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Stalling in mid-game at Noble

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by vorlon_mi, Nov 27, 2015.

  1. vorlon_mi

    vorlon_mi Just One More Turn

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    OK, I've played a bunch of Civ3, dabbled with Civ5 G&K, and am coming back to Civ4 BTS to flex some different muscles.

    I do a decent job of expanding, and have throttled my urge to expand to avoid crashing my economy. Overall, though, I keep stalling out in the late Renaissance (1400-1700 AD) where one or more AI have grown as large as I have. And they all seem to be pleased with one another, so they aren't starting any wars. WTH?

    Here's an example save from my current game as the Inca. I used the Quechas to grab a bunch of land, and have made nice with Gilgamesh to my west. In trying to take out China in the southeast, I wasn't paying close enough attention and he peace-vassaled to Gilgamesh. I've been trying to get Charlemagne to declare on me, since he doesn't follow the AP religion, and then bribe Sumeria to attack him. No joy. Even when I picked a fight with Netherlands (vassal of HRE), I couldn't get Sumeria to join the fight.

    Do I need to commit to a major war, and engage Willem & Charlie?
    Should I shift my forces to the northeast, since Lincoln just made a demand of gold from me?
    How do I pull out of the pack? I've got lots of religions to spread, so I could go for culture.
     

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  2. Anysense

    Anysense Chieftain

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    Fiest develop your empire. Warmongering here makes no sense at all.
     
  3. vorlon_mi

    vorlon_mi Just One More Turn

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    Please elaborate. I've got all my resources developed and connected. I've built a lot of cottages, and I can't build anything on deserts.

    Are you talking about city improvements, or terrain improvements?
     
  4. Gwynnja

    Gwynnja Chieftain

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    You'd do better to start a new game, post some screen shots, and show what you're doing and more importantly why you're doing it.
     
  5. Neinet

    Neinet Chieftain

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    There are a couple things. First of all, you have avoid growth turned on in a bunch of your cities, and I can't really find a potential reason for it. Let's take your capitol for example
    Civ4ScreenShot0007.JPG

    You're only size 6 when you have plenty of other tiles available to work. This is far from the only case of that. This is probably one of the biggest, if not the biggest factor in the slowdown.

    Additionally, you have a lot of useless buildings in your cities. Around half your cities have walls for example, which is a building that doesn't get much use except in specific circumstances. For another example, you've spent 300 production on stables yet only have built 10 war elephants. It'd be better to have 15 war elephants than 10 war elephants with 2 more experience.

    You have a really unclear focus for the future. You should decide whether you want to go to war or stay peaceful. If you want to stay peaceful, grow cities and build things like universities in large cities. If you want to go to war in the near future, skip that and go for an army. Trying to do too many things at once leads to failure.

    Speaking of trying to do too many things at once, you have a spy in each city and a 10% espionage rate. I know that the 10% espionage rate is done by the AIs, but it's not really a good strategy. Espionage has its uses, you're not getting anything comparable to what you put into it back.

    You also seem to have switched out slavery for caste system. However, you're not using caste system. Slavery is probably one of the best civics to use, so I'd stay in it for a while longer.

    Back to more of your immediate situation, I would definitely NOT pick a fight. Instead, focus on getting your economy in shape. You have a lot of good land that you aren't using due to small cities, and you're paying a large amount of money in military maintenance for a nearly obsolete army.
     
  6. Erlend78

    Erlend78 Chieftain

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    Did you move your settler? Very crappy start if you just had one wheat without freshwater. I would have regenerated the map. Do you have the start save?

    As pointed out your Capital is way to small, with 6 pop at 1710. You are way behind research.
     
  7. Anysense

    Anysense Chieftain

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    No matter how many tiles are improved if they are not used. Huamanga is the only city in relatively good state. Others severely mismanaged. As mentioned above you have too many buildings which you don't need. For some reason you halted growth, thus most of your cities are just lvl 6 or below.

    edit: I have just done some simple calculations.
    14 monasteries cost 14*60=840 :hammers:
    9 temples cost 9*80=720 :hammers:
    7 markets cost 7*150=1050 :hammers:
    9 walls cost 9*25=225 :hammers:
    All in all you spent 2835 :hammers: on these useless buildings. Instead you could build [2835/60]=47 war elephants and stomp your enemies.
     
  8. Jivilov

    Jivilov Chieftain

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    Vorlon, unless mine eyes deceive me your capital doesn't even have a granary, perhaps the most vital improvement for your capital and other primary cities. And you inverted the natural rule for infrastructure: cottages belong on grasslands and farms on plains. Unfortunately Cuzco is so food-poor even farming your grasslands will only give it a food surplus of 8, enough for only 4 more citizens.

    Grizzled veterans of civ will tell you that food is the most important resource, especially in the beginning. If your starting position is that bad you should've (retroactively) taken Erlend's advice by regenerating the map immediately instead of playing out a hopelessly lost position.

    Edit: Oops, forgot the city center with its 2 free food. Cuzco can grow to size 11, which doesn't exactly qualify as a GP farm.
     
  9. Gumbolt

    Gumbolt Phoenix Rising

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    I would of expected much larger cities by 1710ad. Avoid growth is not helping at all.

    Look at Shanghai. You captured this almost 1000 years ago . it has 4 sea food resources and stuck at size 6. You are not even working all the food resources there. This should be size 14-15 by now.

    Your capital looks horrible. 1 food resource. Terrible starting location. I would of moved the capital by now.

    I think you also need to look at great people generation. Sure the land is poor but only 5 by 1710ad is not great. Most of these probably as you built some wonders.

    No idea where that stack of 15 units or is going. With LB about it wont be much use.

    With the limited land here I would not of spammed some of these poor cities here. Vilcabamba with 2 food resources could of been a great place for 9-10 cottages.

    The reality is by 1710ad you should be much further ahead in tech than you are now. Game is still winnable with land you have. With 15 cities you could easily whip cuirs here. Trouble is you lack the techs. Looks like you are heading for cannons and rifles.
     
  10. Colon

    Colon Chieftain

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    The 13 golds/turn you're spending to keep that big stack in Sumeria isn't going to help. I have the feeling you settled a couple of cities simply to bring every single tile inside your borders within city radius, which isn't necessary. You should avoid settling cities with only 2 tiles in between.

    I also used have a lot of problems with my economy in the mid-game until I learned to specialise cities. Read about it here: http://guides.gamepressure.com/sidmeierscivilization4/guide.asp?ID=603
    Like you don't need to cover every single tile, you also don't need to build every single building in every city.
     
  11. vorlon_mi

    vorlon_mi Just One More Turn

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    Thanks for the feedback; this is what I was hoping for.

    I've tried to be thoughtful in making some decisions, but one can still make a bunch of mistakes if following the wrong thoughts.

    Overall: my favorite victory condition is space race. I've won with domination and conquest before, but my default is usually to play for space. I do realize that one must keep a sufficient military to deter aggression, and that invasions are sometimes needed to achieve other goals.

    Dumb Mistakes: Turning on "avoid growth" is not something I do regularly. Going back and not turning it off was a dumb mistake (see happiness below). Either I missed the granary in my capital (dumb), or it was sabotaged and I forgot to rebuild it (also dumb).

    Walls: I try to only build walls on my frontier in the early game, or to defend cities that have been attacked. I have been attacked in this game, but I may have too many of them.

    Monasteries: I build them for the science, mostly. They give 10% boost (half a library), are available earlier than libraries, and let me spread the AP religion faster than the lazy AI are spreading it to me. You make a fair point, that I may have built too many. I do always build one monastery of each non-AP religion that gets spread to me, so that I can add a second religion to my cities when I eventually go to Free Religion, on my own terms.

    Army Abroad: I had read here that it is easier to bribe an AI to declare war on another AI, if you have already started the war. My enemy is the HRE, but I don't share a border with them. I really wanted Sumeria to start fighting them, but Gilgamesh was not interested. My goal was to go up to cowardly Netherlands (he lost one city after Charlemagne attacked, and capitulated to him); start a war by taking a city, and then bribe Sumeria to join in. I could withdraw back to my territory, while all the fighting took place on Sumerian land. Alas, my plan failed. Sumeria would not declare, so I sued for peace.

    Happiness: This was a challenge for me in the medieval period. As my cities grew to size 6 or 7, I didn't have enough happiness resources to keep them from going red. I built temples to get the happy faces. It didn't seem to make sense to grow them even larger, if the citizens weren't going to work. I throttled my growth, but did not remember to un-throttle once I had the happiness situation more controlled. Are temples not as cost-effective for providing happiness, compared with coliseums? Why not build temples? And markets are far from useless ... they pay for themselves, especially in generating commerce long-term and providing merchant specialist slots.

    City Placement: Yes, I have planted a few cities just to fill the map. Which brings up a couple questions:
    • I sometimes need to plop another city down, to get a seafood resource. Perhaps I should have razed the conquered city, if it's not optimal?
    • I get that resources which are in my empire, and improved, will benefit the empire even if a city is not working them. But cottages will not grow into hamlets or towns, unless a city is working them. Spare grassland does me little good, right?
    • Is it not a net benefit to my empire to have some small cities (size 4-6)? Do they not generate commerce, which leads to science and gold, at a net profit?
     
  12. vorlon_mi

    vorlon_mi Just One More Turn

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    Regarding espionage -- this may be my emotions overriding my logic. I just *hate* when someone poisons my water supply or steals a technology :mad: and I just *love* getting the message, "We stumbled upon an enemy spy near XXX city." :D

    So, as a defensive measure, I put one garrison troop and one spy in each city, and put a little bit of commerce towards espionage points, to deter the AI. I've had them conduct missions all over the map, so I haven't been able to predict where they will try next. I suppose that if the AI don't march very far across my borders, then I only need defensive spies in my border cities, and any others should be sent on missions into foreign territory.
     
  13. Htadus

    Htadus A and L's dad

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    This depends on what you do with it? First, if the maintenance from building them must be offset by the gain. A new single tile island city with GLH boost will instantly give you a boost as long as there are enough cities to trade with. A city with 2 jungle gems and jungle rice with -7 health will be a grag for a long time unless you send an army of workers to get it cleaned up. But once it is up it can be a great city. It is all in timing and how well and how fast you develop the map?
     
  14. Neinet

    Neinet Chieftain

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    You don't lose that much in most situations when your water's poisoned. Sometimes you lose a population or two, but everything goes back to normal after a few turns. Stolen technologies don't really harm you that much at all, as it is only slightly less expensive than the AIs deciding to research them.

    You're losing around 50 science a turn because of your espionage rate, and 10 gold a turn on maintaining the spies in your cities. That adds up to almost 1/4 of your research. That is really worth it. If someone is doing tons of espionage missions on you, the best way of dealing with it is just to focus espionage on them and do a counterespionage mission every 10 turns, and this is only necessary in extreme situations.
     
  15. DrCron

    DrCron Chieftain

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    Vorlon, I haven't seen the game (I'm not home right now), but judging by your last comment I have a couple of suggestions:

    - Improve your diplomacy. As a general rule you should always be doing more offensive than defensive wars (that's why everyone's telling you that walls are useless). If the AI DOWs you when you weren't ready it usually means you are not keeping an eye on diplomacy, or need to handle it better. Are you using religion and trades to maintain the peace with the CIVs you want? Is your military strong enough so you don't look like an easy pray? You should always be considering this stuff.

    - The happiness problem you were having should be solved by whipping (hence staying on slavery for longer). If you kill 2 citizens with the whip and only 1 of them gets angry for 10 turns, you have the happiness issue solved unless you grow 2 new citizens in less than 10 turns (if that's happening, just put some specialists on your library so you don't grow so fast, also... great scientist generation is good).

    - Bribing: on noble you really shouldn't need it. If you tech faster and focus your army more, you'll just crush everyone without needing any help. If your main competitor doesn't share a border with you, invade someone else, vassal them, get a huge experienced army, and then go and destroy them when your land is close enough (and you have 1-2 vassals to help).

    - The only buildings you should have in every city are granary and library. Monasteries are ok, but keep in mind they become obsolete with Scientific Method (and if you play your commerce correctly, your tech should get there rather soon). Unless you are going for a cultural victory you hardly ever need temples. After calendar you should have enough luxury resources, and Monarchy or Representation also help.

    - Barracks should be built only in cities with good production, which will be the ones building units. Stables? You might win the game building only one in your Heroic Epic city, or maybe not even that one. If you have time/production to build more, that's ok, but they should be built only in the cities with high production.

    - Someone said you are running Caste System. Unless you are a spiritural leader or want to play an old school specialist economy, it might be better for you to only change to Caste System during golden ages (Caste System + Pacifism, run as many specialists as your food can handle, and thus get 1-2 great people before the end of the golden age). Otherwise, stay with slavery (especially if you'll go to war) until the late game, when you might be forced to get emancipation.

    Since according to other comments this current game is really difficult to win at this point, I hope this general tips help you in the next one.
     
  16. Colon

    Colon Chieftain

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    A new city raises maintenance costs for ALL cities. This is why you need to be careful about expansion.
     
  17. pigswill

    pigswill fly (one day)

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    Game is fixable. Got a tech lead by 1850. Deleted all spies, archers and axes. Built wealth while cities grew to happy/health/available food, renegotiated resource deals (1gpt for a resource is not good).
     

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  18. Virupaksha

    Virupaksha Chieftain

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    Regarding happiness:

    Happiness is mostly a problem pre-monarchy and pre calendar. Prior to these techs it is pretty much compulsory to stay in slavery, which is anyway the best civic to be in in the early game as you need infrastructure in your cities so they contribute to your empire rather than drain it. Every city needs a granary and a forge, enough need libraries for Oxford, barracks also help and you need troops. Whip when the city is at its happiness cap or one below it if the city has lots of food. If you get out of cync stop growth by building an extra worker, almost impossible to have too many in the early game.

    Once you have some cottages and want to grow science cities research or trade for monarchy and adopt hereditory rule and you can use troops to manipulate your happiness. However, unless spiritual think very carefully before switching out of slavery. It makes no sense to grow onto unworked tiles and whipping the universities for oxford is a big research boost.

    Additionally hook up or trade for available happiness luxuries. Also try to spread your religion to your main cities. Unless going cultural I probably won't build a temple the whole game. The only times I might build one are whipping one in the capital in the early game or very late in a size 15+ city. Don't think i've ever built a colisseum.
     
  19. Macksideshow

    Macksideshow Chieftain

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    Just a note: Markets do not create extra commerce, they create extra gold (the icon is very similar and easy to confuse). If you convert commerce to gold via the slider then yes markets are useful and are producing extra gold for your empire.

    If you are running the slider at 100% science, ie converting commerce to beakers. Then your markets are doing very little. (Common scenario) Non commerce sources of gold that I am aware of are: Merchant specialists, Shrines, Corps.

    Markets do also produce extra happiness with certain resources and allow for 2 merchant specialists and since it is common for the slider to stay at 100% research this is often their main usefulness and since the market is an expensive building there are often better alternatives.

    I personally find markets to be rarely useful. They can be good in a decent shrine city or corporation HQ. I will occasionally build one for the happiness in my capital (all other cities would be whipped instead) It is extremely rare to build one for Merchant slots but not impossible i suppose.

    Always remember that your city could just build wealth (gold) with the same hammers it used to build the market and that gold is available for you to use much earlier than the extra gold the market would produce
     
  20. 6K Man

    6K Man Bureaucrat

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    I find myself building Markets in my GP-producing cities after getting forced into Emancipation in the later part of the game. Better to have Merchant GPP than Spies/Artists, after the free Caste slots are gone. But otherwise, they’re a poor build for non-capital/non-shrine cities, especially early on.
     

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