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Slave Economy - A Pitiful Method to Abuse Your Neighbours

Discussion in 'Civ4 Strategy Articles' started by Manco Capac, Jul 23, 2012.

  1. Manco Capac

    Manco Capac Friday,13 June,I Collapse

    Mar 1, 2010
    Updated from an older article.

    Since the dawn of civilizations, enslaving minor nations has been a cheap method to boost one's economy or simply batten on the weaker. Sadly, many modern nations, nowadays grown powerful, have a flood of drippling blood on their hands. Nonetheless, it had its power albeit being a flagitious practice and CIV translates this efficiency well. If done with finesse.
    Here we are not referring to the slavery civic where we make sacrifice of populations for hammers. This article revolves around a simple tactic which is to rapaciously collect AI's workers in a extensive manner. And an attempt to bundle my finds to a point a tactic called "worker stealing" shifted to a whole economical strategy, which I personally dubbed Slave Economy.

    One may say what can be added to simply grab AI workers...
    Well, one messes with AI and AI behaviour has an RNG and deterministic component in their behaviour. We need to delve into this to ease the practice and make it safe. And a full panoply of tricks (or exploit if you wish) goes along.

    Enslavement of workers, being the bed-rock of this type of war economy, is a risk/reward type of economy. If proceeded perfunctorily, an advantage may turns against you and makes you game falls. Of course, worker stealing, along the spectrum of difficulty levels, are easier the lower the level, but a badly done slave economy is an efficiency killer. And one wants to maximize the reward over the risk to make the strategy viable, otherwise this strategy worths peanuts. This present knowledge was acquired via many years of experience and testings. Perhaps, some codes and explanations as well are going to be provided to certify my assumptions.

    Still, one cannot rely on this strategy on every game if the reasonable conditions are not met. And this is up to you to judge what other alternatives you should take to victory.

    What is basically worker stealing and slave economy?

    Worker stealing is the act of grabbing unduly (via war) workers through surprise onsets or a serie of tricks while the war is maintained (sudden city capture, worker bugs, treacherous target borders, etc). Slave economy is spoliating neighbours of their workers, translating into free hammers. By dint of spoliation, one cripples the target and the benefitting civilization gets all their improvements faster and production is directed into other projects. In a nutshell, a nation evolves faster.


    Select Your Target(s)
    Spoiler :

    Indeed, without neighbours, slave economy cannot exist. And not every neighbour is ideal for slave economy. The quality of the target matters as worker stealing is categorized in risk/reward type of tactic/strategy. In a nutshell, here are the factors to ponder:

    Aggression of the Target
    Spoiler :

    Given the spectrum of AI's personalities (Random Personality OFF),
    Montezuma will definitely not react similarly as Gandhi and attacking the most aggressive can be either devastating if badly handled or a great relief if crippled decently. Nevertheless, there definitely is a determistic pattern from all AI's when it comes to choke them (because those behaviours are included C++ files instead of XML ones, so generalized to all AI's). All one needs is to know their weak spots and their what makes them a bit unique.

    Here are the important parameters variegating the AI's:

    Unit Courage

    Spoiler :

    Unit Courage or iBaseAttackOddsChange in XML terms is the suicidal tendencies of AI military units to attack even though the odds are unfavorable. This means the worker steal with inferior military is riskier is must be proceeded with heavy care. This unit courage concept applies to units taken one by one. A stack behaves differently and will sum up their global powers at a certain threshold, but we'll come by this subject later. Of course, one must not forget RNG is still an active component of unit attacking, thus care is always welcome. And archers is the likely unit to encounter and this unit has an erratic behaviour because of the multiple scripts (script=list of actions) attached to the archer while an axe has a more deterministic pattern (although the different scripts). If slave has begun early, warriors are the probable units and they are vulnerable starting monarch difficulty to deity difficulty because AI's start with archers and Archery. Knowing the kamikaze attribute of each AI's will certainly help irksome losses.

    List of AI and their iBaseAttackOddsChange from the chicken to the bloodlust savages. Each block of unit courage is in alphabetical order.

    Spoiler :

    The chicken or the wise men. They will attack at >50% odds (e.g. archers with UNITAI_ATTACK), but once the balance in your favor like a warrior in a forest tile with 5% fortification, archer will avoid any battle until forming a stack.

    Note that an archer attacking a warrior defended by a forest is slightly more than 50% due to the first strike innate to the archer. And even chicken will attack.

    Note that protective leaders make their archer a bit more boosted due to first strike promo I. Thus 2 first strikes.

    Note that Mansa Musa and Hammurabi are special cases where their archer unit is replace a deadly UU for warriors; the skirmisher of 4 :strength: and another one first strike over the normal archer and the bowman of 50% against melee units. I've done slave economy on Mansa and Hammurabi, but with care and experience is needed to handle those two.

    Note that Pacal II can produce holkan at some point without resource access. Watch out once he gets into slavery!

    Note that RNG is always a real component. But the more defensive promotions, the bigger the stack is needed to retaliate. For instance, in a city of four archers, even with woodsman I, archers may attack! But with woodsman II, the chance is reduced.

    Note that roaming single archers around a city may just return to the city. The real danger is the proximity of cities where units are stacked.

    • ASOKA
    • DARIUS
    • GANDHI
    • JOAO II
    • PACAL II

    Those AI's have increased unit courage.
    • CYRUS
    • MEHMED
    • STALIN
    • WILLEM

    Now, we are talking about serious. Their increased courage now becomes problematic because even single archers may attack more often. Defensive promotions are recommended via animals or a barrack.

    Note that Montezuma and Sitting Bulls are dangerous because of their resourceless UU. Making a ceasefire with them is almost a necessity to avoid them to stacks their boosted units too much.

    • PETER
    • SHAKA

    Here we come to the two special cases of bloodlust monsters. Nothing inhibits their needs to drink blood!
    These personalities must be handled with care at all cost!

    • RAGNAR

    Unit Spamming

    Spoiler :

    Each leader has its own agenda how to invest their hammers. Although ruled by RNG, some leaders pay attention more than others on units. Unit Spam or in XML term "iBuildUnitProb" caracterizes the AI propensity to build units and hereby some military units under war pressure. Those values are in percentage of all their builds. So on 100 items, Gandhi has 15 items attributed for units. Of course, this is random, not deterministic. But after war declaration, AI tends to build more archers than peace times, espcially if you threaten them even with a single warrior within their city BFC.
    You should make ceasefire or peacetreaty with those with high numbers to force odds towards peaceful projects.

    ALEXANDER ==> 35
    ASOKA ==> 20
    AUGUSTUS ==> 25
    BISMARCK ==> 30
    BOUDICA ==> 30
    BRENNUS ==> 30
    CATHERINE ==> 25
    CHARLEMAGNE ==> 30
    CHURCHILL ==> 25
    CYRUS ==> 30
    DARIUS ==> 30
    DE GAULLE ==> 25
    ELIZABETH ==> 20
    ROOSEVELT ==> 20
    FREDERICK ==> 20
    GANDHI ==> 15
    GENGHIS KHAN ==> 35
    GILGAMESH ==> 30
    HAMMURABI ==> 30
    HANNIBAL ==> 30
    HATSHEPSUT ==> 20
    HUAYNA CAPAC ==> 25
    ISABELLA ==> 25
    JOAO ==> 25
    JULIUS CAESAR ==> 30
    JUSTINIAN ==> 35
    KUBLAI KHAN ==> 25
    LINCOLN ==> 25
    LOUIS XIV ==> 30
    MANSA MUSA ==> 25
    MAO ZEDONG ==> 25
    MEHMED ==> 40
    MONTEZUMA ==> 35
    NAPOLEON ==> 40
    PACAL ==> 25
    PERICLES ==> 25
    PETER ==> 30
    QIN SHI HUANGDI ==> 20
    RAGNAR ==> 40
    RAMESSES ==> 20
    SALADIN ==> 30
    SHAKA ==> 40
    SITTING BULL ==> 35
    STALIN ==> 30
    SULEIMAN ==> 30
    SURYAVARMAN ==> 30
    TOKUGAWA ==> 30
    VICTORIA ==> 25
    WANGKON ==> 25
    WASHINGTON ==> 25
    WILLEM ==> 25
    ZARA YAQOB ==> 30

    Worker First or Military Units

    Spoiler :

    This is about the very first build in the capital if you wish to start early the thraldom.
    Below monarch, their first unit is either a scout warrior or a scout. Their first build is undeniably a defensive warrior. Monarch and higher, it depends.
    Under war and in threatened position, the AI will opt almost 100% cases for military units. While peace, every AI behaves follows the same path of complete RNG based decision for the first build notwithstanding. It could be a warrior, an archer, a worker or even a settler first. No AI has determistic propensity to worker first over another one. Each level of difficulty has its traits and specifities and looking at the chart will help you to approximately deduce when the worker first may pop, if they start with a worker.

    Expansive vs Non-expansive

    Spoiler :

    Expansive leaders don't produce more workers in term of frequence, but in term of cost. Expansive leaders have their first worker earlier if their lands allows it like a forested plain hill or settled on a plain hill while working a plain forest.

    Aggressive AI ON

    Spoiler :

    Indeed, this has nothing to do with AI leaders difference, but it has particular mention for being an interesting aspect if well-used. Aggressive AI option put at ON triggers a special case in the diplo table when negotiating peace treaties or ceasefire.
    Threatening a city is by definition a military that can attack city on camping within the 25 tiles square (5*5 tiles) with the city at then center.
    If you threaten them and not you, you get the negotiation at your favor over them and vice-versa.
    Here is a reference.

    Spoiler :
    Some AI's are dangerous because their civilization allows stronger units without restriction than archers as UU early in the game where the human player is vulnerable.

    • Mansa Musa for the Skirmisher
    • Sitting Bull for the Dog Warrior
    • Pacal II for the Holkan
    • Hammurabi for the Bowman
    • Montezuma for the Jaguar Warrior

    Creative Versus Non-creative

    Spoiler :

    CivIII is known for its divers exploits like the Right of Passage, widely abused and patched in CIV with a new rule that changed the early strategy. Without OB, no units can encroach their territoriality of another nation. And sudden wars by the cities and then ransacking all cities the first turn of the war is no more possible.
    War marches have to begin from the borders. So is capturing non valiant and reckless workers by the borders. Those deeper in the cultural lands are more secured than those from the borders and unattainable.

    If one opts for an early worker steal and slave economy, one must ponder creative civs and non-creative civs. The capital grown quicker with creative leaders as they pump 4 :culture: instead of the typical 2 :culture: from the palace. On normal speed, one deduces it takes 50 turns for non-creative leaders to reach the third cultural ring whereas creative leaders only take 25 turns, far less opportunities for snatching workers improving BFC resources.

    Here are patterns indicating the possible onslaughts.

    Green tiles are the typical second culture ring of a capital after 5 turns for a non-creative civ or 3 turns for a creative one. The blue crosses are the worker positions that are reachable for a non-creative leader before T50 or for a creative leader before T25. Notice how reduced are the possibilities by T25 for creative leaders. Only 8 accessible attack locations (the purple circles). Chances a resource spawned right onto one of those 8 positions is significantly reduced. So creative leaders are harder to worker steal without astute use of woodsman II units. Of course, later, the workers will improve the third red culture ring, but that is going to be too late and the worker will certainly improve a strategic resource in BFC (green squares) before outside. Nevertheless, with practice, even creative leaders can be overcome. Another possible annoyance is blockade created by coasts and this happens much more with creative leaders.

    Border Improvable Resources

    Spoiler :

    Once the AI worker is out, he starts improving a tile according the improvement released by a certain tech (worker tech). Most of the cases, the first worker will improve the highest food as soon as possible. Those are the first traps for your enslavers. But it happens the AI rolled the bad RNG and they favor useless techs like the religious path and neglect food techs, forcing the worker to improve something else meanwhile. Isabella is a known case for instance. Starting techs of a civilization are great indicator to nigh forebode their worker agenda.
    But rule #1 is food!
    And indeed, that resource must be accessible at the border, otherwise you can do zilch without a woodsman II (or sometimes guerrilla II) units. Therefore, bad slave economy target.

    Diplomatic Aftermath

    Spoiler :

    Two sides matter: the target and their friends. Are you intending to kill off the target later? Then, poking him as many times shouldn't pose a problem! But some of his/her friends get irritated by your rapines and you may lose a possible friend doing so repetitively. Rancour is trigger of unwanted wars! Or simply lost trade parners.

    If another AI is PLEASED with your target (observe your F4 diplomatic web), you get an irreversible -1 (-2 with Gandhi) "You have declared on our friend!". And one method of efficient worker stealing requires repetitive war declarations. Thus, be wary and take decisions.
    Does the diplomacy is static? Not at all. Religions may help you create tensions between ex-friends. And hidden modifiers (modifier= attitude point) changes the global diplomatic order in a trice several times.

    Those two are dubbed "We have a higher score than you!" ,
    "We have a lower score than you!" or "development civilization should work together!"
    and were hidden by Firaxis.

    Spoiler :
    "We have a higher score than you!" is a hidden modifier that can be found in the XML files and is very dependant of the leaders. Usually, the AI is all happy to be better than you, but a Willem is a special case: he doesn't like the fact he's better than you. It bothers him to be with turd of society while if you are stronger in score than him, he admires you and thus get a better relationship with you.

    "We have a lower score than you!" is the counterpart. And it usually pisses some AI off to be losers.
    For instance, real Tokugawa Ieyasu was a leader ready to exchange with foreigners to learn more of them. So why the easy PLEASED defense pact, PLEASED peacevassaling (manipulative trick to gain power), doesn't care about you are better than him. It was the following generations of Ieyasu family who closed border to the world.
    I wonder what real Willem von Orange had in mind...

    "development civilization should work together!"

    Type of diplo modifier hardcoded in DLL files, meaning it is a more generalized behaviour and less specific to leader real life habits. Diplo modifier that comes from the AI who is the most powerful score-wise. He tends his/her hand to lesser nations being more merciful (one plusmod).

    Those dynamic hidden modifiers can save sometimes save you a modifier. For instance, for one turn, Mansa Musa is the strongest in score and is PLEASED with Frederick. Next turn, he is no longer PLEASED because Frederick built the Stonehenge, bumping his score to the first stage.

    Peaceweights are a parameter on how prone to war a leader is.
    Low peaceweights hate high one and vice-versa, so usually are not friend each other.
    And sometimes, a forever alone spawns in the middle crowd of gentle gandhi-like leaders and everyone hates him. He can be you victim and no fear to lose modifiers for each wardec.

    If the DoW (Declaration of War) happends sufficiently early, unfortunately, you may tally diplo hits with unknown friends of his. A trick (not perfect though) is to look at their espionage rate upon you each turn. If >4 (from the palace and slider for paranoid leaders) each turn, it's possible the target didn't meet anyone yet.
    And keep you diplo clean in the process. Interestingly, the friends never blame what happened before their born friendship with your target.

    Cease fires are the common trick to worker steal repetitively and often leads to multiple diplo hits. Sure, those are not always that important if you go conquest, but if it is diplomatic victory via AP or U.N., reconsider your vile actions!

    Dangerous BFC Strategic Resources
    Spoiler :

    Generally, in the early game, the main units you encounter are scouts, warriors and ultimately archers without the support of a strategic resource. Most of these early restrainedless units can be handled during a war caused by forced appropriation of a worker. Defense compensates. Once an AI gets access of a strategic resource, the whole process becomes a mess. And the worst cases, you are jeopardized by the target revolting and striking back! And training unneeded garrisons is certainly reduce the efficiency of the slave economy you wished to impose. Before 3000 BC, an AI controls as much tiles as its BFC allows it. And the normalizer is treacherous to us at times spawing a unwanted resource. Once the resource is connected, you may get a chance to disconnect, but it is obvious lack of case was present. How to deny the AI from acceding advanced units? Well, doing boo to the workers! At war, there's a rule AI workers obey for their safety and can't improve a tile adjacent to an enemy unit like a barbarian or our dear enslaver.

    In the first 50 turns for a non-creative leader, one can treat the strategic resource just like the other resources and snatch the egged on for defense worker once it starts to improve it. Of course, doing so repetitively means each worker put a turn og improvement in the strategic resource, so be wary. The slower the gamespeed, the easier the more secure the repetition is. As long it follows the accessible plots presented in the creative leaders pictures, thar method works.

    Nonetheless, 4 positions are unreachable and an adjacent patrolling unit has to deny the resource for a permanent war state.

    There is a tactic on how to spot hidden resources while not even possessing the said tech. Ideal for iron those who hates teching IW early.

    Barbarian Units

    Spoiler :

    The worker is shackled. Superb! Still, the real profit commences once within raider's nation (culture). And the travel isn't intananeous and if the chosen target is a bit far, that is going to be quite a journey. On typical settings or simply default ones (like "Play Now!"), outside cultural boundaries, the world is ferine and deadly for those without essential defenses. And worker is a crispy meal for all those over-aggressive animals roaming outside civilized nations culture. Barbarian units may do the same to you as you did on the victim of worker stealing, making the whole investment null.

    Generally, on all difficulty levels except deity, animals are the main killer cause and certain types of animals are mighty dangerous because of their stealthy method to pounce on the unaware worker.
    Lions, Bears are not that dangerous if the worker avoids ending the turn on a forest or any tiles that eats all their 2 :move: points. On the other hand, wolfs and panthers are dangerous due to their two :move: .
    Unlike slow animals or human barbarian units where you move one tile at a time to maximize the survival odds, the very existence of the two movers make the whole trek a true gamble.
    If the voyage is particularly long, your enslaver (the unit that was used for worker stealing) may alternatively serve as an escort to give a chance to the small squad to survive as a whole...while getting some battle experiences that makes the enslaver stronger and possibly towards a far more efficient woodsman II. And the escort should last until one feels the last stretch of lands is risk-free.
    While the trek, a good use of the squad to minimize confrontations and maximize survival is to play both units in tandem: the warrior's duty is to protect, but the worker can try to foresee what's await them by moving the worker on a flat tile before the warrior and retreats for a turn if the next tile has a bear. One must not forget that a squad lost is worth 75 :hammers:!

    Another method to transit the worker even faster (not a woodsman II in a squad) is the use of middlemen that occupies the function of outposts. Not only a good disposition of warriors makes the transit far more efficient using full worker movement, but also more warriors are adding power favorably to you power rate and favor ceasefires or peace deals. And warriors are never a bad investment because later, those primitive militia will wear the uniform of a military police for each of your cities to relieve some anger and the warrior is the cheapest military unit!

    At some point, human barbarian units are slowly spawning and animals are dying one by one each turn (literally!). At that time or a couple of turn later, moving the worker one tile at a time is dramatically less of a gamble.

    Finally, astute studies of terrains (especially forests and hills) and fine outpost locations help to hasten the worker trek and overall efficiency. Now, let's add random points about barbarians and how possible subterfuging them...

    Here is a little list of tricks that might be of use of good to know about barbarian units.

    Bare BFC (Few Forests)

    Spoiler :

    Almost all the cases of an efficient early worker stealing or slave economy starts before 3000 BC. This means the AI is either stuck with one or two cities (or three on deity). Map normalizer is a hardcoded function that works for either the whole maps (for instance, you won't ever see a cluster of 4 corns outside the capital in a non wacky mapscript) and the capitals. CivIII was sometimes awful in the capital allotment and CIV had to work in a manner to minimize huge difference in the early game. Of course, the normalizer has several failures (single plain cows as single food resource, full forest starts with a single or two resources the whole game, etc. ), but the intent was to give to the capital the status of one the best locations on the map. And capital are generally marked with higher amount of forests. Even so, the normalizer is seldom treacherous and unjust, giving few good resources or a bare capital (few to no forests).

    Once the AI hits archers (or simply starts with archer from monarch on), the warrior is at a disadvantage and must use defense advantage to make up the strength difference and preferrably deter any retaliations. A bare hill is not sufficient and one hill by a river is not as common as a forest tile (or jungle for second cities; capital never gets any jungle; rule of the normalizer standing for desert and tundra tiles too). Forested lands are quite welcome to facitate the capital's surroundings explorations (in search of a strategic resource for instance) and deter retaliations.

    First, denying a resource is easier if next to a forest tile because lone warriors on a flat land tend to attract one superfluous archer out the city and force the warrior to move away.
    Second, woodsman II promotion is easier to get and its use if far more generalized than guerrilla II (while that promo is not accessible for a warrior but an archer).
    At last, forests represent the perfect trap tiles to ruse the helpless worker running behind the city walls! Not to mention roads are improvements that impede the weak warrior in his task and roads on forests are easier to destroy without the fear of a retaliation.

    Spoiler :

    Just like early rush, distances are an important condition in the decision of whether that target is reasonable or not. The more distant, the harder to transit workers to mainlands and if the enslaver is used as an escort, the time for the trek towards and backwards may be sufficient for the target to connect a strategic resource,to settle more cities and to start to be a dangerous factor. If the distances are beyond ridiculous, why to attack them.

    First, one of the common reasons for worker steal someone is to cripple them and get the benefit of this savage aggression either for more space for more cities peacefully settled or that target is a really bad neighbour! And possibly you want to captured the weakened/softened target later, but the maintenance cost (higher the more difficult the level) is a tad too high for the early game, crippling yourself instead economically. This is no longer CivIII where each additional city is a positive gain. Another city in CIV is sometimes a poisonous one. And that distant AI may peacevassal to someone else at some point for the creation of a super AI, not to mention the probable spaces the crippled AI cannot settle and automatically gifted to another neighbour if the map is not adapted to favour you (e.g. the target in at the end of a peninsula; no one can claim that unsettled lands except the target and you).

    In a nutshell, one must just leave the distant AI's alone and crush them later...after they prepare the lands just for you. And higher the difficulty level, the more you partially gain of their AI bonuses, especially EMP+.

    Workers' Escorts
    Click me!
  2. Manco Capac

    Manco Capac Friday,13 June,I Collapse

    Mar 1, 2010

    When to Start Slave Economy?

    Spoiler :

    When to Start Within a Game?
    Spoiler :

    That is not a hard question: as early as possible. The earlier the AI is crippled, the harder they can fight back and earlier you collect the benefits of faster improvements. And most of all, the cost/gain is the highest due to the lower price of enslavers: for an investment of 15 :hammers: (if starting with a scout), you gain 45 free :hammers: from the worker (60 :hammers: minus the cost of the enslaver) and possibly on some occasion a capital the grew quicker. Or differently said, you inflated the invested of the warrior by a factor 4! If you avoid growth for the capital, you may start a worker while stealing worker(s) and one immediately gets faster improvement and then the economy develops faster. Not mentioning the lower cases of working unimproved tiles! The trade-off is indeed the small delay caused by training a warrior (especially if your start is hammer poor like no forested plain hill in the first ring of culture, a.k.a. the 8 tiles surrounding the city tile) and if starting with a warrior (civilizations without Hunting technology), the trade-off is non-existent!
    Nevertheless, as the game goes, one can replaces the enslaver with a club with one armed with an axe. Those super enslavers are risk-free, move one all tiles without huge risk of retaliations, can attack lone defenseless archers for experience. Chariots are another alternative for more mobility.

    The risk of starting a later slave economy on a target is mainly by their increased possibility to gain a strategic resource. The lack of a strategic resource is the main condition of when it is harder to control an AI, but with experience and a sufficient low level, you can try to snatch a couple of workers once in a while if you feel safe to make a ceasefire or peace. Or simply to defend yourself easily.

    Slave economy doesn't have a precise clock, but a precise characteristic based on their capability to assemble strong forces against you, mainly via strategic resources.

    Gamespeed Factor
    Spoiler :

    Now, let's talk about the when in terms of different games.
    Gamespeed is a huge factor on the efficiency of worker stealing. Gamespeed affects mainly the units speed of action by speeding up the civilization capabilities on advancements. Everyone agrees on marathon speed, a unit may trek to one side of a huge continent to the other side and few advancements in tech and city development were made while quick speed is so fast your unit barely made it in decent times. Therefore, since worker stealing is based on units mobility relative to how fast civilizations advance in time, the faster the gamespeed, the harder and less efficient the slave economy becomes.

    Worker stealing and especially slave economy is strongly fitted for epic and marathon speeds. On normal speed, it is still viable with expertise. On quick speed, you may snatch one or two workers, but basing a whole economy on worker stealing is hard unless playing as low as monarch or even below. For instance, on average, the AI's will get their first worker after 10 turns, barely enough for snatching it (not to mention their improve way faster!) and the trek becomes a real lag. And controlling an AI by unit interception against improving a strategic is harder and sometimes impossible. While on marathon, it is a joke!

    In conclusion, slave economy shifts in difficulty upward the slower the gamespeed while taking the opposite direction on quicker speed.

    How to Proceed Slave Economy?

    Spoiler :

    Worker stealing, backbone of slave economy, is resumed in two situations:

    1. Permanent war state.
    2. war-peace cycles.

    Spoiler :

    War-Peace Cycles

    Below deity, the most efficient worker stealing is working neat and that is the most efficient one. And the abuse of repetitive peaces via ceasefire (which allows another declaration of war (DOW) any opportunistic time)

    That method is generally more feasible and doesn't rely on specific tricks to overcome the worker 2 :move: .


    1. Diplomatic hits (-3 with target and -1 with friends except Gandhi with -2).
    2. Crippled AI.
    3. Can't enter WHEOON mode (war mode) without copper.
    4. Almost free from AI retaliation because wars never last long.
    5. Cease-fire is often feasible...and free.
    6. 60 or 45 free :hammers: per worker.
    7. AI in peace means they interrupt their war plans and focus on peaceful plans like another worker or a settler.

    Permanent war state.

    Permanent war states are either your decision (e.g. denying a strategic resource, keep you diplo clean with target's friend(s), etc.) or caused by the impossibility of making peace ( see the section on ceasefire and peace treaties). Whatever the reasons, permanent war makes the next workers harder to seize.

    Tricks are needed to trump workers' ability to run away:

    1. Woodsman II or Guerilla II units.
    2. Traps.
    3. Successive Worker Steal.
    4. Helpless workers paving the cities.
    5. Terraforming tricks.
    6. Target's border next to a neighbour border.
    7. Amphibious attack.

    Descriptions in detail...


    1. Retaliation risk is higher.
    2. Less workers produced and more archers trained.
    3. Crippled AI even more, especially in sciences as in war-mode, they automatically put 20% slider for espionage as long as the war persists. Thus, reaching critical techs like construction or feudalism is slower. Although unit upkeep is enormously lowered for AI, a huge amount of units doesn't help their fragile economy.
    4. Unwanted permanent war states are even harder to end with military unit spamming...it is a vicious circle.
    5. City capture is more expensive during pre-catapult era.

    Why do This and Economical Kickback?
    Settler to Deity Difficulty Specific Aspects to Recur.

    Spoiler :

    Difficulty levels are not only modifying some parameters for the player, but are modifying greatly the AI in terms of negative or positive handicaps.
    Some handicaps are present for all levels, but those that interest us are dependent of the difficulty level and is resumed on starting units, production and research discounts and starting hammer bonuses.
    Consider scaled for normal gamespeed.

    Spoiler :

    From Settler difficulty to Prince, a general tendency is seen:
    the AI's start with the same number of units as the human player and they only obtain an initial hammers lump bonus (10 :hammers: for normal speed) for the capital and the handicaps for each levels. Thus, few differences are observed except the development speed from the AI's.

    1. Hunting civilization starts with a scout while others start with a warrior.
    2. Their initial warriors have a scout behaviour and are set to UNITAI_SCOUT.
    3. UNITAI_SCOUT warriors are units that tend to explore and move randomly. Nevertheless, if at war with the owner civ, the close by scout warrior will rush your capital. A simple trick to get rid of that warrior is simply protect your capital with a warrior as scout warrior has a very low courage threshold and is more of a opportunistic unit. I've seen extremely weirds cases of a simple worker in the city scares the warrior that is not to near and the warrior will aim preferably an empty city. Indeed a bug, but it is needed to be confirmed.
    4. Their first build in 100% a defending unit and thus the warrior. Usually takes few turns to complete due to the hammers bonus, which was lilkely coded to avoid successive capital invasion wirthout resistance. Still, lower speeds increase the units speed and even the initial bonus doesn't help, especially if the AI has a 3 :food: tile witihin their capital.
    5. Depending of the start (plain hill start or a deer tile under forest) and the civ (Expansionist trait), the worker will be trained at different moments for each civilizations. In average, the worker comes out around : T29 to T34. See, the waiting is so long given their higher cost in everything. Better wait their first worker, then get both the worker and city. Later workers will take too much time. Of course, a free city <T13 is something you take no matter what unless some chivalry takes on you.
    6. The longest period the AI remains without defense is 12-13 turns. You can get free cities as long you don't step onto their last 3 :food: spot. Indeed, the AI is not enough intelligent to switch to a production tile while being at war with them. Their initial warrior (non-Hunting civilization) is set to UNITAI_SCOUT and will scout no matter what. The AI first build is 100% a warrior (or quechua) and takes time, more lower the level given lower bonus hammers. They get 10 hammers. Their warrior cost 24 :hammers:, thus taking around 12-13 turns to complete it.
    7. Often, the leaders are listing their second project after the initial warrior as a worker. Under peace state of course. After the worker, sometimes they start another warrior and that warrior is a danger as its function is less predictable as the first warrior. The first defends the city at all cost, but the second roams within the 8 tiles around the city back and forth and will attack after worker steal. More common retaliation than starting archers on Monarch+.
    8. If proning cumulative worker stealing, the AI will stop at some point to produce workers to be stolen the next turn. After two workers, the AI will often start a settler.
    9. Prince and below difficulty, there is another tactic that is more efficient and exponentially more rewarding than just repetitively steal worker: steal the first worker along the city. Yes, it is a cheese type of tactic, but proven to be extremely strong unless the city is very far from your capital, still the settler maintenance is extremely low, so whatever the distance accessible by your initial warriors, you should keep the city. In fact, there is a saying: conquer half of the world with warrior. It means prince and below AI's start as much as you in defense: a single warrior. And most of them start right away a worker, slowing them down for put up a good defense. 2 warriors can conquer the city, but you agree on the gamble. 3 warriors per non hill warrior is a safe number.
      Basically, per experience, guess when the worker comes out (or use the espionage trick) and attack the AI to check the worker within the city and get both the task force and its motherland. No quarter!
    10. Tribal huts on can lead to some crazy situations because on settler you can pop worker and settler. Settler can be settled by rival AI's in order to reduce the distance of your attacking warriors. Popped warriors (always happening after 10 turns, so on T11 and on whatever gamespeed) are additional help. Free XP (woodsman II or CR2) comes at T11 too. Those two were implemented that way to avoid crazy things on multiplayer games. That's a guess though.

    Spoiler :

    Share many points as settler difficulty. I present the differences though.

    1. Depending of the start (plain hill start or a deer tile under forest) and the civ (Expansionist trait), the worker will be trained at different moments for each civilizations. In average, the worker comes out around : ****

    Spoiler :

    1. Depending of the start (plain hill start or a deer tile under forest) and the civ (Expansionist trait), the worker will be trained at different moments for each civilizations. In average, the worker comes out around : ****

    Spoiler :

    1. Depending of the start (plain hill start or a deer tile under forest) and the civ (Expansionist trait), the worker will be trained at different moments for each civilizations. In average, the worker comes out around : ****

    Spoiler :

    1. Depending of the start (plain hill start or a deer tile under forest) and the civ (Expansionist trait), the worker will be trained at different moments for each civilizations. In average, the worker comes out around : ****

    Spoiler :

    1. Depending of the start (plain hill start or a deer tile under forest) and the civ (Expansionist trait), the worker will be trained at different moments for each civilizations. In average, the worker comes out around : ****

    Spoiler :

    1. Depending of the start (plain hill start or a deer tile under forest) and the civ (Expansionist trait), the worker will be trained at different moments for each civilizations. In average, the worker comes out around : ****

    Spoiler :

    1. Depending of the start (plain hill start or a deer tile under forest) and the civ (Expansionist trait), the worker will be trained at different moments for each civilizations. In average, the worker comes out around : ****

    Spoiler :

    1. Depending of the start (plain hill start or a deer tile under forest) and the civ (Expansionist trait), the worker will be trained at different moments for each civilizations. In average, the worker comes out around : ****

    Sample Games and Examples.
  3. Manco Capac

    Manco Capac Friday,13 June,I Collapse

    Mar 1, 2010
    **reserved ii**
  4. shakabrade

    shakabrade Praise Vivec!

    May 23, 2011

    Very useful guide, even in this stage. Never knew who unit spammers were, or who had high unit courage. Those information can also be incorporated in other strats as well.

    I am grateful for your efforts. Hope you get ''content staff'' status.
  5. Zx Zero Zx

    Zx Zero Zx Deity

    Apr 23, 2009
    I have the answer for when to start the capitulation of workers, and it is very simple. When you see that first juicy worker from the first AI you have met.
  6. georgjorge

    georgjorge Deity Wannabe

    Dec 14, 2009
    Can't wait to get more specifics on that topic, as for now I can't imagine succesful worker stealing on Deity (so...many...archers)! I guess having a warrior ready to kill a scout on the same turn would help greatly...?
  7. Kaitzilla

    Kaitzilla Lord Croissant

    Jun 21, 2008
    Always knew there were certain civs you didn't worker steal from on Deity, but now I know for sure which to avoid, thanks!
  8. Manco Capac

    Manco Capac Friday,13 June,I Collapse

    Mar 1, 2010
    You...? Like me. Not sure to understand the turn of that sentence. Usually I prefer using the word like "one" as in ...certain civs one avoids on deity...

    So Kaitzilla is a deity player...

    Anyways, why all the repliers are deity players...lol.
    This guide is for all level and for meta-playing. In fact, in "settler to deity",
    deity will figure a special case as worker stealing is really bad on that level. And don't bring up AZ examples as I tried far more cases than him and I'm an expert in worker stealing.

    The complete guide is meant to be far bigger than this. I just need free times and enough enthusiasm level to finish it. And what you learnt now is just the tip of the iceberb as it doesn't show at all (yet) how to proceed.
  9. Doshin

    Doshin jolly yellow giant

    Apr 24, 2003
    Great guide, especially the part on AI attack courage. I'm looking forward to the section on Deity, because I sure as heck find it hard to steal workers there and make peace without a good UU.

    You can't direct the wind, but you can adjust your sails.
    One doesn't discover new lands without losing sight of the shore.

  10. Manco Capac

    Manco Capac Friday,13 June,I Collapse

    Mar 1, 2010
    Spoiler :
    • All animals have a 10% of avoiding any attacks each turn. So facing a deadly animal due to gambling doesn't necessarily equate its loss. RNG is sometimes astounding!
    • Human barbs have 100% chance to make an aggression unless another worker is around. Supposedly, there is a predilection for certain orientations of attack over others in case of all the preys are similar in power strength after modifier (like NW is the most favored; hardcoded), but no tactical use stems from that assumption unfortunately.
    • Using an AI warrior, archer or commonly a scout for protection is a very bad idea. Unless wounded where the code ordains them (even despite an enemy is next to the unit) to heal up to 100 HP (mainly scouts and all units with UNITAI_SCOUT), all AI's units move before barbarians (single player mode), thus will move away before barbarian units start to rampage. Still, an AI scout around, especially one that heals, is a good indicator of a spawnbust region a.k.a. a safer region with less spawning barbarians. Using an AI unit that heals as a shield is not a neat idea though because amongst all the benefitting handicaps an AI gets, their units get a big defense and attack bonuses over barbarian units. No surprise to see their scout survive all the time against a bear!
    • If not attacking, an animal cannot move over a resource tile. That means, they are somehow and sometimes useful as natural shield like mountains. Try to imagine a barrier of dyes in line... Nonetheless, if a unit is on that resource tile, the animal still has 90% chance to attack you. The animal only goes on a resource if it is ensued of a previous attack.
    • An animal just on the fringe of a culture pattern won't attack an adjacent unit within the culture. Animals never enter cultural patterns. Human barbs won't obey that rule.
    • Small cols between mountains offer opportunities on several occasion if one wants to avoid surrounding human barbarian units to flood towards a direction. Putting a unit or many units to form a wall completely block barbarian units to pass unless next to that or those units. This trick (being borderline of an exploit) is dubbed "unit walling" and if one is capable to completely seal off their main cities, theoritically, no barbs generated by spawn in fog (barbs spawned by random events work differently) will bother you. So the barbarian streams will flood your neighbours instead of you!
      Note all the units can be use for this trick, even workers!
    • If the squad of worker(s) and an escort is moving one tile at a time on bare tiles (no forests and hills), why not use one worker turn for a road in preparation for a future rush to the target. Think efficient. With one turn invested, the AI can't use those roads to hasten their armies, but your army along two workers will benefit of those partial roads!
  11. UnforcedError

    UnforcedError Settler

    May 1, 2012
    Budapest, Hungary
    Great guide, thanks :goodjob: I suppose adding a section about different AI behaviours regarding the cease fire option would be great too. Even some non-unit spammers would be really reluctant to end the war even after killing a scout or two... and this becomes really bad if you also happen to lose a warrior during the 'raid'.
  12. Harv

    Harv Emperor

    Dec 16, 2008
    I tried this on an Earth / Monarch / Epic / Roosevelt vs Montezuma. My second city, Baton Rouge, LA, was one turn sooner as a result. My third city, Des Moines, IA, was 5 Turns earlier and connected to the Trade Route. Pierre, SD, was also 5 Turns Earlier.

    The Great Lighthouse was 13 turns earlier. Thumbnails are attached to show the difference. A total of four Worker Steals were accomplished.

    Stealing Workers feels bad, though - but only for a little while.

    Also, I could not get Montezuma to sign Open Borders.

    Attached Files:

  13. Sun Tzu Wu

    Sun Tzu Wu Deity Supporter

    Mar 26, 2007
    Great strategy article on "Slave Economy". Excellent depth of coverage! :goodjob:

    Don't reveal too many Worker stealing tactics. ;-)

    Can you tell us how to keep the AI Civs from escorting their Workers with Archers? Seeing a Worker protected by an Archer can make a Warrior Slaver regret waking up in the morning.

    Sun Tzu Wu
  14. Revent

    Revent Will SIP

    May 5, 2012
    You may like to know that I actually used the ideas from your guide in my Deity Hats game with Augustus at the moment ;)
    Stole 5 workers in total before taking his capital :)
    Very interesting article and very helpful as well.

    Regarding this guide being Settler-Deity, I think the human can build workers faster than (s)he can steal on the lower levels unless (s)he decides to declare on multiple AI at the same time so I believe it is more relevant to the higher difficulties where stealing a worker and choking the AI is a strong advantage and can really get your game going at times.
  15. Manco Capac

    Manco Capac Friday,13 June,I Collapse

    Mar 1, 2010
    Nice, just noticed the recent comments.
    Will definitely complete that guide, but at my pace.
    Anyways, I'm not a player who will lose interest in that game by any soon moment, so I have plenty of time.

    Settler-Deity difference are about what makes the level distinctive to others. And peculiarities.
    For instance, how the AI starts their test of times, with what kind of first project: archer, warrior or worker first. How many turns in average it takes before the worker is out and then you DoW to minimize chance the AI switch definitively to a defensive units and lose the worker. As for peculiarities, monarch level is known for the killer archers that roams as scout for non-Hunting civs and deity has a higher chance that your first worker snatch comes as a pair.

    Indeed, that is a point I didn't cover and did not intend to cover because I met so few of theses cases. Will indeed make a study on this. I think it came along BTS versions. I remember I read (Sisiutil's post) AI's are more prone to protect their workers early in the game. A change along 4*barbs galleys and spearmen appears at the same times as archers.

    True you can't make OB with Monty, but is this necessary with an AI that will come after you in a semi-isolated situation. And consider the good sides: more workers, earlier GLH and tremendously weaker Monty (1.7 versus 0.8). A weak Monty is far less prone to prepare war on his own given your power is far superior than his.
    Thanks for the example. Examples are always welcomed to confirm a theory.

    Already written on my rough sheet about ceasefires and peace treaties. I have made several studies on this aspect and some interesting facts are digged.
    Scout killing doesn't change the power ratio (which is a determining aspect for cheap peaces), but war success change the balance virtually to the winner favor and tends to help peace. But still, if the power ratio is still in the great favor to the AI due to many factors (good starts help them), then peace making is harder.
  16. krikav

    krikav Theorycrafter

    Aug 25, 2011
    I want to see more about the traps!
    How to spot a oppertunity for trapping a worker?
    How to set up a trap?

    Awesome guide, worker-stealing is wonderful! :)
  17. Manco Capac

    Manco Capac Friday,13 June,I Collapse

    Mar 1, 2010
    Hello Krikav (the enthusiastic IIRC),
    the guide is far from finished. Perhaps I'm about 40-50% done. AI behaviour is so extended and I learn new things quite often.
    Yes, the exact manner of actually steal a worker is indeed the meat of the subject. I'll come by this later.
  18. Zx Zero Zx

    Zx Zero Zx Deity

    Apr 23, 2009
    Is that the face the AI gives you when it realizes that you are going to allow their worker to work for the great Quebecua civilization?
  19. Manco Capac

    Manco Capac Friday,13 June,I Collapse

    Mar 1, 2010
    My eyes are burnt irreversibly in front of such shining assumption. Such genius! But I know you wish to keep honing your trolling skills. :o

    Now, can I have true negative comments? :confused:
  20. Zx Zero Zx

    Zx Zero Zx Deity

    Apr 23, 2009
    What! I wasn't trolling though! I was looking at what people posted on your guide, and I saw your avatar. Giggles just looks so disgruntled, if he had a voice I bet he would say "Chh."

    Besides if I wanted to troll you I would say "You can't speak French properly, or English so what can you speak?"

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