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Social policies - selection order and strategy

Discussion in 'Civ5 - Strategy & Tips' started by regeneration64, May 28, 2012.

  1. regeneration64

    regeneration64 Chieftain

    Joined:
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    I thought I would share my social policy selection order to get the community's thoughts and to see what everyone else chooses throughout their games. I usually play as England (map size, speed, difficulty, other civs etc varies depending on my mood) and have a habit of almost always choosing this order whatever my desired victory...

    1. Liberty: Opener
    2. Liberty: Citizenship
    3. Liberty: Collective Rule
    4. Liberty: Republic
    5. Honor: Opener
    6. Tradition: Opener
    7. Liberty: Meritocracy
    8. Liberty: Representation
    9. Tradition: Obigarchy
    10. Honor: Discipline
    11. Honor: Military Caste
    12. Commerce: Opener
    13. Commerce: Trade Unions
    14. Commerce: Mercantilism
    15. Commerce: Protectionism
    16. Commerce: Naval Tradition
    17. Commerce: Merchant Navy
    18. Autocracy: Opener
    19. Autocracy: Militarism
    20. Autocracy: Populisim
    21. Autocracy: Fascism
    22. Autocracy: Police State
    23. Autocracy: Total War
    There can be some minor variations to the above, for example:

    • If barbarians are not a problem then I will postpone Honor
    • If money is tight then I will start Commerce earlier
    • If I'm not fighting major war(s) around the time of Autocracy then I may choose Order instead
    This appears to work for me as a general "multi-purpose" strategy whereby I get a decent economy going (through Commerce and the free garrisoned units); happiness is seldom a problem (luxury resources and all garrisoned units provide +1); and mid-late game I have little to worry about so can focus on a victory condition.

    Admittedly my games can get drawn out a little longer than the average and a cultural victory is almost out of the question but this seems to keep my Civilization on top of everything.

    Thoughts?

    Do you have a specific selection order for your social policies or does it vary depending on certain factors?
     
  2. KevinMiles90000

    KevinMiles90000 Chieftain

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    social policies are useless unless you are going for a cultural victory. kill everything that moves.
     
  3. joncnunn

    joncnunn Senior Java Wizard Moderator

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    Well, for all victories, I recommend completing the entire liberty tree first before doing anything else.
    A large part of liberty bonus is the free great person from completing it (usually taken in the form of a free GE).

    That's also a lot of policies; frankly you don't need nearly that many unless going cultural.

    For a cultural victory, I find that having the second tree be Piety, the third be Freedom, and the fourth be Tradition tends to work best. (If for some reason you don't have the tech to open Freedom at that point, start Tradition early) The fifth tree is situation dependent, but can often be anything.

    For science; for the second tree sometimes I like Tradition and other times I like Commerce; depends on the map. In that case I do interrupt that tree just to open Rationalism before returning back for RAs.
    Third tree is rationalism. (I like to time the free techs to be either modern era or future era). Anything else won't matter.

    For a domination victory; Honor would be the second tree. It won't really matter after that.
     
  4. Muskie

    Muskie Chieftain

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    I recently started playing again after a near six month break. I don't write down individual social policies when I play usually but in general I go:

    Liberty
    Piety
    Patronage

    Patronage is the most important of all social policies, even if you want to kill everything that moves, having allies, or City States give you units is good. To win militarily you don't need to wipe out the City States, influencing them is a key component to victory in CiV.

    I keep trying Commerce and some of the individual traits are OK, but overall it leaves me disappointed. I like both Order and Freedom. I used to try and resist Piety in order to take Rationalism later on, but generally I need more happiness and more culture is generally always good.

    Autocracy I've never finished. There is incentive to finish off social policies, originally there was not, so cherry picking was more lucrative. Now I tend to cherry pick from Liberty, Piety, and Patronage, then probably finish off those three then one of Order or Freedom and on those rare occasions I go for 5, Commercialism.

    Taking either Honor or Tradition in addition to Liberty is also valid. Tradition then Piety then Patronage tends not to work as well as Liberty then Piety then Patronage in my experience. I tend to play as a peaceful builder and I win diplomatically or space race most commonly.

    If I was trying to win Domination I'm still not sure I would take Honor, if I was Aztecs I would definitely take Honor though. A lot depends on your Civ and your neighbors and how you think you can win quickest peacefully. If you forgo peace from the beginning as an option, it still seems to me Tradition and Liberty are better than Honor if you are only taking one of the early three. Taking two of the early three is a very valid tactic, but I find Piety and even more so Patronage hard to resist. I think I've tried the beeline to Patronage tech strategy before and as with any beeline strategy things can go wrong and being flexible is best.

    I play random maps, with random amounts of barbs, but I like to choose my Civ.

    Cheers,

    PS You have to finish off Piety first, but once finished you can then start Rationalism. That would take some discipline given my love of Patronage. I think I've also attempted two of the later social policies but that can be even tougher...
     
  5. vexing

    vexing knows

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    for a science or diplomatic victory, an optimized order is

    tradition,
    liberty
    settler
    rest of liberty
    rationalism
    freedom
    left side of rationalism


    for a cultural victory a better route is

    tradition, opener
    parts of liberty (settler & representation at least)
    honor opener
    piety
    freedom
    finish liberty,
    finish tradition,
    finish honor


    for a domination victory it depends on difficulty and speed,
    at emperor or lower you can probably get by with warriors and pure honor, at higher difficulties you'll probably want to use liberty and bulb chivalry for a knight uu or bulb education to set up a later cannon rush
     
  6. regeneration64

    regeneration64 Chieftain

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    This was an interesting read. On one of my first ever games of CiV I went down a Liberty - Piety route and won a cultural victory with ease (think it was a huge map on Prince). I must admit I have never really bothered with it since primarily because I have not attempted another cultural victory. That said, I love culture and social policies. Weird huh?

    Patronage... Similarly, I have glossed over this SP but not really seen the need for it yet (perhaps it will come into its own when I finally brave a diplomatic victory). I mainly ally only cultural city states but even if the AI takes patronage I usually have enough cash in the bank to buy out the relevant city states.

    I go for Commerce when I want to kick-start my economy as I can't (social policy wise) see a better way to boost funds. I must admit this is the SP that I could drop for Piety, Patronage or Rationalism but playing as England and as a good all-rounder Commerce seems like the most sensible, if most boring, choice. Commerce is the one I am finding tough to let go.

    I also enjoy playing as peaceful builder through the early and mid game (later on I usually have no choice to swith to building military units or face getting wiped out).

    I think I've made up my mind that finishing Liberty ASAP is the best early game strategy whatever my victory choice (maybe culture aside). I play quite defensively so feel the need to take Obigarchy and Military Caste which work really well together.

    It is interesting to see everyone's different playstyles and SP choices. I think I am going to experiment more in the future and try some drastic changes after Liberty to see how that feels...
     
  7. joshua43214

    joshua43214 Chieftain

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    On the lower difficulties you can get away with cherry picking arround the SP's alot. That said, commerce is seriously underwhelming. I will occasionaly open it up before rationalism opens if I mis-time my culture. Autocracy, Order, or Freedom are far more powerful.

    Finishing liberty quickly nets you a free GP, if you take a GE, you can rush the HS, for another free GE, and rush the PT or ND depending on the game. This is generaly regarded as being the most powerful start when arcing over the top of the tech tree.


    You can't have both. I will sometimes take piety after rationalism once I have finished signing RA's and have all the GS's I need to bulb out stealth. Leveraging RA's into a large tech lead, then taking piety in order to sweep the map works well, but usually only after Autocracy is opened. I seldom have that many extra SP's on a domination victory anyway.

    I almost never take piety. It really comes down a play style difference. Piety gives alot of cheap happiness and culture at the cost of reduced tech. If you are going for a quick kill, piety gets you there quicker.
     
  8. Light Cleric

    Light Cleric ElCee/LC/El Cid

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    I'm curious, does the increased policy cost from taking the Tradition opener not delay the liberty a bit even with the culture from it? I was under the impression the extra cost made Tradition ->Liberty->Settler slower than just Liberty ->Settler, but maybe I did my math wrong :p

    Or is the point that the extra border growth is worth it?
     
  9. CatGarfield

    CatGarfield Chieftain

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    I also like to play with England, I'd say more than half of my games have been with it. But I can't remember many games where I've even opened Commerce. I just find the other SP trees far more useful. You can usually milk the AIs for enough gold to get what you need.

    I usually play epic immortal games on fractal maps, which allows some room for manoeuvre compared to Deity or normal game speed. Plus that makes the sweet longbowmen useful for a longer period. I tend to start and finish liberty early, and I never pick autocracy, even if I go conquering, since piety/honor happiness policies can take care of the happiness issues and I don't like to lose too many units, so buying what's needed usually isn't that big a deal. And by the time my Longbowmen start becoming ineffective, my big fat puppets produce enough gold to buy artillery and eventually stealth bombers enough to wipe the map clean.

    The strategy I take is pretty map dependant, but in an "optimal game", I plough through liberty as fast as I can, open up rationalism asap, usually as my 8th policy, my 7th policy being patronage opener. This is because I don't like to throw too much money at city states, and since I want to tech to education AND machinery early (HS,PT,ND and Longbowmen), I usually can't get to renessaince era before my 7th policy has to be chosen. Rationalism, PT and RAs with everyone except your close neighbors and you don't have to worry about lagging behind in science. 6-8 longbowmen can easily pacify your aggressive neighbors, 10-12 is enough to conquer 3 to 4 neighboring civs on immortal.
     
  10. joncnunn

    joncnunn Senior Java Wizard Moderator

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    Full Liberty tree first is indeed quicker than base Tradition first then Liberty due to increased costs.

    The base tradition border growth is also retroactive. (More precisely if you have a lot of policies first and then open it, you'll spend the next few turns seeing the culture expand one hex per turn per city until it catches up.)

    Personally, I've always wanted the free Great Person ASAP.
     
  11. vexing

    vexing knows

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    it's the border growth; it does slow down your overall policy acquisition, but especially for a science victory your cities need a lot of tiles to be effective at producing parts.

    at 7cpt you could expect a city to pick up about 12 plots over the course of a game without tradition, with tradition it'll pick up 20 plots.

    let's say your capital averages 14 cpt without tradition,
    over 200 turns you'll pick up about 18 tiles,
    with tradition at 17 cpt you'll pick up about 36 tiles over 200 turns. that's twice as many tiles over the course of the game.
     
  12. Tiber4321

    Tiber4321 Chieftain

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    The order of SPs should be entirely dependent on your desired victory condition. For Instance, you don't have Legalism listed, which is essential for cultural and for some science games (Siam).

    Also, no Rationalism or Piety? Your list seems strictly suited for domination. Either one of these trees will help you more than Commerce in just about any type of game.

    For Culture Games, I have found this to be the optimal path
    Liberty (all)
    Piety (all)
    Open Freedom
    Open Tradition
    Fill in these two trees simultaneously in the order that gets your cpt to grow the fastest, but aim to finish Freedom quickly, open legalism when it will give you 4 free museums
    Open and finish Patronage leaving Oligarchy till the very end (if you need this SP in a culture game, you are in big trouble). The sooner you get into the Patronage tree, the sooner you can get one or more cultural CSs, and you can start taking CSs away from your rival AIs.
     
  13. budweiser

    budweiser King of the Beers

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    I started many games as England over the weekend. I did tall builds each time and focused on National Wonders. But, many times the maps werent suited for that opening. I tended to open with Tradition, then some honor and some Liberty and the Commerce opener. Each time I was aiming to open Rationalism asap. A Navigation bulb will open Rationalism for you. However, if you havent met the other continent yet, the usefulness is reduced. The social policy sequence is largely map dependant. One time I ran away with the game, another time, I fell an age behind, but rationalism would have allowed me to catch up. Overall, I think Education and Machinery are want you want asap.
     
  14. The Pilgrim

    The Pilgrim Chieftain

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    Your goal is to unlock Rationalism as quick as possible. But unless you deliberately slow down you culture to the point 7th policy comes only after researching Education+Compass, between finishing Liberty and opening Rationalism you have to choose at least one 'spare' SP. If you take Tradition opener at first you'll not 'waste' a policy, because border expansion is good indeed. There is also no real need to rush to GP, since you won't use it before you finish Education anyway.
    The question is, however, are you really gonna work all these 24154545 tiles? I guess, someone who knows how to play really tall and feed the people will, I don't know how :rolleyes:, so I want Meritocracy bonus asap and will take Commerce opener instead. But that's just me.
     
  15. The Pilgrim

    The Pilgrim Chieftain

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    Then you should have stuck with Liberty. ;)
     
  16. duxup

    duxup Chieftain

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    Turn on raging barbarians then:

    Open Honor.
    Open Liberty and stick with Liberty until I finish it.
    Open Piety and stick with Piety until I finish it.


    I like to have Honor open during raging barbarians to farm them for culture.
     
  17. Calouste

    Calouste Chieftain

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    You don't really need honor unless you want to go large scale barb hunting or have raging barbs on. If you pick Oligarchy (you have opened Tradition anyway), your capital with a garison will do 6-7 points of damage on average to contemporary units, and that's enough to keep the barbs at bay. And you'll get one maintenance free unit per city during peace time.

    But as you say, your starting location need to be suited for Tall/Tradition builds, which means it needs to be fairly juicy, some food resource in the first or second ring, 8 resources or so overall and preferably a river.
     
  18. joncnunn

    joncnunn Senior Java Wizard Moderator

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    No need for the opening of Honor to tell you about new barb encampments with raging barbs on.
    They'll make their locations of the camp known quickly enough.
    (City state requests; and the barbs showing up on your doorstep; easy to backtrack to their source)
     
  19. Tiber4321

    Tiber4321 Chieftain

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    I have a question about the commerce tree. It usefullness seems to limited to a very narrow type of naval game. I adopted it a few times when I was a beginning player, thinking it would really give me a great gold boost, but it never did. It seems to be sort of like Honor, not terrible, but other SPs just give you considerably more, and that seems to be the bottom line. In a game where you may have scarce SPs, you need to get the most out of them. In what scenario would Commerce actually be a better choice than Piety, Rationalism, Freedom, or even Tradition?

    Some have mentioned, and I agree, it would be nice to see the benefits of the individual SP trees be more evened out, so there would be more choices. As it stands, there is no arguement that to complete the Liberty tree right off the bat is the best play. Honor and Commerce just don't compare.
     
  20. joshua43214

    joshua43214 Chieftain

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    Taking the road cost SP from commerce is awsome when the empire covers half the map. Getting extra hapiness from each lux is also awsome when you own half the map. That said, autocracy saves about the same for reduced army when you are fighting on two or more fronts, and the +3 hapiness for court houses is massive when it hits that point. I seldom play on water maps, not sure if the rest of the tree is worth it or not.

    If I have an SP to burn before rationalism I almost always either open tradition or patronage, rarely commerce
     

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