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Spies and Corporations - Utterly Useless?

Discussion in 'Civ4 - General Discussions' started by GarethBeaumains, Sep 9, 2009.

  1. gnome

    gnome Warlord

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    A question of reciprocal behavior...

    It was mentioned before that if the player used spying as much as the AI does, they'd be perpetually hated by all the AI's. Does the AI use spying against other AI's? If so, do they respond diplomatically the same way if they get caught?

    The answers to those questions could speak to a serious difference between the way the AI treats a player vs. another AI, with potentially frustrating results. I am reminded of earlier versions of Civ, where the other Civ's had zero tolerance against trespassing, but the AI would constantly trespass against the human player. You either had to let it happen or declare war, and the AI trespassed too often to maintain peaceful relations. It limited the play styles that were available. That's why I like how in Civ4 you have to decare war to trespass with an army.
     
  2. Rowie007

    Rowie007 Chieftain

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    Personally, I don't find spies very useful (corporations is another matter however). Not that the effects of the missions are of no benefit, but that the benefit rarely seems to be worth the cost of generating all those EPs instead of more research or gold.

    The AI sabotages my improvements or poisons water - sabotage improvement is usually fixed within 1-2 turns once I have railroads everywhere to mobilise workers to rebuild, and poison water wears off pretty quickly and the pop lost (if any) grows back.

    Perhaps if sabotaged improvements couldn't be rebuilt for a period this would make it more useful.

    Also, limiting the amount of free information would make all the passive events better. Right now I can walk up to any city and see all the units inside - if this information was hidden from the player suddenly I can see a great benefit from having a spy! And while it's nice to see what tech my opponent is researching (especially when racing for religions) because I can already see what techs they have and can research this information is not as useful as it would otherwise be.

    Rohan
     
  3. Willem

    Willem Deity

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    Yes, but Sid's only gives .5 food.

    It doesn't require obscure maps of any sort. I play Huge Hemispheres with 2 hemispheres, which is basically the same as Continents, and land resources are always more common than seafood. My empire might have up to 7 Corn, plus some Rice and Wheat, while I'll only have a few seafood resources.

    I can easily acquire 5 Corn and other grains through trading. I'm not sure what game you're playing but your information is not at all accurate. I've never had a situation where Sid's was superior in any way.
     
  4. Iranon

    Iranon Deity Whipping Boy

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    Playing on Shuffle and similar scripts that pick between standard map types, I find Sushi more attractive in the majority of games. It is available earlier, allows a higher food influx on most common maps and also provides culture.

    However, there could be a reason to use Cereal Mills even if it provides less food: it is more efficient. If we want a set amount of additional food rather than however much we can get (e.g. we are limited by growth caps or have no useful outlet beyond working good tiles without farms thanks to our civic combination), we pay less maintenance than with Sushi.

    If the map is grain-heavy and we want volume, Sushi is not attractive anyway. However here Cereal Mills has to compete with Standard Ethanol.
    That one provides a respectable direct science output, and not inflating population means we a) struggle less against growth caps b) do not need to tweak our civic around spending excess food c) do not pay inflated corporation maintenance due to inflated city sizes.
     
  5. Silu

    Silu Deity

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    Yes, and yes.
     
  6. troytheface

    troytheface Deity

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    "If you are that far ahead, I think the problem is the difficulty level, not the corporate or espionage system."

    that is what i saw reading the initial post.
     
  7. MrCynical

    MrCynical Deity

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    The key point is that Sushi not only processes an extra resource, but the seafood is usually a lot more common than corn/wheat. It's true that Sushi is less efficient than Cereals; it'll cost more gold for X amount of food. However I find Sushi has a higher maximum amount of food available of most maps, which is what I tend to be most interested in. In the corporation phase of the game I generally have more gold than I know what to do with, and I want to convert that into as much science/hammers as possible.

    Doesn't hemispheres have one hemisphere composed of small islands? I'd be surprised if there was more grain than seafood in that situation. If it does resemble the continents script (i.e. two large continents with a compact coastline and no islands) then it wouldn't be that surprising for Cereals to come out ahead. Which corporation is better is largely dependent on the amount of coastline present. Archipelago almost always favours Sushi, Pangaea usually favours Cereals.

    Hang on - you're founding both the food corporations? I'm a bit dubious of this since you're not only burning an extra great person, you also can't stack the corporations in the Wall Street city. OK, that only costs you a few gold per city, but it reduces one of the main arguments for Cereals (i.e. it's cheaper for a given amount of food). Sushi has the advantage of flexibility - I only need the one corporation for both food and culture.

    Finally, though it's only a small point, Sushi appears one tech earlier than Cereals. Not a major point, but I include it for completeness.
     
  8. Fasulas

    Fasulas Chieftain

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    I am the kind of player that denies most of the open borders requests from AI (i usually have nothing to gain from it). SO, spies are very importa nt for me, as I use them for scouting the map.

    I also try to use free market for my empires, and I always use corporations. My favorites are Creative Cons and Sushi. With free market and corporations you can support a big empire that would need state property otherwise.
     
  9. Lemon Merchant

    Lemon Merchant Forum Buzzkill Super Moderator

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    The reason that I use Sushi and Mining together frequently, and prefer the combination is simply that:

    1. Sushi is available earlier.
    2. Sushi and Standard Ethanol aren't mutually exclusive, where Cereal Mills uses a resource that Ethanol needs, and I find that I will often need Ethanol if I can't expand enough to find oil.
    3. I sometimes need the culture along with the food.

    As a few people have mentioned, the map can influence the choice of which food corp to use quite heavily. Obviously, if there is no seafood, it's pretty pointless to build Sid's.

    @MrCynical: From the "Credit where credit is due." Department:

    I want to take this little moment to publicly thank you for "The Power of Sushi". You are one of the two people on CFC who is about 90% responsible (you share that distinction with TMIT) for getting me out of the mess I was in on Noble, and getting me to Prince, and hopefully beyond.

    So, this little Lemon is giving you her biggest smile :)D), and a big, big "Thank You". :goodjob:
     
  10. Silu

    Silu Deity

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    So you have a lot of trade routes, but don't open borders with other Civs? International trade routes give much more :commerce: than domestic, intercontinental ones even more. You'd have a lot more cash flowing in if you opened those borders. They also give diplo bonuses, and they don't have any downsides in most situations. Any particular reason you don't open them?
     
  11. Fasulas

    Fasulas Chieftain

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    I am not 100% sure that international trade and intercontinental trade has anything to do with open borders. I might be mistaking, but if this was true, how comes that i declare war to a guy that i dont have open borders with, and the gold income suddenly decreases ? I repeat i do NOT know this for sure, but i feel that trade is not influenced by open borders treaties.
    About the diplo bonuses, that i know, but i dont like making happy the bad mannered AI's who backstab you on the first opportunity. If you have an army big enough to fight the strongest AI on the map, you lower the chances of any AI's declaring war to you more than you lower them by trying to work a good diplo.
     
  12. Silu

    Silu Deity

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    You do need open borders to get international trade routes with the Civ in question. Declaring war can disrupt your trading routes to a third Civ if the only route to that Civ is through the Civ you declared war on. It's quite weird that you need OB with the target, but not any possible Civs between you and him (just a possible route). War disrupts these "phantom routes" though.
     
  13. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    First of all, my bad on the 3/4 thing, I'd not used cereal in a while. Nevertheless, my point stands - you need fewer resources and therefore fewer trades to hit the same food.

    Aside from that, there's always the possibility that someone beats you to sushi and this is the only food corp remaining!

    But in most situations one option is going to be better than the other, and frequently sushi is going to be better than mills. When I said "worth a look", i meant that, not that one should use mills, just that they should think about which one will give a higher yield for a moment. Sometimes maps do funny things.

    Iranon pointed out a couple other things that can favor mills although I generally agree that sushi is better in most cases where there is meaningful seafood.
     
  14. Willem

    Willem Deity

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    Two hemispheres is very much the same as Continents. It does have some islands but nothing really that major. Mainly it's just 2 large landmasses. So with that setup, I've never seen a situation where Sid's is better.

    If I can then yes I will. I'll use Sushi for my border cities because of the culture and Cereal Mills in my interior when I want to have more food.
     
  15. UWHabs

    UWHabs Deity

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    It also depends on map size. On normal continents maps, in general sushi > cereals, even on a standard continents map. But as the maps get bigger, you get more internal land and less coastline (since internal space is quadratic wrt map size, and coastline is only linear for all you mathies out there), so playing huge, in general, cereals will be better.
     
  16. Buck_Nekkid

    Buck_Nekkid Chieftain

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    I can see how spies can be very effective in coordination with your strategy, IF you have the patience to use them. I found them annoying as hell, so I turned off espionage a long time ago, and I've never missed it.

    Love corps., tho.
     
  17. PieceOfMind

    PieceOfMind Drill IV Defender Retired Moderator

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    Excellent post. As always, very informative, TMIT. :goodjob:

    Not sure if this was cleared up but the reason for confusing the 0.75 with one was probably that you play a smaller than normal mapsize usually. I assume small maps might have 1.00 per resource for Sushi...

    Good point. I distinctly remember in the early days of BtS that when I'd looked at all the Corporations I didn't like the sound of Sid's Sushi very much compared with Cereal Mills, because I didn't like the idea of paying gold to produce mostly culture and just a little bit of food. When the article for the power of Sushi popped up the corp became a lot more popular and I learned it was because seafood was (apparently) more frequent enough to warrant the slight reduction in efficiency compared with Cereal Mills.

    Also on larger maps the food bonus per resource diminishes and I'm not sure if the maintenance due to each additional resource increases at the same rate. So going back to the point that Iranon made earlier about Cereal Mills being more efficient per resource, I wonder if this would more often than not tip it ahead of Sushi, as Willem has been insisting. I've never done any proper statistical or quantitative analysis except generate a few huge maps a couple of times and count the resources. Definitely the mapscript used is important as I noticed some have a lot more seafood than others.
     
  18. Deckhand

    Deckhand Procrastination at its finest GOTM Staff

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    It may be that "the target" (the civ you are trading with) needs to have open borders with the "phantom routes" civs. This is speculation, just rationalization that it isn't really weird. Trade is two way and the other civ's caravans are doing most of the traveling. :)
     
  19. bestsss

    bestsss Emperor

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    Actually the 3rd civ must be in war as well w/ the civilization the routes pass through. "Open Borders" are necessary with the target civ to trade with. Trade routes are prevented only if both civ have war w/ the 3rd one.
     

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