGL until I procured Chivalry, upgraded to Ansar warriors and then filled the army. The Heroic Epic I delayed even more was I wanted to pour all my shields into Ansars and invade Rome. Was this a blunder?

    I've always underestimated the power of artillery in the Ancient age. I have this mindset that artillery only becomes a crucial part of the army once riflemen or infantry are on the map. But what you said about the core cities buildling units and border cities building artillery makes for a good strategy which I've used to win this game.

    Yeap again with the Ision article I've been quite rigid with my strategy and not built temples. But definitely will start building again but with more care and consideration.

    Also, I've actually won this game! I played on a bit and basically massed Ansar warriors and reduced the Babylonians and Vikings down to one city. After that I consolidated and then with a final push wiped the Carthaginians off the continent to leave me with a domination victory.

    This is actually the first decent game I've won before the Industrial Age! Will post a screenie later if anyone is interested.
     
  8. Mike Hussey

    Mike Hussey Cricketer

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    Forgot to mention this; one HUGE thing I found was that even after crushing the AIs down to one city, I couldn't get virtually any techs for peace (besides the Indian conquest). Do you guys know why that happened?
     
  9. Spoonwood

    Spoonwood Grand Philosopher

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    No, not necessarily. If you can get enough gpt from selling techs (which becomes more possible on higher levels, and on larger map sizes), or you say get to Chivalry and then shut research off, you can still make money every turn. Here's a sample game. One could also shut research off, then capture the Great Library to catch up in tech. Or you build the Great Library, give it away, and then re-capture it... or just build the Great Library, do a little research to Military Tradition, and maybe use specialists for the rest of your research. There's also the banking strategy. Also, one can use a certain trick and it's variations where you don't need to do practically any research, can get basically all the AI gpt and lump sums, and can get at least some of the tribes to declare on you. This, though, a lot of players would consider an exploit, though in its own way I find it really cool.

    The Heroic Epic, increases the probability of generating a leader from a non-star elite from 1/16 to 1/12. Additionally, you cannot generate an MGL when you have an SGL or MGL lying around. In Vanilla players would argue to use the first MGL for a great wonder sometimes (maybe often, or even usually), but in Conquests an army immediately makes more sense, since MGLs can't rush great wonders. Having 3 armies currently in your military gives you the ability to build the Pentagon which when completed allows for 4-unit armies. So if you get a second MGL before finishing the Military Academy or Heroic Epic, you'll want to keep in mind that you need 3 armies for the Pentagon when decided what to do with the MGL.

    You may have broken a deal, two, or three where you EXPORTED resources or gpt to the AIs. Thanks for the screenies! I enjoyed seeing the irrigated cow outside of Khurasan which STILL lay outside your cultural borders. I feel sure that even Ision would recommend a temple or library for such a city in the future. Here's a different sort of article than Ision's for a different sort of game.
     
  10. Optional

    Optional Chieftain

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    Mike, probabably the biggest jump in your play can be reached by:
    1. Being more precious about food;
    2. becoming a better explorer/trader.

    Like what you said earlier was this:
    That's the statement of someone who hasn't yet gone down to the bone of settler factory maths. I didn't understand it all that well either until I started playing my first succession game. There someone cleared the fog for me:
    Succession games are full of posts like that. Check a few out!
    Spoonwood already said something about adding workers. I would like to clarify that: a town below size 7 only needs 10 food for growth with a granery, a town of size 7 and bigger will need 20 food for that same citizen. You don't need to sell the granery straight away, I personally wouldn't, but towns (places below size 7) are better for contributing towards growth than cities.
    So if you've got a worker factory, producing a worker every 2 turns, and you're not desperate for workers anymore, you can continue building them for joining cities. Cities can't grow that quickly themselves, so this is still an effective way of doing things.

    As point 2 I mentioned the exploration/trading bit. This will certainly help you managing a Republic. Spoonwood already mentioned the importance of trading to help your bank balance. The techs on the Republic tech path are all very tradeable techs, so want to know as many civs as possible who you can sell techs to. I probably need to say here that if going for the Republic slingshot you will want to hold on to crucial techs like Writing, because you'll want to be the first to Philosophy.
    To keep an eye on your trading opportunities you can't do without a program like CivAssist2. If you haven't downloaded it yet you better do it now!
    That would lead to a broken trade reputation, but the AI doesn't take that into account in an extortion deal. The AI still accepts your gpt or resources as part of a peace deal.
    The story doesn't sound unfamiliar to me, though. My guess is that if the AI is pissed off enough by your behaviour they stop being reasonable. You've probably been warring all the time, not accepting envoys, so the AI's attitude towards you will have gone in the deep red. I can't prove it, but I think it's just an attitude thing.
    Not a blunder in my book. If you were close to Chivalry anyway, I would have waited also. A horsemen army is still vulnerable; one pike can mean its death, and you didn't even have artillery, I believe. That horse army might not have lasted that long.
    The more you move up level, the more you become relient on armies to do the business. Depending on what units the opposition has, on Emperor you can still steam forward quite well without them. So if you saw great opportunities with just using Ansars I can understand you didn't want to compromise your Ansar production for the Heroic Epic.
     
  11. Spoonwood

    Spoonwood Grand Philosopher

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    You don't need to use CivAssist2. I know I don't. However, I DO use MapStat, so ONE of these programs for sure.

    No. There exists a clear difference between attitude and trading reputation in terms of game mechanics.
     
  12. Spoonwood

    Spoonwood Grand Philosopher

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    A horsemen army STILL has a greater expected lifespan than the horsemen that would get placed into it if they had not gotten placed into the army. Also, the earlier you can form it, the earlier you can finish the Heroic Epic, and consequently the more opportunities you have with your elites attacking with a probability of 1/12 of spawing an MGL instead of 1/16 probability of spawning an MGL.
     
  13. Optional

    Optional Chieftain

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    Sic.
    What I was saying was that it wasn't trading reputation here, but probably attitude, so I'm acknowledging the difference.
    In a couple of cases the AI doesn't take your reputation into account. One example is when you're making a deal with a civ and they're at war with the civ that caused you to lose your rep.
    Another is when negotiating a peace treaty with a civ you're at war with, and that's the one I was talking about here.

    You may doubt whether it's attitude instead, because I don't know of any tests, but with the experiences I'm having - and I'm mostly succeding to keep a clean rep in my games - that's the guess I'm making.
     
  14. Aabraxan

    Aabraxan Mid-level Micromanager

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    In addition to the comments on attitude and reputation that Spoonwood and Optional have made, you should consider what techs they have to trade. Whether an AI is willing to give up a tech for peace depends, in part, on how highly the AI values a tech. I've had many games where I've reduced a civ to a handful of cities, and found them willing to give up cities rather than a technology for peace. I've had also had plenty of games where I've reduced a civ to one city, and they still won't had over the tech I want. In particular, Monarchy comes to mind, but there are others that the AI values particularly highly.
     
  15. Mike Hussey

    Mike Hussey Cricketer

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    This reputation and attitude thing where they don't all pointy stick research is a bit worrying to be honest. I might have to be a bit more careful in the future about my trades then and manage my wars a bit better.

    I've also started playing another Emperor pangaea game with the Ottomans this time and lo and behold got a start with 1 river, 3 wheat and a cow within the radius of my captial! So I was reading up on settler factories and the knowledge is slowly starting to sink into my head. Basically I irrigated the three wheat and the cow, mined a bonus grassland and had a spare forest to end up with two settler factories, a 4 turn, and a 10? turn at Istanbul and Edrine respectively.

    This basically helped me get a fast expansion start and coupled with the fact that I had quite a large area of untouched land to work help allowed me to get a bigger empire than the other AIs.

    However, doing this I once again ignored trading (with myself only research techs at 10%) until the AI had gotten to Feudalism with me still only having about 6 techs in total with no Writing even. Seeing the situation, I panicked and started to build some Curraghs and luckily discovered the Americans, Persians and Mongols (in addition to the Romans and Egyptians who I had already known for quite a while). Fortunately again they were not all even in technology, so using the Xfer strategy and quite sizeable sums of gpt I clawed back into the tech lead! At the same time during my panic, I had begun to invade Egypt to try to conquer and sue for peace and gain techs that way. Of course after I had reached tech lead all I gained from that attack was just some extra territory as shown in the map and an obsolete Oracle.

    For some reason I can't get CivAssist to work so I'll have to do trading the hard way.

    Anyway some screens of the game below:





    I was dead broke after trading techs and at the same time was in anarchy transition at the same time so was living off 0 gold (-24 gold) at one point lol. But the weird thing was units weren't being disbanded.

    I think my play has improved a smidgen ;) what do you guys think?
     
  16. Spoonwood

    Spoonwood Grand Philosopher

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    Since you've had problems with CivAssist 2 (I have also), try MapStat. From the screenies I would say WAY too many warriors, and you could use MUCH MORE artillery (catapults/trebuchets... ESPECIALLY with swords/medieval infantry instead of horsemen or knights). You only need to defend cities at the front which might get attacked, which on this map looks just like Memphis, Heliopolis, and Elephantine. It looks better on the tiles your cities can use.
     
  17. Mike Hussey

    Mike Hussey Cricketer

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    Yeap nice points.

    The warriors I have from earlier expansion and are using as military police for the rest of the game. About the swordsmen, I got Feudalism during the middle of the war when my troops were out on the field so couldn't upgrade them, plus I don't have enough gold unfortunately. And am at peace at the moment.
     
  18. Optional

    Optional Chieftain

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    In Anarchy there are no upkeep costs, so units or buildings don't get disbanded then.
    Also there's no penalty for not paying other civs. Those civs still get their money, though. Probably the British taxpayer pays, looking at our national debt. :lol:
     
  19. Mike Hussey

    Mike Hussey Cricketer

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    Just out of curiosity, how did you guys get into Civ3? Were you all here for the so called 'Golden Age' of Civ3 around 2004-05 when it was about a year after Conquests came out and guys like SirPleb, Bamspeedy and Moonsinger were writing and submitting quality Academy articles and HoF games respectively? Or did you join after?

    After years of not being on CF I have a certain sense of sadness (as sad as that may sound) that the interest is dwindling in this game and the 'old legends' are not longer here.

    Everyone is porting/or has ported to Civ4, a game which in my limited experience seems more realistic and actually quite a sizeable improvement on its wonderful predecessor. Most of the exploits in this game are now done for but I don't get that sense of addictiveness, achievement or 'one more turn' syndrome that I do from Civ3.
     
  20. Bucephalus

    Bucephalus Shooting from the lip....

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    I got into Civ in 2003 after seeing someone playing it, and was hooked immediately.

    I am also returning after trying CIV and my experience echoes yours; intellectually, I concede that it is an improvement on Civ3 in every way, but on an emotional level it just doesn't hold my interest like Civ3 does.
     

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