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[BTS] Sprint to victory from the early Industrial era

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by Oaq, Apr 14, 2021.

  1. Oaq

    Oaq Chieftain

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    Scenario: emperor difficulty; default settings; random leader; nonexpert player (me).

    The industrial era is getting underway. Steam Power has been discovered. One empire is researching the Railroad; another, the Assembly Line.

    Your empire is second largest, but the largest lies on the other side of the world, while a third empire has built the Sistine Chapel and is starting to pull ahead in culture. A fourth empire runs one or two techs ahead.

    Fortunately, your diplomatic standing is all right, you have access so far to all the resources you need, you have a Great Engineer in reserve, and you are under no immediate threat. Unfortunately, you have no obvious angle toward victory. It seems that either of two opponents is likely to win the space race, and there is not enough time left to invade them both. And that's if the cultural leader fails to achieve victory first.

    Also unfortunately, you have been relying on two or three Wonders soon to be obsolete.

    Can this game still be played? Or is it over: game lost?

    Advice? Is diplomacy needed? A nuclear war? What way forward, please?

    (My scenario is a composite of several playthroughs. I have no single, particular savegame to post to illustrate it. Meanwhile, to clarify, my question is not, what should I have done differently during classical and medieval eras to avoid the dilemma; but rather, here is my dilemma, so how to make the best of it?)
     
  2. krikav

    krikav Theorycrafter

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    I'm not sure about this. :)
    If you have the second largest empire and if you are roughly at tech parity and the global tech is just around steampower/AL, then there should be plenty of time to catch the AIs and prevent them from reaching a victory.

    Rough recipie for success is to reach assembly line (Mainly for infantry), and artillery (for artillery) and then focus civics and tiles worked for maximum production and just get enough of an army out.
    Falling behind in tech is fine after that.

    But ofcourse it's really hard to say without seeing the game in question.
     
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  3. Noble Zarkon

    Noble Zarkon Elite Quattromaster - Emperor (BTS) Super Moderator Hall of Fame Staff Supporter GOTM Staff

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    You might want to try posting a game here and slowly playing through, if it's that late in the game at Emperor and you are consistently not way ahead then there's problem some mistakes you are making early on. The folks here are fantastic at helping players raise their game.
     
  4. Oaq

    Oaq Chieftain

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    I have not tried this but on your advice I believe that I shall.
    Well ... I am reluctant to post a particular game because that invites the good experts here to criticize me for not chopping enough in 2000 B.C. or whatever. Such criticism is welcome but I've already gotten good advice here (much appreciated) regarding the Ancient, Classical and Medieval eras. For today's question, I would prefer criticism specifically of Industrial play if possible.

    One savegame is attached to illustrate. The one imperfectly matches my earlier description, but you asked for it, thanks.

    (If you want to know, this particular game ended with me running out of options and starting a nuclear war, just to see what would happen. That got me nowhere, so I resigned. However, back during Industrial, I never tried the Infantry/Artillery rush you advise. In retrospect, I wish that I had.)
     

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    Last edited: Apr 14, 2021
  5. Oaq

    Oaq Chieftain

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    Thank you, I appreciate it, but this answers a different question than the question I asked.

    To reach deity level is not a goal of mine. To optimize early play to be worthy of an expert's early technique is likewise not a goal. For today, I would rather not deflect back to the early game, for you and your compatriots have already kindly spent time helping me there. Today, I wish to address Industrial play at a level I can handle. For me, that level is emperor. The question is Industrial, please.

    (It's like in chess, if my opening technique still needs improvement, on a given day I still might ask a master a question about the endgame. I might ask about the endgame even if ideal opening technique would have won the game before the endgame had been reached, for the average player seeks the master's advice regarding every stage of the game.)
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2021
  6. krikav

    krikav Theorycrafter

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    Artillery+Infantry is a extremly sturdy combo that more or less stays relevant for the entire game and they are really hard to screw up with.
    There are other combos that you can shoot for too, but most of them are abit more tricky to handle, and alot of them requires that you are at tech partiy or better.

    Tanks+bombers is one of those combos, but that requires flight/radio/industrialism so it's harder.
    But you bombard away cultural defence and cause collateral damage with bombers, then tanks move in and finish the units off and conquer cities.
    This approach runs into problems when the AI gets alot of SAM-infantry and fighters though.

    Regarding the culture AI, you can keep track of when it's about to reach legendary and take a few of those legendary cities before that happends.
    Another trick is to bribe them out of free speech, which slows down them abit.

    The AIs going for space you can handle by making a plan for how to conquer their capital if/when they launch a spaceship, if you do, they have to rebuild the spaceship from scrach.
     
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  7. jnebbe

    jnebbe Warlord

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    Looked at the save

    Empire is in a rough state, lots of cities working unimproved tiles, building a variety of buildings/units which aren't getting you closer to any particular goal (same with scpecialists) and you still have 29 forests waiting to be chopped!

    You need to invade someone, I'd go with sitting bull, not liked by mao and gets you a foothold on the mainland
    Get a few more workers out and chop all those forests immediately, thats a ton of free hammers waiting to be used, and it lets you build more cottages/workshops underneath
    I'd start chopping/whipping out galleons+cannons out of every city, then once I reach assembly line, switch into nationhood and draft each city a few times.

    I'd also whip a workboat in buffalo just so it doesn't have to wait another 10 turns for one to sail all the way south.
     
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  8. sampsa

    sampsa Ghost

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    In chess, I wouldn't tell a beginner to study the openings. Memorizing lines is not useful if the other parts of the game are lacking, so it's better to just get the pieces out and try to take it from there, learning how the game actually works. In Civ4, I have been telling people to focus only on the BCs. There is nothing to memorize really, only some relatively simple concepts to grasp (chop, expand, worker actions) and some relatively complicated concepts to grasp (when to build the granary, :gp:-generation, tech path, grand strategy). If someone is stuck on emperor, it's likely that even the relatively simple concepts are not fully understood and utilized. The BCs really are a very dominant part in this game, because early mistakes compound severely.

    Like @jnebbe (who has improved tremendously in the past few months btw) notes: in your save, you have almost 30 forests to be chopped and you are working unimproved tiles. It's a bit like not getting your pieces out in chess! @krikav gives good advice on what kind of pieces you should be getting out. :) If you are actually planning to win the game, come up with a plan, think how to get there in the most efficient way and do it. There is no point in building say a pikeman here and an aqueduct there.
     
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  9. Oaq

    Oaq Chieftain

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    Well, there is that.

    Okay, most of the experts here prefer to field questions "only on the BCs." Since the advice is gratis, patient, polite and generous, I am in no position to complain! Let me ask about the BCs.
    1. I have tried chopping more earlier on your and others' advice. I do not doubt that that works, and can vaguely see that my own games go better when I do it, but do not understand the reason. Why not some forests and eventual sawmills? Especially for production-oriented cities.
    2. Forests and their eventual sawmills mean :hammers:, which mean buildings, which many of the experts seem to hate. I don't get it. I do not want every building in every city but (a) it looks to me as though most of the buildings deliver some fairly nice bonuses and (b) buildings do not cost upkeep as units do.
    3. Forests deliver health. That is not their main benefit but is it irrelevant? Why, please?
    4. How much military-unit expense per turn is too much? Since I don't know, my instinct is to go for zero or nearly zero expense, though even I can see that that is the wrong answer in many instances.
    5. For what it's worth, I personally find endless military conquest tedious. If that is the only way to perform well at the game then I would probably prefer a lower difficulty level than immortal, where suboptimal, non-world-conquesting performance remains competitive. Still, despite that maximizing the overall outcome of the game and reaching the highest difficulty level are not really goals of mine, but rather understanding the various mechanics and trying the sandbox with them, I remain interested in advice on improving various parts of the game.
    I suppose that point 5 is not a question, but points 1, 2, 3 and 4 are.

    (As earlier stated, I would prefer to avoid the posted savegame as an example. Almost all my savegames have too many experiments embedded in them to explain: the explanations would bore everybody.)
     
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  10. lymond

    lymond Rise Up! (Phoenix Style!) Moderator Hall of Fame Staff

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    Because lumbermills are weak improvements and arrive later. The point of chopping forests is to excel at the early game, which as you know the experts deem essential to success...it's not even debatable.
    It's about opportunity costs. Most buildings are simply not worth it based on the hammer investment compared to say settlers, workers or armies. Units cost upkeep but they are built deliberately for a purpose - to grab more land. You don't really need to build units until you are planning to attack....either an early rush, or a later Cur or Cannon attack.
    Health is generally not a concern. You can usually do fine with connected health resources for a long time. Cities generally don't grow very large for a good portion of the game anyway.
    Well, in many respects, you are not wrong at all in your thinking here. Keeping unit cost low as possible is recommended. That is, until you are ready to attack - whether early or mid-game. The important thing is making most of the opportunity when it comes. It might be close neighbor in the early stages, or pushing mid-game for that mil advantage like bulb-Lib- Curs approach. The key is to have a plan and execute it. Unit cost will obviously grow when you start building an army, but that will pay off in acquisitions. In the meantime, you've been building up an economy.
    The game does not have to be an exercise in endless military conquest. If executed and planned effectively, wars can be short and decisive. You might find that better knowledge on how to execute a build-up and attack may give you more enjoyment of conquest. Regardless, for most victory conditions in the game, more land is better - one way or another. Exception is Culture victory, which can be achieved fine with 6 to 9 cities. (Well, technically 3 cities, but 9 is the ideal number)

    Some games you might execute an early rush..say an axe rush or HA rush...at least to take out an neighbor and grab more good land. Then sit back for quite some time and build up your economy, focus on great person generation, then bulb your way to Lib. Take Military Tradition and pump out a bunch of Curs and take it to another civ or two..or just vassal them.
    That's fine really. However, playing a shadow game from the start can be extremely valuable just to learn some basics. It's not like you play the whole game this way. Just the first 50 to 100 turns. You can also read up on other folks shadow games. Crashmon has a really good one going right now on Monarch.

    Anyway, I understand and appreciate how you want to play this game. However, even with more casual play, getting a better understanding of the basics of early gameplay I think you'll find will increase your enjoyment overall and allow you to branch out in any direction you wish with the "long" game.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2021
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  11. krikav

    krikav Theorycrafter

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    1. Lumbermills are bad. For production oriented cities it's better to rather chop the forest away and buildmines/workshops instead. Only on very specific circumstances some lumbermills are decent.

    2. Buildings are lovely, your reasoning around them are perfecly valid. The key is that almost all buildings are of the type "Invest now and reap a benefit later".
    If the investment now is too steep, and the possible benefits are so low that you only break even either after you or some AI have reached a victory condition, well then it was a very bad idea.

    3. It's not irrelevant, and in some situations where you are very starved for health it makes total sense to save some forests just for the health bonus.
    But most of the time, you can get enough health resources via trades, or by just conquering more land getting more resources outright.

    4. Thats probably the wrong way of looking at it.
    The question should probably be, "whats the minimum military-unit expense per turn that I can get away with, while still having a decisive military advantage?"
    Sometimes you are fighting an upphill battle at a tech disadvantage and might have a huge army and losing alot of gold each turn even at a 0% slider.
    Trying to strive for 0gpt upkeep while teching toward some key military tech is good practice as that allows you to get there sooner, but once you got the techs you need that consideration isn't really relevant or a priority anymore.

    5. I see no problem in your approach to the game. You seem to be self conscious about what you are doing that might hurt your performance.
     
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  12. Nick723

    Nick723 Warlord

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    Just on the military vs other playing styles point.

    At least up to immortal, (I haven’t had much success on deity, I’m sure others have but here the AI bonuses really start to bite in the late game without lots of land) it’s perfectly possible to win the peaceful victory conditions (culture / space / diplo) without ever fighting a war. It might not give the quickest victory dates, but if you don’t care about that (I don’t either - a win’s a win for me) then that’s fine.

    What this does require is a certain level of focus however. For example, getting dogged down into a war may well make your tech position irrecoverable for space, or if you are not thinking about diplo it can ruin your chances there later.
     
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  13. krikav

    krikav Theorycrafter

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    @Nick723 In my view, the issue on imm/deity isn't so much that you won't reach a victory condition yourself, but that the AIs move so much faster that they will get there before you, and thats why active play is more often required (to prevent them).

    But it's really quite random, sometimes you can slog on and win by going to space T350, and sometimes you will lose to a AI blazing to a culture victory T250.
     
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  14. Nick723

    Nick723 Warlord

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    I agree, but I think at least on levels below deity, active play doesn’t have to constitute going to war yourself.

    Eg.
    - build Sistine yourself even if not planning a cultural victory
    - cause wars to ruin diplo victories
    - active to break up wars to prevent domination
    - active to cause wars to prevent a runaway space victory
    etc

    I certainly don’t win all the time (and there is indeed a level of randomness or harder than average maps) but I think with this sort of play you can give yourself a good shot.

    On deity the problem more gets that unless you have enough land, all the AI will win before you, so these tricks aren’t enough and you need to go to war.
     
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  15. Major Tom

    Major Tom Immortal

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    Me too, but wars in industrial era and beyond are 10 times more tedious than striking earlier. Since chess was mentioned, I prefer to start the endgame with a queen more than AI. What’s more, getting a vassal or two early, have a tremendous effect on technology advancement as you can tell them what to tech and then trade for it instantly. You also want Heroic Epic, a handful great generals early for a medic and military academies (why, see next sentence).

    Now for your question:
    I prefer a nuclear assisted UN victory. Efficient and not so tedious. (Kim agree).
    As @krikav mentioned, artillery and infantry is also strong at the current circumstances.

    Random advices:
    1. Remember to beg others for 10 coins before DoW.
    2. If you got The Great Library and have no better to do, slow tech Scientific Method and then in better position to bulb physics/el/fission.
    3. Plan the Heroic Epic, Ironworks and a military academy in the same city for 2 turn tactical nukes.

    I am sure others have many one liners to add.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2021
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  16. Oaq

    Oaq Chieftain

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    Since you mention striking earlier, I can fund only about four cities until Currency and about six cities until Code of Laws. More than the four or six just seem too expensive. This consideration severely limits my early conquests.

    Besides Currency, villages aid the funding, but with early-game civics, villages are slow to develop.

    One gathers from numerous comments by various experts that I am mistaken, that I need more than four or six cities early; but I do not understand. What is my misunderstanding, please?
     
  17. Major Tom

    Major Tom Immortal

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    I suspect your misunderstanding are about economy and expansion is too expensive. A slider on 50% with 10 cities are better than a slider on 100% with 5 cities. Good you priority currency. Building wealth is a good thing. Next best to failgold if iND or marble/stone/org religion. Another independent source is trade routes. Get them going.
     
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  18. coanda

    coanda Emperor

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    I do not know if this is the case for you, but a lot of people get caught up on thinking about slider percent when they need to be thinking about absolute beaker output. If a city is commerce-neutral (it earns as much commerce as it costs in added upkeep), it will be pushing your slider down to 0% while not actually decreasing how many beakers per turn you produce and your research rate stays the same.
     
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  19. Major Tom

    Major Tom Immortal

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    @Oaq
    So you whip and chop maximum settlers and workers early. Whipping is good. Whip your citizens until your face is covered with blood (after all this is ancient times).
     
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  20. lymond

    lymond Rise Up! (Phoenix Style!) Moderator Hall of Fame Staff

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    Some have already responded as such, but my impression is you have a false sense about the state of your economy. It's not so easy to explain the issue or solution in a vacuum. There are several factors in how you expand, improve things, tech, and trade that factors into the state of things. But I'll say this, if you are making gold per turn at 0% research slider then there should be no problem expanding - or conquering. Also, keep in mind that "experts" generally run either 0% or 100% research. (you may have heard mention of that before)

    I'd say there no real finite number on how many cities you should have by..say..1AD. 6 cities may be the general "guideline". I may have that or I may have 15 or 20 cities. Really it all depends on the map and the situation. If there is good land to settle near me - or I have the opportunity to conquer it - I'm going too. Ultimately, more land is better. And if I'm going for a Space Victory, my goal is to be as close to the Domination limit as possible - one way or another.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2021
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