Some beginner questions

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by futurehermit, Apr 3, 2006.

  1. futurehermit

    futurehermit Deity

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    hi all,

    i'm new to civ4 and to the civ series. i've played rts and specifically the "age of" series for the past bunch of years. i used to play turn-based a bunch of years ago, oldies but goodies (defender of the crown, romance of the three kingdoms, etc.).

    anyways, i've learned a lot from reading the forums already and doing the tutorial and stuff, but i still have some specific questions. i'd appreciate any help:

    (p.s., I am currently playing on the 3rd difficulty level. 2 is too easy and 4 is too hard. I play on Terra with the normal size. This gives me usually 7 civs I think. Random climate. I play different civs each game to learn them, but currently am playing with china, not Mao, the other guy. I started off kinda sucking on this level, but now am doing really, really well, except for the questions below...)

    1) Dealing with overcrowding: Is it just a matter of building more cities? Or is it that I have to increase happiness? How do I increase happiness?

    2) What is the best way to siege a city? I found out that swordsman are good for attacking cities, but it's not enough sometimes. Should I get catapults, wear down his defenses as low as possible, and then attack using as many units that counter his as possible? Is there a better way? I generally try to cut off trade to the city by pillaging around it and stuff, esp horses and iron and stuff.

    3) When is the best time to declare war? Sometimes I'm doing pretty well and then get confident and go off to war and then while I'm fighting some of the other civs start to slip ahead of me (or also attack me).

    4) Controlling cities...This imo is the most non-intuitive part of the game. When I open up the city screen I don't really understand what I'm seeing (this would've been nice in the tutorial imo). What's the deal with the different white circles on the different squares around your city? In my specialized cities I want to build specialists. I found that I can click the plus sign beside the specialist I want, but when should I do this and what are the costs/benefits of doing it? What else on this screen is important that I should be paying attention to?

    5) # of cities? When I first started I just kinda made cities wherever and whenever. In my current game, which is my best so far, I have 3 primary cities. My capital I tried to make my great person farm city, and it does pretty well that way. Then I have my production city, which I made by a nice clump of hills for mines, but now it is having trouble getting enough food (there are a lot of non-grassland plains around but I can't build farms on them??? i've researched the tech that gives irrigation and I still can't? any tips?). Finally I have my commerce city which does pretty well that way. I only get specialized buildings and stuff like that. Now there isn't really any more space to build more cities since the other civs are around me (I'm not playing on a huge map, just normal). I'm in a huge war with the mongolians and I captured two of their cities, so I'm working on developing them. Should I have more cities originally than 3 or is that enough and then is it ok to just add them through conquest? Which leads me to my next point...

    6) After conquering a city, when should you implement your own governer and when should you let it burn, and why?

    7) What about really really early combat? "Rushing" in rts terms (maybe also in turn-based?). Is it a good idea? When should you do it? What should you focus on when doing it?

    8) Controlling your borders: When you are at war with someone is there a way to stop them from sneaking past your borders and pillaging stuff? If I have forts and/or units along the border will this stop them from getting past?

    9) Even though I specialized my production city, due to a lack of food (I think), my capital (which is supposed to be great person farm and culture and happiness and stuff) is still better for producing military units. My capital produces units in 1-2 turns while my production city takes 5-6 turns. I try and build all production stuff in production city and non-production stuff in capital (except that my wonders so far have all been built in capital and my first couple great people in capital til i figured out that maybe i should send some to my other cities where appropriate). What do you think I'm doing wrong?

    10) Great people. How can I tell if the great person I got will allow me to build a special building if I send him to a different city (e.g., if i send a guy to the city where i founded daoism he'll build the holy building)? What else should I know about great people?

    Thanks I'm sure I'll have more questions!
     
  2. Perfect_Blue

    Perfect_Blue Yume Senshi

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    Funny name...:)
     
  3. Pantastic

    Pantastic King

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    1. "Overcrowding" just means that once your city gets to a certain size, every new citizen is unhappy and/or unhealthy. You can't affect it at all aside from changing the difficulty level, what you do to combat it is generate health and happiness. Resources, buildings, civics, and religions all have options that help with keeping your cities healthy and happy.

    2. Outside of the early game, you want to take a city by bringing up catapaults to reduce its defenses, then swordsmen/macemen with city raider promotions to take the best defenders, and other units for the rest. If you don't like the odds for your city raiders, attack with some catapaults first for collateral damage. You should not pillage a city that you're going to take, because once you take the city the lands become yours, so you're just making more work for your own workers. Pillage key resources and around cities that you can't/won't take for a long while.

    3. The absolute best time to declare war is when another civ is already in a war, because most of his units will already be off fighting someome else. Your economy will suffer temproarily when you conquer cities, but you should be able to catch back up once they're fully productive. If other civs are attacking you when you declare war, you probably needed more units before attacking. Watch the power graph, if you're low you can expect opponents to attack.

    4. The white circles are the tiles being worked by your citizens, they're the only ones providing food/hammers/commerce to your city. I don't recommend manually managing them early on, use the buttons in the lower right to tell your AI governor what to emphasize. The numbers in the upper left show this city's income and maintenance expense, that can be very key when trying to figure out why you're making/losing money. Each specialist provides some amount of hammers/gold/science/culture to the city, but they don't work a tile. Basically you want to use specialists to get great people or when you have lots of food but little other stuff.

    5. There's not really a set number of cities that's optimal. It's more important not to make too many cities than to worry about not having enough, the maintenance costs for adding more cities will destroy your economy if you're not careful. 3-5 is good at the start, later on you'll want to add more.

    6. Take the city if it has a useful wonder or if it's in a spot where you'd want a city. Burn it if it's not where you want a city, you don't want to pay for a city you don't want. Sometimes you may want to burn all cities that don't have wonders if you want to destroy an opponent but can't afford to keep all of his land. I tend to keep most cities, some people tend to burn most.

    7. If you can afford the cities that you'll take then early war is very worthwhile. Axemen are the default early rush unit, though there are variations. The key to rushing is speed; don't try to wait around for a cool new unit or for an absolutely perfect army, get a lot of units built and run screaming at an opponent before they have a chance to build a lot of units or get high cultural defenses.

    8. Forts are useless in this game and there's no ZOCs. To stop pillagers, you need to have some units to kill the units that try to slip by. Build a few extra units of the appropriate types (spear/pikemen if he uses horses, axe/mace/crossbowmen if melee, that kind of thing) and have them near the border to pick off pillagers. Some people swear by chariots/horse archers/knights because of the speed, with roads I don't have problems using 1 move units.

    9. Your capital will pretty much always be your best city at producing stuff for a good while just because it's oldest and gets extra resources when the map is made, don't worry about that. For your production city, you need enough food to be able to work your mines, you probably just said 'yay hills' and picked a spot that can't feed workers for them. You need enough extra food from farm tiles to be able to keep workers (white circles in the city screens) on the mine tiles.

    10. There's only 2 great person buildings; scientists can build an academy in any city that doesn't have one, and prophets can build a shrine in the holy city of any religion that doesn't have one. You'll see greyed-out icons for the shrines for any religions that don't have one yet on a prophet. Engineers can rush any building (especially useful for wonders) that a city is already building, artists can producs a great work of art (big boost of culture and ends revolt in a newly captured city), merchants can do a trade mission in someome else's city to make a lot of cash.
     
  4. Sisiutil

    Sisiutil All Leader Challenger

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    Welcome to Civ IV and the board! I'll try to help you out as much as I can:
    No, building more cities will not help. Each city retains its population, even if you build a settler (the city just doesn't grow while you build the settler; same if you build a worker). Increasing happiness is the only solution. Improvements such as temples, theatres, and colosseums will help, as do certain Wonders, and increasing the Culture slider.
    Yep, seige weapons (catapult, cannon, artillery) are the key. Take the defenses down to 0% and then suicide the seige weapons for collateral damage. THEN send in your city raiders.

    And why pillage around a city you plan to take? You're just creating work for yourself. I only pillage if I don't intend to capture cities--just harm my opponent's economy.
    Best time to declare war? You really should read some Sun Tzu. ;)

    Seriously, you want to have superiority of forces--in number and strength. You should also be producing even more units to replace the ones you will lose.

    You also want to check the diplomacy situation carefully before declaring war. Who is pleased/friendly with your chosen opponent? Who is pleased/friendly with you? In other words, who could get dragged into the conflict as an ally or enemy? And while you're at it, why not get the other Civs to fight each other instead of doing it yourself? As you may have noticed, a war usually results in a slow down of your tech research, economy, etc., and it takes a while to bounce back. Why not have the AIs struggle with that while you slingshot ahead of them?
    Oh, boy. Where to begin...

    The white circles are the tiles in the city's workable "fat cross" that your population is working, and therefore earning the resources (bread slices for food, hammers for production, coins for commerce) listed in each one. If you build a specialist, you are removing a citizen from one of those tiles and thereby losing its benefits, so that specialist had better be worth it. In particular, make sure you're still producing enough food to support that specialist and the on-going growth of your city.
    The best rule I've come across for beginners is to add cities--either through building or conquest, it doesn't matter--until your tech slider drops to 60%. Then you stop, build your economy, courthouses to reduced maintenance, etc. When you're able to comfortably raise the slider above 60% tech, you can consider adding more cities, if that's what you want to do.

    As for farms, until you get the Biology tech late in the game, they need a source of water. If you have the Civil Service tech, you can build farms on tiles with no water source, but they have to be connected--even if it's several tiles away--to a tile that DOES have a water source: a river or an oasis.
    Totally your choice. Some things to consider:

    If the city has any World Wonders or a religious shrine, definitely keep it.

    If the city is above size 5 and/or working a valuable resource, you should probably keep it.

    If the city is below size 5, is in a lousy location, and/or is too close to one of your cities, raze it.
    Lots of Civ fanatics fight early wars. It's one of my favourite strategies for a game win. You have so few cities that you pretty much have to devote every one of them to producing war units. The goal: early domination. You usually want to wipe out nearby rivals before they get a chance to develop and become a threat.

    It helps to choose a Civ with an awesome early Unique Unit (UU): Mongolia and Rome are my two favourites for this. Others I've heard used are Persia, the Incas, and the Aztecs.
    Forts are pretty much useless. Don't bother with them. And unless you have a unit on every tile on your border, units will get into your territory and pillage.

    This isn't always a bad thing. If you weren't entirely prepared for the war, the AI's preference for pillaging gives you a chance to build up and mobilize your forces.

    The best solution is to send fast-moving units into their territory to capture workers you can later use to fix the damage. And to do some pillaging of their own.
    Sounds like it has to do with (a) the location and (b) the tiles. Around GP farms, you want mostly grassland with farms. Around a production centre, you want hills with mines and forests. Post a couple of screenshots and we can help further.
    Go to the religion screen. It lists the founding city of each religion. That's where you send the Great Prophet to build that religion's shrine.

    What else should you know about great people? Oy! Tell you what, I just wrote up and posted a beginner's strategy guide. I have some tips on GP in there: http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=165632
     
  5. futurehermit

    futurehermit Deity

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    Thanks this is very helpful!!!

    I have one more question: In the early going when you are getting ready to build your 2nd and 3rd cities... If you see some good resources (e.g., copper/iron, horses, elephants, etc.), but they are a fair bit away from your capital, should you risk it and build your new settlement so that your two are far apart (but you ensure you have the good resources) or should you play it safe and build closer by? Thanks!
     
  6. futurehermit

    futurehermit Deity

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    ok, well here's the thing: does it have to be a series of farms that are connected, with the first one touching the water source (i.e., water source-> farm->farm->farm->plains square I want to build a farm on) or can it be different tiles, but still connected by roads (i.e., water source->farm->cottage->mine->plains square I want to build a farm on)? I think i have scenario b, which isn't working for me.

    thks!
     
  7. atreas

    atreas King

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    Farms must be "touching" with at least one of them next to a fresh water source (scenario a). Pre-biology you can't even build the farms otherwise - after biology you can build farms wherever you want, but if they aren't obeying the "scenarion a" rule they will produce 1 food LESS. For example, with "scenario a" a farmed grassland will produce 4 food, while without it it will produce only 3 food.
     
  8. Willem

    Willem Deity

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    That's pretty much up to you. You can build them far apart then fill in the territory between later. But by doing so, you take the risk that another civ or a barbarian will plop a city down and cut you off. Also, your city maintenance will be somewhat higher for that city since distance from the capital is a factor.
     
  9. unhealthyman

    unhealthyman Chieftain

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    Indeed, early expansion is a pretty decent tactic, but dont make the mistake I made last game of making 5 cities so far apart that the maintenance costs make you go broke :confused: It can be clever to grab a large chunk of land or an important resource early on, but the jokes on you when your workers start to disband because you cant pay them...

    Also, if you are having a problem with cities hitting early unhappiness/unhealthyness caps, then slavery them down a couple - a size 10 city with a couple of unhappy people is just as useful as a size 7 city with no unhappy people... I was scared of slavery at first (seems counter-intuitive to kill you own people,) but its pretty handy sometimes early in the game. (Especially as you should adopt it whenever you can as it is no maintenance, so it can actually save you a gold or 2 early in the game if you change to it.)
     
  10. Pantastic

    Pantastic King

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    Absolutely secure a combat resource that you'll need for your early wars but don't worry as much about the other. If I saw both copper and horses, for example, I'd get the copper right away and be ready to axe rush to take the horses if need be. Other resources just depend; Ivory i'd usually try to grab (it both gives you a nice unit and a luxury), but there's no need to spread out too much trying to get every resource in sight.

    And the trick with farms is that you need a chain of farms to a water source, they can't use other improvements. If your city is build on flat land then the city itself counts as a farm for spreading water, if it's on a hill it doesn't (may not count if it's on a desert, don't think I've checked).
     
  11. VirtualM

    VirtualM Chieftain

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    If it's the only copper/iron resource around, then it will be most likely worth it. If the distance is really significant, you may want to consider to build your city on top of the resource instead of beside it. By doing so, you'll have some extra protection against pillaging.
     
  12. futurehermit

    futurehermit Deity

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    Thks everyone, these are great tips! Much appreciated.

    A couple more questions (related to slavery):

    1) How do you "whip away some civilians" to lower unhappiness due to overcrowding?

    2) On what developments should you sacrifice population to build? Wonders? So far I never use it, but I suspect it has its uses. Should you only do it to massproduce units if someone unsuspectedly declares war on you and comes at you with lots of units? Are there other times?

    Oh, one other question!

    3) When you have a pile of cash, what should you spend it on? Unit upgrades is obvious I think, but what else can you buy in order to make it easier to knock heads and develop your cities? I have quite a good commerce city and it made me lots of money, but then I was like, "ok, so what do I spend it on though?"

    Thanks!
     
  13. senwiz

    senwiz Prince

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    If you are in slavery, go into the city screen of the offending city. In the middle lower right corner, you will see an up arrow (It's near the lower left, where the current production is stated. Confusing, I know) Press the up arrow, and the population should decrease, with your unhappy citizens going buh bye.

    You can't sacrifice population to build wonders, only buildings, military units, workers, and such.

    If you have a pile of cash...Kudos to you. ;) I would think about upgrading your units. I always upgrade my naval units first, since that is my usual mode of invasion, i.e. galleys to Galleons to transports. ;)
     
  14. senwiz

    senwiz Prince

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  15. cabert

    cabert Big mouth

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    first you don't really whip away pop to lower unhappiness, you get a +1 unhappiness from whipping. SO best use is often for building things that give you happiness bonus (theater, temple, marketplace, a unit if you're under Hereditary Rule) so you are even on unhappiness;
    with less pop, you also have less overcrowding unhappiness, so one common use is pop-rushing when it costs at least 2 pop, so you have +1 unhappiness from whip and -2 unhappiness from overcrowding, making a total of -1, one less red guy.

    It's used for many good reasons :
    - lack of hammers (GP farm have plenty food, but few hammers)
    - starving citizens (don't let them die for no reason, whip them for a unit!)
    - revolting citizens (don't let them sit idle eating away the food!)
    - hurry (unguarded/lightly guarded city under attack, wonder, ...)


    How to do it :
    - you must be under slavery (need BW for this)
    - the city must not be revolting
    - in the city screen you've got 2 arrows above all the governor icons. One is cash-rushing (need universal suffrage), the other is pop-rushing. With the mouse over the arrow, you will see how much pop the current building would require to finish. You can only use up to half the pop of the city (=>for a size 4 or 5 city, you can only use 2 pop). If the arrow is red, it's possible and you do by just clicking on it. If it's grey you can't (passing over the mouse will tell why, look for the red text).



    Maybe you should push back the slider to 100% science for a few turns ;)

    money can be used for :
    - maintenance (if you don't have maintenance cost, it's time to expand)
    - upgrading (very expensive!!!) units
    - trading with AIs
    - $-rushing (same as pop rushing but you spend money and not pop, you need to be under universal suffrage)
     
  16. cabert

    cabert Big mouth

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    Yes you can. It's just SOOOO expensive that, well, you can't:eek: .
     
  17. Pantastic

    Pantastic King

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    You can sacrifice population to finish wonders, it's just that unless you're close to done it would take way too many people for you to actually do it. Mouseover the icon sometime when you've got one building. I've done this to finish off a wonder quickly before.

    As far as money goes, I mainly use money to keep my science slider at 100% in the early game, when I get up to gunpowder units then I'll use a lot for upgrades (especially upgrading city raider units to riflemen/infantry). Very late in the game you can cash-rush, but I've usually won or gotton bored with a game by then.
     
  18. Sisiutil

    Sisiutil All Leader Challenger

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    Extra cash is good. I find it's easier and cheaper by mid-game to have my production cities pump out modern units than to upgrade the old ones. I prefer spending extra cash to push up the tech slider instead.

    BUT I always try to make sure by mid-late game that I have some cash on hand--usually 500 or so, minimum. This is because most of my cities end up being defended by a small number of obsolete units. If I get invaded for some reason, this allows me to upgrade the defensive units in the area being attacked to the latest and greatest.

    I'm sure the AI sees those older units and can't resist the temptation. A couple of times the AI has invaded near a city of mine protected by Axemen and Horse Archers, only to find its Macemen and Knights facing Riflemen and Cavalry on the next turn. Kind of feels like I sucker-punched the AI at that point. :lol:
     
  19. cabert

    cabert Big mouth

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    i'm rather often (should pay more attention) caught with my pants down, a few obsolete units as city garison. That's why i most of the time stay in slavery. Rush building a longbowman/musketman/rifleman/whatever has saved my city more often than not. Of course, i lost 2/3 pop this way, but the backstabbing AI usually had to face my counterattack very soon after that.
     
  20. Sisiutil

    Sisiutil All Leader Challenger

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    I've had to do this too, but with the AI's predilection for pillaging, I find I usually have a couple of extra turns to spend in anarchy and then whip a unit.
     

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