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Stealing your way to Victory

Discussion in 'CivBE - Strategy & Tips' started by dthompson32, Jan 19, 2016.

  1. dthompson32

    dthompson32 Chieftain

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    This is a hybrid strategy that I've been playing with over the last few weeks. I'm not hugely familiar with BE, so would appreciate comments on my approach. Is there anything I could be doing better?

    Stealing your way to victory

    The concept behind this strategy is a derived combination of GAGA Extrem's 5 City Academy spam and MAMoob's exploration/spies strategy. Using the city growth and trade route strategy of one, with the science stealing power of the other is producing easy wins on all map types and all victory conditions. The biggest concern is what to do in the last 30 some turns on some of the victory paths while you enjoy an unassailable dominant position.

    Opening selections:
    ARC - This is the obvious choice for the covert operations boost
    Artists - The opening is dependent on getting the first several virtues quickly, the +2 culture helps with this
    Tectonic Scanner - While being able to see the coastlines is powerful, I find that being able to see titanium and petroleum is more important for city placement and early production
    Pioneering - You need this and you don't want to waste time researching it early
    World selection - Anything you want, this strategy works on terran/lush, arid/arid, frozen/frozen, Pangaea, water, and anything else you care to throw at it

    Early Game:
    In the first 85 turns of the game (or so) you are going to focus on exploration and building the 5 cities of your colony. This period lasts until you have agents located in cities and they are starting to steal science. If you are lucky with resource pods, this can come as much as 10 turns sooner, but turn 85 is about average.

    Captial Build Order:
    Explorer, Old Earth Relic, Explorer, Explorer, Trade Depot, Trade Convoy, Colonist, Explorer, Explorer, Worker, Vivarium, Colonist, Colonist

    At around this point you will have Computers and should build the Spy Agency ASAP. When the Spy Agency is done, select the wonder building bonus. This bonus is useful in the end game when you need to build one of the victory wonders, but do not need additional technologies.

    If you find that you complete these early, then build some units. The other colonies often get annoyed at you due to your rapid growth, and having military units keeps them from going to war with you. And if they do, you can fend them off.

    When selecting locations for your additional cities prioritize for production and food. Cities next to a source of titanium are particularly powerful.
    Other City Build Order:
    Trade Depot, Old Earth Relic, Recycler (if you have Chemistry), Vivarium (if on land), Pharmalab (quest and improve health which will be bad early), Units to use for protection and to raise fear levels (and respect). Don't worry too much about the order other than the TD and OER. But these 5 buildings you should have in every city in the early/mid game.

    You will also need between 5 and 10 workers and trade convoys. I try to fit them into the build order when I don't have anything obvious to build. Also you generally will be generating a good bit of energy, so I buy both types of units with extra energy.

    A note on Trade Convoys, keep track of when your cities have open trade slots and make it a priority to get a convoy, even if delaying something else in the build order. Internal trade routes are going to provide vital production and food benefits to keep your colony growing.

    Attributes:
    You start with a good inherent attribute that improves your covert operations speed. You won't need to improve this until later in the game.
    Domestic - Choose Cooperative for the boost to internal trade routes. This should be your first selection, since the others are not needed until you are spying
    Political - Choose Subtle for the covert agent bonus
    Military - Choose what makes sense for you. I've used Practical for the military energy reduction, and Profiteering for station trade route bonuses, Suspicious doesn't seem to matter much unless you plan to use higher difficulty espionage like Dirty Bombs. Most recently I've found the selection for military unit production discounts makes the most sense in the end game.

    When you have extra political capital (and you will generate a lot of it) you should focus on leveling up these attributes over making agreements with others. You want to get to the point of stealing science every 4 turns. Between attributes, level 2 supremacy, and the Soul-Discerner you can get to this point very easily.

    When making agreements with others, Hutama is the best person to be friendly with for his trade slot benefits. Most of the other agreements available are kind of meh, and I use the capital on my attributes or the black market.

    Technology:
    The tech path is very simple in the beginning. Ecology then Computers. After you have Computers, research Chemistry while you are building the Spy Agency and getting agents into the field.

    Virtues:
    For virtues the first priority is to get the extra expedition slots for your explorers, then get the free colonist. After this move into the Industry path for the bonuses there.
    Prosperity - Frugality, Workforce Initiative (free worker), Pathfinders (extra expedition modules), Homesteading, Colony Initiative (free colonist)
    Industry - Labor Logistics, Commoditization, Standardized Architecture (free), Profiteering, Interdependence Network (bonus to internal trade routes)

    Exploration:
    The most important thing to do during the initial exploration phase is to not attack any of the aliens for any reason whatsoever. As long as you never attack them, they will leave your explorers and workers alone. However, they will NOT leave your colonists alone, so you will need to be careful moving them to city sites.

    As you explore go ahead an conduct expeditions at the various sites you find. Also try to get to resource pods quickly. In the early game you will find earth artifacts from the resource pods, though once the artifact pool is depleted you will stop getting them. The other colonies tend to ignore the alien and progenitor sites, so you will be pulling artifacts from them throughout the game. Alien sites can be especially helpful since you often will get a Ripper or a Drone. Both of these will help you explore faster. If I get a Manticore though, I just delete it. It is too slow.

    Hang onto artifacts until you have enough to start trying combinations. There are two rewards that you are looking for, Ground Penetrating LIDAR and the Soul-Discerner. The first will reduce your expedition time to 2 turns and the second will give an important 25% bonus to covert operations. Both of these are from the hybrid pool, so you will need to try combinations that include artifacts from at least 2 of the artifact types. Be sure to try all combinations, since each combination has a unique reward. After these two, select whatever rewards seem useful to you. I have had good success with the Tacjet improvement and the Drone Control building (allows colonies to grow faster).

    Once you have explored the world you can go back and clear out those annoying aliens. Clearing nests will give you additional artifacts, and also enrage the aliens. But by now you are tired of them wandering through your crops anyway, and are itching to get rid of them.

    Affinities:
    As you conduct expeditions in progenitor ruins, you will get free levels of affinity. You will also be conducting quests during this period. Prioritize getting to level 2 of Supremacy, which will give an additional exploration module. After this, keep your affinities balanced until you are at 5/5/5. At this point you will get a nice bonus to health. Beyond this, it is your choice depending on your victory path or the units you want to use.

    Mid Game:
    Once you are starting to actively steal science, you will have the science rolling in. With Special Agents later in the game, science thefts of 700+ for each successful theft are typical. You can count on completing a new technology every 4 or 8 turns for the rest of the game. The focus now is on getting technologies that give you additional covert agents. Also, doing the spying quest you are given will yield another covert agent.

    Tech Order:
    Once you have Computers, I recommend the following tech path:
    Chemistry - Allows you to build the Laboratory and Recycling Center. The Laboratory will trigger a quest that gives you an additional expedition module on your explorers.
    Engineering (cheap) - Opens the path to other technologies, gives the Combat Rover
    Genetics (cheap) - Gene Garden for health and opens the path to the Alien Preserve which is needed by one of the primary quests
    Communications - Feedsite Hub and Command Center (extra agent for each)
    Artificial Intelligence - Cel cradle (extra agent)
    Robotics - Need developed Firaxite to build the Holosuite
    Cognition - Holosuite (extra agent)

    Once you complete the key technologies, prioritize building (or buying) the specific building to get the quest timer running.

    After this, your tech selections depend on your chosen victory path, the affinities you want to develop, resources you need to develop, or the units you want. You can get to any desired technology very quickly.

    Virtues:
    There is another covert agent available as a reward for completing Tier II virtues. You can make selections in Industry and Prosperity to get to this bonus. You will be unlikely to ever get to the Tier III bonus, since the game will be over long before you can get there.

    There are two other Industry virtues that are useful. Social Investment in Tier III is immediately available and gives a strong bonus to the Manufactory. Scalable Infrastructure is also a Tier I bonus that gives 15% boost to wonders. When you start building the various wonders needed, return all your agents to HQ and build them in a city with many Manufactories around it. This will speed up completion of wonders by several turns.

    End Game:
    Around turn 130 you will have finished all of the key technologies. At this point, you can win the game using any victory condition you like. Due to your production capabilities, a Supremacy victory is probably the easiest (sending Golems through the gate). A Domination victory using Phasal Transport and high end hybrid units is also very satisfying. But the choice is yours. I'm finding that even without working to optimize all selections, all victory conditions are doable in less than 250 turns. In my most recent game I turned on the Signal at turn 185 and just spent the next 45 turns practicing battle tactics using different unit types.
     
  2. Blue Emu

    Blue Emu GroFAZ

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    SSE (Slumber-Slaughter Extract) is also one of the best Artifact rewards, in my opinion. It becomes especially useful later in the game, when the slow-to-build top-end terrain improvements become available.
     
  3. dthompson32

    dthompson32 Chieftain

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    Ah, I'v never taken that one. But that makes a lot of sense, since later on tough terrain maps I'm always needing to spam Biowells on forest or marsh tiles.
     
  4. Blue Emu

    Blue Emu GroFAZ

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    Yeah, it halves construction time for terrain improvements. Not too important for roads and farms, but it makes a huge difference for things like academies and terra-scapes.

    Since the best rewards are from progenator artifacts (more exactly, for combos that include at least one progenator artifact among the three artifacts) I tend to cash in my early Old Earth artifacts for culture (gaining more virtues, faster) and save the alien and progenator artifacts for combos.
     
  5. dthompson32

    dthompson32 Chieftain

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    "cash in my early Old Earth artifacts for culture (gaining more virtues, faster)"

    Great tip, I'm going to give this a try and see if it speeds up the process.
     
  6. CaptMikeP

    CaptMikeP Purity's Finest Warrior

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    get aristocrats and industry tenets so that you'll have tons of energy and you can rush buy all the buildings
     
  7. Zanaku

    Zanaku Chieftain

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    I have a question for anyone willing to answer. I am REALLY new to Civ:BE and I really dont have to much experience with Civ V, however hopefully someone can help me with something.

    1. For this strategy, when do you pick up the tech to embark, just in case you are playing on a continent type map. In my first try at this strategy, I was only able to send like 3 explorers out on my continent before I was limited by my tech and not having the embark ability.


    2. How and when do you deal with Alien Nests, that are blocking possible expansions?


    3. In my first test, I had someone try and declare war on one of my newer cities. I was able to get enough units to fend him off with the production of 5 cities and My gold (Energy). He gave me one of his cities in the peace agreement. Do you suggest puppeting? anexing? or razing the city in this situation?
     
  8. Zanaku

    Zanaku Chieftain

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    Just a follow up, I ended up grabbing the Embarking Tech basically right after Ecology, as I just had explorers sitting around doing nothing on my continent.

    2nd, once I had the key buildings and techs done for my first couple of cities, That is when I decided to go out and kill the aliens.

    Just before I was done clearing some of the aliens, directly West of my 2nd city, one annoyed civ decided to declare war on me in a City I had taken in what he 'felt' was his land. Even having very few units (which were multiple tiles away clearing aliens) I was able to fend off his War. I just bought 1 or 2 marines, and changed production in my early Cities to generate Marines (because I pretty much never had Physics for Rangers for whatever reason).

    He gave me one of his cities in the peace treaty, at this point, it was hard for him to declare war again, because of my unit military strength. When I could, I made Command Centers in my boundary cities to make this even better. I was able to support both cities he gave me because of war (the 2nd city was during a 2nd war in which another Civ asked me to go to war with her against that same civ. I did it because I figured, I won't have to actually participate other than a few city shots at straggler units and I might get a free city out of the peace treaty :) ).

    One Question though: In this strategy do you play on Quick or Standard?
     
  9. Monthar

    Monthar Chieftain

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    @ Zanaku If you have the Rising Tide expansion all units start out being able to embark. This guide seems like it is based on having the expansion.

    Playing this strategy using Chungsu instead of Arc, you do start off with a free agent and can start on covert ops as soon as you find the first AI. Plus you'll get science even when stealing energy to build up intrigue enough to start stealing science.

    If you take the Military trait Suspicious you can get your agents' ranks up faster, which with Chunsu that means more science when completing an op.

    If going with Chungsu, pick ARC to be one of the AI's you face and get in good with them so you can make the agreements for Special Ops and Field Recruitment with them. This will speed up your covert ops and let you recruit higher ranked agents respectively.

    Once you get your Culper Lodge you can cancel the Field Recruitment agreement and change the Military trait to something else.

    If you also have the 2 agreements you want from Polystralia you'll still have 1 more agreement available for whatever else you find is good.

    I don't recall how fast you can get your ops down to with Chungsu, but since you can get an extra 90 science with a special agent and maxed out unique trait, plus having 1 more agent than ARC I'm sure you can do as well if not better than ARC at this strategy.

    If you can get the Wet Teams agreement from one of the AI's your agents will be less likely to die from a failed op.
     
  10. Zanaku

    Zanaku Chieftain

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    @Monthar thanks for clearing that up. I bought the expansion, I just haven't installed it yet, cause I want to get familiar with the game before the expansion first So that I better understand the differences when I do decide to install it
     
  11. Monthar

    Monthar Chieftain

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    You can go ahead and install it. Afterwards, if you want to play the base game instead, select DLC on the main menu. From that menu you can can disable the expansion, just as you can do in Civ 5 with it's expansions and DLCs.

    I'm currently in the middle of a game as Chungsu where I selected ARC as one of the AI's to ensure they are in the game. I recently got to Cooperative with them and made the Special Ops agreement with them. I also have the Subtle trait up to level 3. This combo was enough to get the steal science down to 4 turns with a special agent.

    Edit: Allied with ARC didn't reduce the level 1-3 ops (they're still 4 or 5 turns each), but did get Coup D'etat down to 7 turns.
     
  12. Calyxx

    Calyxx Chieftain

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    I just wanted to thank you for posting this - I tried the strategy and it was both highly effective and quite fun.
     
  13. Syrkres

    Syrkres Chieftain

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    I'm working on a Mod for Spy centric Sponser (Global Sedition).
    - Starts out with 1 spy
    - Colonists (Spies) which steal Research/Culture.

    Looking to add other features as well.

    Edit: For a test last night I up'ed the number of spies you get, and was able to get 13 spies, game on easy mode... lol
    I have added 20 spies to the mod, just in case ppl want/need more. Just need to think of creative/balanced ways to dole them out.
     

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