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Shadow of Saladin: ALC 22 Part 2 DFA Economy

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by Lord Chambers, Apr 26, 2008.

  1. Lord Chambers

    Lord Chambers Emperor

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    Primarily a meta strategy post with references to ALC 22: Take 2. Contains untagged spoilers.

    This map was ridiculous. Not only do you have stone in the first city, horses as well (before needlessly moving), but two sources each of copper, gold, and gems within your next two cities, ivory (plus a third copper, in case you . .. .. .. .ed up twice before) within the fourth. Oh and all of these cities are on rivers. I’ve probably forgotten some advantage but there are too many to count. Really, there’s not a better set of initial resources imaginable. They’re all pre-calendar, and the only ones missing are furs and silver which are found in tundra, and that’s a bad thing. Map is GAMED out.

    Your neighbors are 1)behind the second most choke-able mountain range imaginable, 2)jungle, 3)far away with room for 3 or so quality cities. Meanwhile, you are sitting just south of the continent’s landmass, meaning you have all the room you could ever want to expand.

    But of course, only a silly person would worry about settling it when your opponents are so weak and easily conquered.

    So you conquer the continent while teching to astronomy so you can grab that extra 6% territory you need to win. Your caravel exploration reveals the second place player has 50% of your score because he was limited to four cities on his starting landmass (though he crammed 6 in there). You discover Montezuma has been picking on Hatshepsut his whole life and so both of them are fighting over a landmass the size of your backyard.

    And those are your opponents. The whole game, no one stood a chance.

    So, if you play the game sensibly, you will kick everyone’s ass and finish the game circa 1734, the earliest ALC win ever. This will be your highest score ever, somewhere in the range of 128243. You will experience several firsts in this game due to your unimaginably favorable starting circumstances. You will: use trebuchets against archers(not longbows); you will war the ENTIRE game, never having complete peace past like 3000 BC, and your culture slider will never pass 20%; you will destroy two civilizations before you have the technology to even accept their capitulation; you will use the Oracle for Civil Service, you will finish the game as the only civilization with Education and a higher score than the sum of all your rivals. Yes, that is how badly you will dominate them.

    As for me I, this is the first time I built Notre Dame and the University of Sankore (okay, second time), but only because I didn’t have anything else for my cities to build since the current conquest could be finished with the units I’d already built. I built my first woodsman III, medic III, morale unit (as a non-charismatic, non-aggressive, and non-Aztec leader); had a spot for the National Park with more than 5 forests; played the whole game with a smile on my face, hoping the AI would defeat my units with 95% odds so that I had to make some tough choices at some point.

    And you’ll do all this amazing stuff without short-changing your end game. You’ll have a well-developed cottage empire (meaning the transition between specialists has been completed, and you didn’t farm everything at biology to game your score), be building levies and Iron works , and another great person arriving in 21 turns in case you feel like a fourth golden age. You’ll have the second place player surrounded by enough Frigates to sink all his ships and blockade all his ports the turn you declare war. You’ll wonder if you could launch before 1800. Then you’ll laugh when you see the replay and realize that Zara, who you wiped off the map as early as 100something AD, was around for almost half your game.


    How’re you gonna do all this?
    Stop pretending Civ4 is a complicated game and start pretending it’s simple. There’s a lot to be distracted with. But at its core it’s a game about beating the AI, and you can always do that with more land. Land. Land. LAND! Land is power, as Future Hermit’s signature notes. It’s funny, because in Civ2, Civ3, and for a couple weeks on these boards with Civ4, people would have thought such a statement to be a useless clich√©. No . .. .. .. . land is power.

    Initially, a lot of strategy threads here were aimed to show traditional players the kinds of crazy things you could do in Civ4 like create Superscience cities, bulb to liberalism, and more recently wonderspamed capitals, all which could do the same things a large empire could in a smaller package. “Great,” I thought, “more tools for the toolbox.” Fast forward to the present day, where a person with no prior Civilization experience reads a few threads arguing about exotic FE EEs, beating wonder addiction then wonderspamming, REXing and the so-called economy. How are they supposed to make heads or tails of it all? There has been a loss of basic understanding of where success in Civ comes from.

    Leader traits. Unique buildings. Unique units. Leverage. It’s all . .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. Financial leaders with a small free market empire can win some games. Kudos. But any leader with more hammers and beakers will win every game. Does anyone remember what land looks like? It looks like power. This is the Don’t . .. .. .. . Around (DFA) Economy.

    From the beginning:
    Plan on winning before corporations, biology, or state property have any significant impact on the output of your cities.

    Don’t plan on getting to any techs first, and don’t plan on building any wonders. This way you’ll be flexible, which is just another way of saying you’re making strategic decisions based on what the game gives you, not while you were on a forum. This does not mean do not discover techs first and do not build wonders. The game will dictate which ones you get to first and build.

    Expect to settle in place, for godsakes.

    Play the map, not the leader. The ALC’s have done a good job showing the different approaches leaders can take to utilize their unique buildings, units, and traits. However, it’s done a horrendous job showing you how you can be the most successful in the given circumstances because of its self-imposed handicap. As we’ve seen, “leveraging mysticism” for an early religion can be a bad idea. I’m just waiting for Sisitul to follow advice and “leverage protective” to invite disaster. “Come pillage my . .. .. .. . please, I’ve got PROTECTIVE ARCHERS.” It would be case and point in DON’T PLAY YOUR LEADER.

    While playing:
    Treat rival civs like rivals. They’re there. In your way. And sometimes they’re more powerful so you have to court their opinion. But never forget you’re competing for victory, so in the early game when they pose no threat: steal their workers and always choke them when they have a forested hill adjacent to their city. Yes, a single warrior will halt their expansion. Eventually they’ll attack when they have a huge surplus of archers, but they will never attack your territory before that warrior is dead. If you aren’t committed to the choke because other priorities have come up, then make peace at that point. If you are committed to it—possibly because it’s Montezuma and you’re not sure peace is so easy to achieve—you will have archery or bronze working before this happens. And guess what? Even if you don’t, your warrior dies, and you expect an attack, all you have to do is repark on the hill and the choke begins anew. Easy peasy. Once you have catapults it’s over for the choked civilization. Entirely dead, having built no cities or units better than archers. A beautiful capital all to yourself, plus all the space the civ never settled. This alone can win a game for you.

    After discovering Zara Yakob’s capital position I captured his first worker, and set up base in the forests. He is not actually choked since he can move archers out without leaving his capital threatened, but when he sees his settler adjacent to an enemy unit he sends him back to the capital, again and again. Even with 3 archers for protection. Occasionally he’d move archers out into the unforested surrounding land, which became a Chariot and later Axemen training camp. I had my first Great General before I even went for his capital.

    Invade opponents as soon as possible. Deciding when an invasion is possible is a tough decision that comes from experience. You need to anticipate the kind of resistance you’ll face, determine how long your tech lead or parity will last, and predict who will be brought into the war against you while you wage it. That said, if you think it’s possible, invade. Waiting only burns turns where the AI decreases your opportunity. In the current ALC people are advising Sisitul to settle away from his opponents instead of war. If the opponents represent a dominant threat this indeed is better than nothing. But when you have the advantage, you need to use it to take land away from your opponents. Cultivate allies for trading only when they’re not going to be a threat or victim anytime soon. Your primary concern is making the AI lose though, so don’t forget it while prancing around like a diplomat.

    Brain ‘sploding nonsense break:
    Don't be to bold, Fake an all out attack: then run like HEEEL only in the hopes of having the enemy follow you into a waiteing ambush,

    While playing (continued):
    Do it now not later. When you’re not capitalizing on an advantage like having early axes vs. archers, or catapults vs. archers, you should be expanding as fast as you can. The goal of any new player should be to expand so fast his research tanks and he has to learn to climb out of a tech hole. With experience you will be better able to judge how far away each new city is going to put Writing, Code of Laws, and Currency--the techs most important for improving your early research rate. My impression is that too many players err on the side of being small and stable, instead of being sprawling and struggling. I guess it’s a choice between risking a loss in the late game or a loss in the early game. If you get through the early stages and get the kinds of technology that enable larger empires, you’ll be set for whatever you wish to do in the later game. Which should be to expand more.

    Teching to Construction was my primary directive so that I could finish Zara off. However, when choked, an enemy civ practically doesn’t exist, so my meanwhile goal was to build axes and use them to conquer the barbarians settling in my backyard. I had blocked Roosevelt in such a way that he was forced to settle all the jungle on the map, but I didn’t want him to capture actually decent spots from barbarians. Expanding to great city locations (since the map surrounded my capital with them) while building Axemen only increases the advantage I have over the real rival civs Roosevelt and Suryavarman II since I’m prioritizing Construction and will reach it in time to use catapults before they get Longbows.

    Improve your land as per your current needs. Don’t worry about superspecial mega SE CE GPPfarm. If your city site has lots of hills and the food to support working them, build mines. You will have a slower tech rate, but be able to produce more troops. Early in the game this can mean an early invasion which is good. On the other hand, if many of your sites are grassland--which produce specialists and commerce--make farms or cottages and plan to rush through the techs until you have a technological lead. At almost every point your goal should be getting an advantage in technology or production so you can attack your rivals and use their land for yourself. As you become a more experienced player you’ll get into the habit of specializing cities for more efficiency. However, at no point should you try to run an economy. Do not run an economy. Economies do not exist in Civ4. Maintenance, beakers, and coins are not an economic system. Just improve your cities optimally, giving yourself more hammers, specialists, or cottages (long term investment) whenever that’s what you need.

    If you have the Pyramids and don’t run specialists in your early game you’re stupid or trying to make a point. Farms and scientists were my early emphasis, but I started cottaging the capital once the happy cap grew beyond just food tiles and hills in preparation for Bureaucracy.

    Civil service came surprisingly early. I expected to miss a chance at the Oracle since I was building Axes to garrison, control barbarians, and hopefully block all of Zara’s archers in. I teched to Code of Laws manually. Still discovering no one had built it, I decided to try for it, if only because my hammer needs were waning and my need for research (via wonder failure coins) increased. It finished and I chose Civil Service, getting Bureaucracy early. Don’t ever plan or attempt to do this. Only the game can decide to giveit to you.

    After cottaging the capital I also cottaged the shrine city, and gradually all my cities bit by bit. The specialist approach is a boon to your early game, but I’m a cautious player and wasn’t expecting to have a technology edge the entire time I was conquering the world, so mixing in some cottages is a good investment for the long term. Silly mistake, if I was smarter I’d have seen this map wasn’t going to have a long term.


    Things I did not leverage (for ultra early harbor bulb gambit):
    I was Saladin with Madrassas instead of Libraries. I built them wherever I would normally build libraries (virtually everywhere since they’re the cheapest +25% multiplier, except in very late production cities which have no need for culture). When I realized no one on my continent was founding a religion and the only two remaining were at Philosophy and Divine Right, I decided to use the coming Great Scientist to bulb Philosophy and thus would want a Great Prophet next. In the city producing the next GP after the Scientist I was able to switch to three priests instead of only one to increase my odds of popping a Prophet. I did not plan for this, mainly because I couldn’t know that no one on my continent would have interests in founding religion. But when the option is there (and only Divine Right is left to disrupt your mono-religious continent), it’s worth founding. I would never jeopardize expansion for a shrine. Expanding tends to net you those anyway.

    I have Camel Archers. They’re helpful. But I had prioritized Engineering to wage REAL--city-capturing, not-. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. . pillaging--WAR, and so I ended up not getting Monarchy (map gave me stone in the capital, thus Pyramids and Representation), therefore had no Feudalism, thus had no Guilds, thus no Camel Archers. I would have loved to have them when Suryavarman II finally got Machinery and started building Crossbows everywhere (they have no counter without Knights, other than Horse Archers and other Crossbows which go 50/50 against them), but it was better to have Macemen and Trebs early to create a war machine. A diversion to Guilds would have only slowed my expansion. Capturing cities decreases the threat of your opponents more than killing his annoying units efficiently.

    I didn’t bother discovering Archery until after I had destroyed both Zara and Roosevelt, because I had copper. And horses. And Iron. I built those Protective MONSTERS from cities without Barracks to garrison old cities so I could send the Axemen garrisons off to battle. I built quite a few Crossbows to protect my Macemen/Trebuchet stacks, but gave them mostly Combat 1 to access Cover since I was fighting opposing Crossbows. Thanks City Garrison 1 and chance at a First Strike. Later, when invading Montezuma with Calvary, I garrisoned my captured cities with Drill promoted Riflemen because they could fend off the most Knights. The automatic Drill 1 promotion may have affected the outcome of a single battle. I suspect this did not matter.

    I built no walls or Castles, which is pretty much par for the course unless I am Spain and want Citadels. If I were a better player I would utilize production overflow to get in the cash, but I just play on Emperor, and rarely is there enough resistance that I can’t achieve my research goals without the extra gold. Lack of challenge = lazy, stupid player.

    As a spiritual leader, I have cheap temples! And I built a few of those since I was at war. I built the University of Sankore to deny it to my opponents (who I foolishly believed were on another continent with Paper) because I had a city with nothing else useful to produce, after which I built a lot more Temples, and much later Monasteries too.

    As a spiritual leader, I have no anarchy! But I didn’t do much flipping back and forth. In the early game I only ran Slavery when I needed to whip, and tried to remain in Tribalism. Later, I switched to Representation without anarchy, then adopted Bureaucracy without anarchy, then adopted Organized Religion without anarchy (anything is better than Shamanism), and didn’t touch anything for a very long time. I was expanding so rapidly that the +25% to buildings kept me improving cities very quickly (vertical expansion--which unfortunately doesn’t take from opponents the way horizontal does). When I had my continent totally to myself I researched Banking and the 4 pre-req techs I lacked, then went to Mercantilism and Free Speech (way late on this one). The game was completely won at this point, but I did it without anarchy. Final switches were to State Property and Free Religion because I had almost every building except for Aqueducts, Security Bureaus, and Intelligence Agencies in my commerce centers and wished to decrease the amount of time I had to adjust their queue by 25%. Without anarchy. Game was over about 5 turns later. Spiritual in this game saved me 6-10 turns total, with 3 of those possibly being significant to the overall flow of the game. I say this arbitrarily.

    The fact that I was Saladin didn’t matter in this game. In a game where less is handed to you on a silver platter you will probably need to search harder for a path to expansion. However, that is always determined first by the map, and secondarily by the leader. Always do what the map tells you to do, and when it gives you a choice or no-choice at all, do what your leader tells you to do.

    Things I leveraged:
    The map.

    My irrational hatred of CivFanatics lingo which serves to make me resist all but the most apparent strategical discoveries, e.g., when Zombie69 sez whip, I does it. When 400 people say to cottage everything, then 200 people say to farm everything, and Obsolete says build nothing but wonders, I default to mommy map. And maybe climb a tower and try to pick off a few people who are at the extremes of any trendy strategy.

    I am bad at:
    I was beaten to the Mausoleum of Maussollos, so my three golden ages amounted to 30 turns instead of 45. To be honest, I’m not altogether certain what I would have done with 15 more turns of golden age. I already built just about every building in every city, and so my invasion of Montezuma was mostly a tech bottleneck. Great People, if you’re expanding and not trying Exoticstrat 52, are best used for one academy, bulbing one or two techs along the Liberalism path, maybe one shrine or rushed wonder, and then golden ages. Golden ages. Switch all your citizens to hammer tiles, even at a food deficient. Win.

    I held out for Calvary to do most of my damage to Montezuma instead of massing Riflemen which would have actually ended the game sooner. I lost most of my initial invasion force from counterattacks by the Combat 3 Knights Montezuma was producing every three turns in his capital. Since Suryavarman II had no horses (though he appeared to beeline Guilds and Banking and didn’t get Civil Service until his last two cities), I had few Pikemen, and was assuming Montezuma would roll over and let me spank him too.

    My intercontinental invasion was rather inefficient. I can’t recall the last time I conducted an intercontinental invasion in the last couple _real life_ years which may explain why it took 100 turns to conquer all of Suryavarman II and land my force on Montezuma’s shores. For comparison, it took only 60 turns to destroy Roosevelt with my first army. Usually I set my goal at just winning and don’t care how soon--until my recent dissatisfaction with the ALC’s preoccupation with minutia and roleplaying which seems to be confusing some players—meaning space race > intercontinental invasions.

    I was too eager to move from specialists to cottages, which is good when you need to start envisioning your spaceship/tank endgame, but suboptimal when you’re ahead of the curve and can keep invading people with whatever technology you have laying around.

    I didn’t switch to Free Speech until my over-eager civics advisor prompted me to look at the big picture. I guess at least 30 turns were spent in suboptimal Bureaucracy. I am bad.

    The end:
    Focus on the basics: improving your land and making tech choices according to immediate needs. If you do that you’ll be better off than trying to apply what you read in the Wall Street Journal to Civ4. With experience you will develop habits that look like long-term planning and become a smarter player. But don’t start with long term planning. Just get’cho land, son. All this banter about CE vs SE and its 8 million cousins should only help inform your decision making, but not make it for you.

    In case I want to post in Strategy Articles:
    Certainly synergy and leverage are good tactics to employ in one’s meta strategy, but too often players focus on them rather than their metapurpose. Seeing the trees but not the forest. Mao Zedong. 1 gambit+1economy = disaster, etc. Chamfucius say, play like a goldfish. 15 second memory will optimally actualize your condition. A coin today is worth more than a coin tomorrow. Turn a turn advantage early and the late game will be decided. Bam. gran strategy.
     

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  2. DanF5771

    DanF5771 Emperor

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    Yup! This map is really "special"! It felt much like Monarch difficulty or lower. The problem with choking Zara (the biggest threat for Saladin here) is that choking = leveraging AI-stupidity and thus effectively decreasing the difficulty of this [Game] further. (I went a more chivalrous way and rushed him with 4 Chariots.)

    To top it all the 3 off-continent "opponents" were each isolated (because of geography - Pacal, or diplomacy/war - Monty+Hatty) which turned them into complete pushovers.

    So DFA economy without utilizing any of the leader traits works fine here just as it does when playing on Noble difficulty level. But it doesn't come with a lot of entertainment and thus I'm glad about the way the current ALC evolves.

    Btw, which year did you oracle Civil Service?
     
  3. madscientist

    madscientist RPC Supergenius

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    A very good game, and I agree the map was perfect. I tried to shadow the game twice, but because of the difficulty and speed (I am too accustomed to marathon) I struggled. Gauging my time for wonder production versus settling cities was a major concern.

    Shadow #1: I was surrounded by all the AIs and limited to 4 cities. Fell way behind in tech but because of great diplomacy, and lack of a coastal city (and thus AI threat) I was on the path to a cultural victory. I did not finish it out though as the game got tedious. I moved the settler to get the stone in teh BFC mostly to follow aht Sis did.

    Shadow #2: Founded and early religion, spammed more cities. Settled in place. Played again too passively because of misjudgement.

    You are definitely correct, the way play was agressive especially taking Zara out early.
     
  4. Bandobras Took

    Bandobras Took Emperor

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    Hooray! Very long post (and evidently a lot of annoyance unleashed :) ) but this is a wonderful summary.

    Oh, and I'm starting to agree about misapplied lingo.
     
  5. pigswill

    pigswill fly (one day)

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    Inspired by your post I ran a quick (and spoiled) shadow. Chariot rushed Zara (annihilated 2100bc). Built Gwall 1700bc. Built Pyramids 800bc. Up to 4 cities at 800bc. Fairly comfortable so far, unlikely to play it any further.

    I agree that you play the map, not the leader.

    I suspect that it might be 'better' to leave the strategy discussions until the first round of exploring is done, somewhere around 3000-2500bc.
     
  6. tycoonist

    tycoonist Deity

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    finally someone who agrees that you should only "leverage the map" not anything else.
     
  7. fjordan

    fjordan Warlord

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    So you won a civ game with a high score. Good for you, it requires skill. But skill is something that you will have to develop. You cannot take advantage of the opportunities the map gives you if you don't see the opportunities if they arise. So to get better skills you may want to train some of them. This may not lead to the highest score ever or to an early victory. But afterwards you will have a better understanding of the way you can leverage the map. And this is exactly what threads like the ALC are about. Training and seeing opportunities. Showing the tricks you can use if yout leader is spiritual or protective (allthoug I agree the latter are rare). I learn much more from an ALC than from someone desribing a random win.
     
  8. DanF5771

    DanF5771 Emperor

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    Well isn't the idea of this complex game to find the optimum that my particular leader can make of the map+neighbours that he has been given???

    In the present ALC that would be things (that I tried to do in my shadow game) like:
    + timing the major land grabbing wars around the better withdrawing Camel Archers and drafted protective Muskets and Riflemen
    + anarchy free switching in and out of Slavery only for "synchronized" whipping and otherwise staying in Caste (for extra fast culture where needed, GPPs ...) or Serfdom (for quicker jungle removal, ...)
    + beelining Angkor Wat for Madrassa synergy
    ...

    The advantage of neglecting all those things is surely a faster game (real time!) - but it will be suboptimal and quite boring. At least I get the most fun out of the immense replayability of CIV IV!
     
  9. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    No...there's good advice in here too. Much of what this player says was what I needed to start competing effectively on emperor. It's true that fundamentally all forms of civ growth and success come from tiles. You need food for specialists and growth, commerce for the slider, hammers for production, etc. Yes, things convert or multiply there, but ultimately what drives a civs success is working as many good tiles as possible. This generally means more cities.

    Taking cities from the AI is particularly effective. Not only does it raise your power, it cuts into the power of those that can beat you. That's a pretty solid approach to improving one's position. The AI can no longer use that land and its bonuses. In addition, you close the gap.

    It's also good to see more players who don't have a stigma vs intercontinental invasions. They are supposedly hard, and it certainly was for me at first. However, once you get the hang of it doing one can often be just as easy as the early wars. You can strike faster and often have a huge invasion force. If a civ isn't prepared it might capitulate very early on, which means a foothold for further invasions (not to mention a healthy amount of garrison units to distract enemy stacks away while you take more cities).
     
  10. Smakemupagus

    Smakemupagus Warlord

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    Good post OP, although I agree with Fjordan that the fun and learning potential of the ALC come from the restrictions of the genre. There are plenty of other posts on these boards for seeing optimum strategies worked out in detail, like S-GOTM threads, Or immortals' club.
     
  11. Calder

    Calder Warlord

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    Enjoyed reading your post and glad to see I'm not the only one who plays leveraging the land rather than leveraging any given economic strategy you read on these forums. One question though, how have you ever been able to get Civil Service via Oracle on Emperor level? I usually get as far as getting Currency from the Oracle in most of my games, which along with my many early hamlets/villages, gives me the early advantage I need to be a tech whore - but Civil Service! - maybe if all AIs in the game are truly handicapped could you pull this off. I've never risked it.
    And on the note of the single warrior halting AI expansion - you can take it further by giving that warrior (or 2) further attendances at barbarian training camps, promoting it to WoodsIII Axe - and yes I have been known to destroy a whole civilisation or 2 with just 1 unit!
     
  12. OTAKUjbski

    OTAKUjbski TK421

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    Leveraging the land does sometimes mean utilizing "Exoticstrat 52" but otherwise everything you said is dead on.

    If the map hands you a sword, you'd be an idiot to grab your leader's butter knife. 5 stars! :goodjob:
     
  13. foobarred

    foobarred Monarch

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    I think "DFA" economy is good in theory, but for those of us who are still trying to master the skills to win in Emperor, it pretty much means nothing. I play monarch on random standard settings and can win maybe 50% of the time. I try to leverage the map, and the leader in order to come up with the most appropriate strategy possible. I don't lock myself into a particular economy, victory condition, or tech path. I guess I'm doing a DFA economy then.

    However, that means absolutely nothing.

    I like hearing discussions of whether or not to grab pyramids, or whether or not to steal a worker simply because I do not yet have the experience to win in Emperor level. It's certainly common sense to some people to the point where any other choice is f.....g around, but to me, these are hard choices.

    I enjoyed reading LC's summary of his game, because it made every choice he made seem like common sense, and to him it was. Game tactics like whipping overflow, city micromanagement, and civic changes to leverage the situation are still skills that I haven't mastered. And some of his common sense decisions are one's that I would have struggled with during play, but in hindsight would have appeared obvious.

    I think what would be interesting is to set up a landmass with no enemies, and find out at 0BC how many beakers, hammers, and gold are being generated per turn by someone who is at warlord level, prince level, noble level, monarch level, emperor level and immortal level. Also, the tech level and the land area.

    I think to have a true definition of a DFA economy, we need have some vague understanding how much should be generated given a few "normal" land maps. Perhaps this has been done before, but I haven't seen it yet.
     
  14. Solon70

    Solon70 Warlord

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    Am I a bad player if I don't believe in choking cities? Maybe I'll never win the GOTM, but to me it just seems like too cheap a strategy.
     
  15. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    ^_^. If you think it's that cheap, try doing it when there are other AI civs around. You get some of that AI land that it doesn't settle, but so does any remaining AI's, and at not cost to them. Would you rather 1 big opponent and 1 small one, or two equally sized opponents? I'd rather the latter.

    This makes choking a situational strategy, hardly rigged.

    Also, if you try to choke a bunch of civs at once, it usually isn't too pretty :).
     
  16. Lord Chambers

    Lord Chambers Emperor

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    I competely agree. Which is why this sat on my desktop for two days before I decided to actually put it up. I felt like I was essentially taking for granted all the strategy and mechanics discussions that play into my decision making. In the end I figured at the least it would stimulate some thinking and generate some discussion which rarely hurts on a discussion board.

    I do disagree about the utility of reading how to most maximize Camel Archers, however. I think it emphasizes red herrings which less experienced players will go for, having been trained to by ALCs. If they all approach the technique with a wizened view where it's simply adding one more tool to the toolbox, then all is well, but it is my view that months of ALCs have contributed to a shift of focus for many players. In practice, they actually believe that going to Guilds early to utilize Camel Archers an optimal strategy, rather than just something you'd resort to in almost inconceivable circumstances. I ask, if you train all the time to maximize your leader's traits and uniques are you really going to disregard it and maximize your position on the map? Or will you stick to what you know, and then come to the board expressing your confusion since you're doing it just like you read to?

    Essentially I just want to bring basics back to the discussion. I would hope that relatively exotic strategic decisions would be treated like the surprising deviation they are so players will say "oh, that's cool, I'll have to remember that" rather than "I'm not even making use of protective, I must be playing a bad game."

    Much love to Sisitul for ALC. I see the series as a strong element of the discussion that should be going on in Strategy and Tips. I just fear one consequence of being the only game in town for so long is a shift in player approach to success. Leader first. Leverage. Pretending the AIs are real people. Etc.
     
  17. Lord Chambers

    Lord Chambers Emperor

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2001
    Messages:
    1,004
    No. I haven't tried since Warlords pre-patch (or whenever) when Great Prophets bulbed Code of Laws before Masonry. Then in BTS Mathematics was added as a pre-requisite for Civil Service, which should make it impossible. But I think Civ4 devs probably didn't intend the map generator to favor ALCs so much. Anyway, even in this game I didn't try for it, I just noticed it still wasn't built and wanted some failure coins. If any stone wonders were available I'd have fake-built them instead. I wasn't too surprised when the Oracle finished however, since I was already smiting rivals and exploding trees with lightning bolts like God.

    One time I used the Oracle for Paper. Still not something worth shooting for since it should occur so rarely on Emperor, but if you use your first Great Prophet for Theology the turn before the Oracle completes you can get your hammers worth of beakers. This has a little bit of synergy when your map has given you lots of ****** cities, thus a desire to maximize the city output with Great Lighthouse, University of Sankore, Spiral Minaret, and Apostalic Palace. Generating the first Great Prophet is a challenge without Stonehenge (generally a waste of hammers), or Egyptian Oblesks.

    I like to use the Oracle for Code of Laws so that I spend less time in a research hole. Even when you fail you get failure coins which helps a little bit. However, some games require other technology before Priesthood, like Writing, Sailing, and/or Archery, and it's not worth seriously trying for.
     
  18. Nares

    Nares Emperor

    Joined:
    May 2, 2006
    Messages:
    1,631
    The AI were pretty backwards in this game. Only the ones on the starting continent had a chance.

    I got the impression that the player's position was changed. It had originally generated on either of the two other "landmasses," and someone swapped it with an AI on the primary landmass.
     
  19. pigswill

    pigswill fly (one day)

    Joined:
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    Location:
    berkshire, england
    IMHO Sisiutil in practice does tend to play to the situation not to a particular leader's foibles; however his reports also tend to emphasise his use of a particular leader more than his general strategy.
     
  20. Nares

    Nares Emperor

    Joined:
    May 2, 2006
    Messages:
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    Isn't that what the ALC is about?

    Most of the conjecture you seem to be responding to comes in the initial turn sets of the game, when the map is relatively unexplored.

    Taking the Saladin game as an example, I see a good deal of discussion about how to leverage his traits in general. I see discussion of possible strengths that may be called into action as the game unfolds. But all this is written within the context of an unexplored map.

    I agree that the map dictates strategy moreso than any trait or unique. I just don't see the harm in discussing how to take advantage of a leader's traits and uniques outside of the map.

    For example, Camel Archers have been used quite effectively to clear a continent. Beelining Guilds can be leveraged into a strong position, despite your claims to the contrary. Would this ALC be a good place to beeline Guilds? Perhaps. There's certainly land enough to REX into while teching, and a Creative leader with a Holy City that will hinder any early (non-choke) rush.

    Is there harm in discussion independent of the map? I don't believe so.
     

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