Specialist Econ. shadow - Monarch

coanda

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I've been trying to broaden my horizons from "Axe rush, REX to 8-10 cities, spam cottages, beeline steel + rifling + nationalism, burn the world to ashes." It's a very good strategy, and works very well... but it's also not always the best, especially on higher difficulties. To be fair, I sometimes mix it up a little (for example, I might chariot rush! :lol:), but I'm hoping to get a better sense of alternative strategies. To that end, I just tried a specialist economy on Monarch... and totally crashed and burned. Although I blame it all on the map. So I'm trying again, only this time I'm putting it up here on to forum for advice, and I'll be taking it nice and slow. I'll be particularly interested in advice on...

-Tech pattern
-Worker micro
-Which wonders I shoot for, when, and where.
-Which specialists I run, when, and where.
-And most of all, how to keep the gorram thing running at and after Scientific Method.

Monarch difficulty, Epic speed, Fractal, no huts, no random events. Gandhi, who I haven't played in a long time. I'm going to do my level best to suppress the urge to rush anyone I find within 14 spaces of my capital, but if Alex is 10 spaces away and I have copper I make no guarantees!

The start (re-rolled twice to avoid an all-plains capital followed by an almost-all ocean capital):
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I sent my warrior 1 SE and couldn't see any reason not to settle in place, so...
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First-glance thoughts: Coastal and a river, which could speed up trade and expansion. A few solid food resources will help this city get going; 3 grass-hills and a marble means it could have significant early production. I could probably also go GP with this city if I had to, but since the east appears likely to have broad flat grass and floodplains, I'm thinking my GPP city probably goes there (if anything, the challenge is likely to be including enough hills/forests to get initial infrastructure built). I'm liking the marble for wonders (particularly GL, maybe temple of artemis if I go coastal?). Tundra to the south indicates where on the map I am. Wine and spices are nice later, but don't help immediately.

Initial moves: I don't really like founding a religion (I'm lazy that way). Masonry is probably a bit premature, although I'll want to hook up that marble eventually. Because I have no real commerce available to my capital right now, I think I'll go fishing first: fishing -> bronze working -> agriculture -> masonry. After that, I do need to unlock granaries and libraries plus start trading tech. so potentially pottery -> writing -> alphabet (although we'll have to wait and see). Build warrior -> fishing boat -> worker -> fishing boat (chop) -> worker (chop) -> settler (chop/whip?) -> warrior. Initial warrior explores a little bit to the east, then swings north / northwest around the capital to follow the coast up a ways. Second warrior checks out the south, and maybe pushes a little further east before heading back to escort the settler. Nothing really SE-specific here that I'm aware of, so this is just how I'd probably start Gandhi on this map anyways. I'm probably going to play out this part in an hour or so just because I don't see all that much original going on here, and stop when I've got my settler ready or something else comes up unless this is so radical it sparks riots in the streets and threats to firebomb my home (which I'd prefer to avoid, incidentally).

Three final notes. First, this is the first time I've tried attaching a save, so please let me know if it doesn't work. Second, apologies in advance if I get wordy. I try to avoid it, but I warn you that if you follow this you're probably going to learn a lot about how my mind works (or doesn't). Third, thank you so much in advance for the advice, and modest thanks in advance to any flamers for giving me a good chuckle.
 

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Djoums

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Regarding your start (it's a question, not an advice :p) : isn't it better to tech AGR->AH with a worker first, then go with fishing ?
 

coanda

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Right... it's been an interesting start to a game where I wanted to (a) try an economy at which I'm bad and (b) avoid rushing.

7 turns in I meet an archer from Sitting Bull, and on turn 8 I learn that his cultural borders are just 2N of where that archer is - precisely 8 moves from my capital.
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Well maybe I can work around him...
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Nope, that's not gonna fly. Louis sitting in the path, 11 squares from my capital.

Perhaps they'll both have better land to the north, and leave me in peace down here to grab the nicer sites?
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Huh - looks like Suvaryman is also camped out somewhere relatively nearby (north, I'd assume).

Well, perhaps I'll get bronze and go for an axe rush anyways. Or maybe there'll be plenty of great land on the west coast and in the south, and if I block aggressively I can do fine.
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At this point I'm starting to get frightened (that's the start of a big ol' desert at the top-left full of sand and tumbleweed and other such valuable terrain...), so I decided to skip the second workboat and worker in exchange for getting a settler out quickly - at least I'd get two cities. At this point I had to decide - AH or Masonry? Horses could potentially turn this around, but Sitting Bull is a pain to rush, and rushing Louis would just invite SB to settle on that nice land and split my empire in half! Also, if I went AH and came up empty I'd be in near-dire straights, whereas at least with masonry I could try to work the marble to turn it into a 3-city horse-archer rush if I decided to go that way. The other option is to just settle a few cities, hope to grab an early tech lead, and bribe someone to DoW on SB... then pile on and hope to steal his capital. The AIs are all annoyed at one another, so that's something. So I went with the safer bet, Masonry. I'll grab AH right afterwards.

Anyhow, I chopped the settler, then whipped it when it was nearing completion to save a half-dozen turns. Looking at the demographics screen, it looks like probably 4 of the 6 AIs have already settled their second city, so I'm hopeful my settler won't head towards that lovely flood-plain only to get beaten there by SB or Louis. Here's the world at turn 55; I've annotated the map where I'm thinking of settling if I can and the order.
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If I manage to grab all those sites (which will probably take some luck at this point), I should be able to settle 6 solid cities and one or two marginal ones without war. Then I can breathe a small sigh of relief, as I won't be forced to go to early medieval war (although it's an option). Of course, two of my cities will have some serious culture pressure right off the bat, which means chopping out monuments right away... which will slow me down, as will needing to settle at least 4 cities before I can think about wonders at all. I'm open to other strategies, because I'm not exactly delighted with the situation. It's probably more than salvageable, but it's distinctly possible I could end up boxed in to just 3-4 cities if Louis and SB decide to expand my way.

What now? I'm thinking settle city site 2 if possible; chop out a warrior then another settler, then spam workers and warriors, and grab a workboat somewhere in there. Of course if I find horses things might change a bit... :satan:

And of course none of this even gets at the whole point behind my starting this game, which was to try and practice a specialist economy. I'd really appreciate a consult from someone who's a little more confident at that about where to go from here.
 

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coanda

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@Djoums - I contemplated AGR - AH first. In hindsight it might have worked out better, but at the time I was counting worker turns. AGR - AH - FISH - BW takes at least 50 turns; the worker's done in 23, finishes building the two farms possible by turn 36 or so, then has nothing to do but sit on his hands and watch the scouts wander by for the next 14-20 turns. Might as well build the warrior first, then the worker... but once I'm going that far, I felt like I ought to let the city grow to size 2 first, so warrior - (something) - worker. The something could be another warrior until growth, but once I had fishing or bronze working I didn't see a chance popping up to finish that warrior. It was already a slow start, so I certainly didn't want to waste time after I hit size 2 getting going on econ. It could be a partial barracks, but I'd already decided I didn't want to rush if I could avoid it, so that wouldn't help for a while. Monument in capital is worthless. So if I want my capital to have something useful to work on while growing to size 2, I needed a tech that would let it build something; that was fishing. Basically, I was looking Fishing -> BW or BW -> fishing; the first pattern would be warrior-fish boat-worker, and the second worker-fish boat-warrior.
 

vranasm

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I am not sure if you really need advice/consultation (since I am monarch player more the consultation from me, then advice).

Rushing settler looks like good decision and I too would grab the FPs first.

First thing I thought when I saw the capitol was "oracle". Maybe oracle->MC->forge->GE->mids gambit could do you good especially when you want SE economy.

Other city spots I ... well I just don't like them, esp. 3 and 4. I can see why you eventually want 3, but city without food in SE economy? and do you really need close border tensions with 2 neighbors?

I would probably opt for city at furs+winery and 2 FPs, since furs will give you happy cap (and some early commerce) and monarchy if you go oracle is not that far away too for another happy.

Btw rush at SB proved very difficult at monarch for me, since his DS is resource less and has enough str+bonus to totally negate axes. Luis is a bit too far away.

Last thing this map probably is not that great for no-cottage game (not enough food around). And in SE games is usually recommended at least 1 cottage site (or something along the lines I read).
 

barbertje

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@Djoums - I contemplated AGR - AH first. In hindsight it might have worked out better, but at the time I was counting worker turns. AGR - AH - FISH - BW takes at least 50 turns; the worker's done in 23, finishes building the two farms possible by turn 36 or so, then has nothing to do but sit on his hands and watch the scouts wander by for the next 14-20 turns.

I would have gone AG - BW and then fishing. You need 32 turns to farm the corn and climb a hill, that leaves you with only 1 or 2 wasted worker turns. You can than go, worker, warrior, fishing boat (helped by a chop)
 

glen.mack

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If it were me, (I'm rubbish btw, and have a tendency to rush EVERYONE at once, though I'm trying to change this.) I'd gift Louis as much as seems reasonable, get him to friendly or better ASAP, join his religion when he inevitably founds one and do your best to nudge him into war with SB. You'll probably be risking war with SB yourself, but if you do, hopefully the french will join you, seeing as he's more of a threat to them then you are vis-a-vis map position.

Hopefully you can stay out of the war, and the war weakens the eventual winner.

Either way expand north, keep a hefty military presence on your north border, then take out the winner whenever you feel like. (Did I mention I like backstabbing? You should have seen what I did to Queen Elizabeth one time... ahh good memories. But we'll always have Norwich.)

On a historical side note - despite being labeled as cheese-eating surrender monkeys the French have actually WON a higher percentage of wars they've been involved in than any other state on the planet.
 

TheMeInTeam

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Turn 0 strategy:

Settle north or east to block as needed. Get an early library to farm some scientist GPP. Use the tech boost for marble-boosted great library.

If you can block land w/o many cities, you can also consider wonders like oracle, temple of artemis, and so forth.

Unless you find stone mids is probably a mis-play.
 

coanda

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@barbertje - you're probably right that AGR - BW - fish would have been better. I'll have to remember that just because an opening means a few idle worker turns doesn't mean it's necessarily worse... this is certainly one of my weaker games recently and I think going fishing first might have contributed.

@glen.mack - Looking at diplo., apparently everyone is annoyed with SB, and he's annoyed with everyone (except me, with whom he's cautious). So it's possible SB will get himself in a war all on his own and save me the trouble of bribing one up. On the other hand, if that doesn't happen all three fast religions FIDL (a different continent? looking likely at this point), so the religion bonus is unlikely to kick in. The backstab is a definite possibility if I see an opportunity, but right now it just looks unpleasant.

@TMiT - I got off to a bit of a slow start (as barbertje mentioned, AGR first probably would have been better), so I got even more blocked in than I'd hoped. But I've got sites for 5 cities blocked off nicely with my first 3, and don't have any land available to build more. I found stone, but can't get to it (it's up NW along the coast). Oracle's a nice thought... would be really nice to go for civil service as free tech but it might be too late for that. I generally ignore all early wonders except maybe one and focus on land and economy, so I'm not very good at judging my odds of grabbing wonders.
 

coanda

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Played another 55 turns.

Barely got city 2 in time.
Spoiler :


Expanded to three cities, got some workers and fishing boats plus a few warriors for defense / garrison / barb busting, and started focusing on libraries in each city. I moved city 3 1W from where it was - I'm not convinced the new site is any better, but it's on a hill and will keep my border pressure against Louis down (which is nice, given that he's creative). Working one scientist in Delhi now, going to bump up to two as soon as it grows a size.
The situation at turn 110:
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Techs...
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As you might see, I'm basically going straight for aesthetics. I thought about an alternative, but the only tech I still had a use for any time in the near future was pottery... and since I'm planning on keeping production low-ish, focusing on specialists, and keeping use of the whip down, I'm probably not going to need granaries that badly. I'm also almost certainly behind in tech (since I had no good commerce at my capital for a while), so I gambled someone else would grab alphabet and I could swing good trades with aesthetics.

The plan right now: Aesthetics -> Literature, slap down GL and NE in capital. Build 6-10 chariots and go raze that barb city; toss down two cities in the south to bring me up to 5. Farm like crazy, run some science specialists, and start thinking about medieval war.

I'm also still open to a total change of plans and very late massive chariot rush against SB - his capital is on a hill and he has bronze working, but it's entirely possible he has no copper. With his UU worse at holding off chariots, it's possible albeit difficult at this point. I'd probably want at least 15 chariots, and it likely wouldn't be total war - it'd be take the capital, swing south to take Poverty Point, and then peace out. That'd get me to 8 cities once I was done settling, which is a much more comfortable base to be building from... but I'm just not sure whether it's workable at this point. It's also mean passing up on basically all early wonders other than GL, whereas as things stand now I have a decent shot at grabbing at least Parthenon as well.

Also, one last question. Is this a reasonable start to try a SE in? Or am I trying to fit the square peg into the round hole here?
 

Djoums

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It's too late for your chariots, plus SB tends to build a good amount of archers making him difficult to deal with (prot + barracks + totem pole = early snipers :p). You'd need HBR or construction/iron to have a chance.
 

vranasm

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I see the same mistakes as in my games :) and that is...not enough workers... bombay and the other city both work only unimproved tiles on size 3/2, not connected city.

that barb city could bring you some money for razing and that could help you a bit.

As I said earlier I kind of dont think this is SE map... with all those FPs you got I would tech pottery and cottage all those riverside (before teching aesth and even if you dont want cottages you still should tech pottery for granary since it will be needed in both cities at FPs)
 

yanner39

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I thought I'd resurect this month old thread. I was hoping to see a nice walkthrough of the specialist economy or how best to use specialists. I have to agree with vranasm that with that river and FP, I wouldn't even have attempted a SE. I would cottage all the way.

In a recent game, I was faced with the opposite situation. I didn't have a nice commerce site out of my 9 settled cities (7 before 1AD). I got stuck in the northern part of the landmass, my capital was more suited for a GP-Farm (4 foods, no river, alot of brown tiles, a few hills). The only river city had 5 hills so I used it as a production center and built HE there.

All the others had a lot of brown, a few gold mines, beavers, deer, etc, nothing spectacular. The food wasn't that great either, kinda looked like the Ghandi start in this thread.

Like coanda, I built the Glib and NE in my capital/GP-Farm. I didn't have a true commerce city.

I did well in tech, but that's because there were religious splits.

So the question is on a bad map, with little food and little commerce, where does the research come from? My research was fine only because I built the Glib using wood (I had no Marble no one did).

Without food (for specs) and green tiles (for cottages) I'm thinking you need to war and get the good land. Am I right or is there another way?

I read once here that there are no bad starts. :confused:
 
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