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Science and a Small Empire

Discussion in 'Civ5 - Strategy & Tips' started by glaivemaster, Dec 18, 2010.

  1. glaivemaster

    glaivemaster Prince

    Apr 9, 2008
    Leeds, United Kingdom
    One of the things I enjoy the most about Civ 5 compared to Civ 4, and especially since the new patch has come out, is the theoretical ability to win with a smaller sized civilization - with cheaper social policies, more frequent golden ages, national wonders and less happiness restraints, a smaller empire has some bonuses a larger empire shouldn't have so much access to. I like the idea of a small, specialised empire, and so I often find myself stopping at between 3-5 cities and trying to build upwards, generally aiming for culture.

    One major problem I keep running into, however, is being out-teched by my larger competitors. Whilst I may have many more social policies than them (although my rate of progress still seems a little too slow to win comfortably) I find myself starting to be out-teched even as early as the late medieval era (two or three AI beating me to the Renaissance), sometimes only just getting into the Industrial era as the head AIs hit Modern, or sometimes even Future era. It seems that the scientific pace of a smaller-scale civilization just doesn't compete with the huge AI

    So, am I doing something wrong? Is there a way that I should be playing which will maintain scientific pace with the AI while staying small, or has Civ 5 disappointed me by being yet another game in which the only way to win is to grab as much land as possible in the first 100 turns or otherwise watch the empire slowly fall behind everyone else?
  2. Beld

    Beld Whiskeyclone

    Nov 17, 2005
    You mention going for culture. If you're going for a culture victory or otherwise wanting to expand your borders, then science can sometimes fall behind in the early game.

    A good way to get used to keeping science up, even in a cultural victory came, is to use the Siamese. Ramkhamhaeng has good abilities for city states, and his unique building gives culture and science and gives an extra science specialist over the normal building. So during the early and mid game, you should be the tech leader, unless Babylon is on a roll. He also has a great early/mid unit for before your great scientist's get flowing.

    My recent cultural victory game, I took a detour and kicked some butt. Using "Ramkhamthehung" I was sporting mech infantry in the late 1700's, and aircraft carrier/destroyer/sub escorts by the 1800's. All of this with 5 cities and only 5 cs's. I ended up winning in 1950. I'd like to give that game another go through to end it super early (was only prince to test the patch), but it was fun to be the science and culture leader. Nothing like your tiny peninsula/island empire fielding a medium army that was 2 or more tech ahead of the ai and just ripping through things, all the while protected by a small but fantastic navy with two attacks and extra range!

    I'll attach the beginning and end save. :)

    Attached Files:

  3. Sneaks

    Sneaks Brooklyn Bum

    Oct 15, 2010
    Culture routes should not preclude you from being a bully warmonger. Remember, puppets do not really affect your policy costs, but they DO contribute to your culture.
  4. deckoff

    deckoff Chieftain

    Jan 8, 2006
    ...AND science :)
    But I think it is more of a gameplay choice. You can puppet another 20 cities, but I dont want to. I think that is what the question is all about. I tried to win OCC with Monty and main problem is I am falling behind in tech and cannot build the needed Wonders and so on. Not to mention I have to tiptoe to keep my borders safe...
  5. alpaca

    alpaca King of Ungulates

    Aug 3, 2006
    The best bet is probably going for Patronage and using the great equalizer: Research Agreements. If a large empire gets as many techs via RA as via normal research, a small empire having the same RA but half the science only misses out on a quarter of the research speed, which is manageable.

    The big design hole is having a lot more science SP sprinkled throughout the tree the same way happiness policies are. The only real disadvantage to large empires is social policies, so if you had, say, 10 science SPs spread through all branches you could pick up 5 or 6 in a small empire game but would have to settle for one or two in a large empire. This would allow small empires a comparatively higher science efficiency.
  6. MykC

    MykC Warlord

    Nov 13, 2010
    Staying ahead of the AI in terms of science isn't a issue with a small empire or Emperor or below. Just grow your capital as large as you can. Your first policy should be in tradition. I tend to get two workers as my city should be growing at a rate that exceeds the pace of my workers or at least at the point when I get my second worker that I have citizens working undeveloped tiles still. Food focus the city.

    You'll be needing to do things like settling on a luxury to start off (so you can sell it quickly without developing the tile), scouting and exploring the map to find CS, Natural Wonders, Ruins, etc, and making sure you sell your open borders and luxury ASAP. Happiness should not be an issue with your first city. You may need to stop trading some of your luxury when you start expanding which I do at around turn 70.

    On Immortal, it can be a challenge. You can stay even but staying ahead requires the same strategy just more attention to details.

    But, 100% of your science in the first 100 turns will come from your capital. 80% will come from you capital after 200 turns and 50% at around 300 turns I think. (Assuming 3 additional cities).
  7. KrikkitTwo

    KrikkitTwo Immortal

    Apr 3, 2004
    For an OCC or small empire in general

    City States, RA, + Puppets for non OCC

    This means a focus on Gold (for RA and City States) and Military (for City States+Puppets)

    Tradition tree+Patronage tree+ The single Commerce Policy are good for that.

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