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Strategy for tech trading

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by yanner39, Apr 20, 2010.

  1. yanner39

    yanner39 Emperor

    Sep 17, 2008
    Ottawa, Canada
    I'm starting to realize more and more the power of tech trading and see what some mean when they say it's one of the strongest multipliers in the game. In fact, in TMIT's last couple of Let's Play, he demonstrates pretty well how to do it and uses the diplo tech screen pretty well and quite often. I have to admit that up until now, I rarely looked at it (I check the relations and resources only).

    I think I understand what what the different columns mean:

    What the AI wants: Tech I have the AI doesn't have

    Will trade: Techs the AI has that I don't and is willing to trade with me

    Won't trade: Techs the AI has that I don't and won't trade with me

    I find the "Can Research" column somewhat confusing but that because I don't know the tech tree by heart yet.

    Are there any strategies when it comes to tech trading? I mean, when an AI is not willing to trade, I guess this is what is meant by a "monopoly tech?". How do you get the AI to change from not willing to trade to willing to trade it? Are there techs that I should research that would then cause the AI to trade the "monopoly tech"?

    Another question: Sometimes, people would say to research Aesthetics to then trade it for Alphabet or Iron Working. From what I understand, an AI will trade techs if they are of equal value. So why just not research Alphabet directly instead of researching Aesthetics? Is it simply because the AI doesn't prioritize Aesthetics so I would would be essential getting 2 techs (Aesthetics and Alphabet) by researching one (Aesthetics)?

    Are there other instances when I should be researching a tech so that I can then trade it with others?
  2. jauggy

    jauggy Warlord

    Dec 18, 2008
    I play on Monarch. If you get Aesthetics first you can trade that for more than just alphabet. I usually get heaps of techs from aesthetics.
  3. Ghpstage

    Ghpstage Deity

    Jan 15, 2009
    Bristol, England
    Monopoly means exactly what it says, the AI won't trade it because its the only one that has it. Whatever the heck you research won't make it any more willing to trade it to you, although researching something else may give other AIs time to research the monopoly tech removing the monopoly restriction.

    You won't be able to swap Aesthetics for Alphabet straight out, the AI won't trade on equal terms, you will either need to offer something else up or put a turn of research into Alphabet (which reduces the AIs asking price) which is the best move.

    The reason people like Alpha is that most AIs research it late but go for Alphabet, Maths, Monarchy, IW and other useful techs early, another useful thing about hitting it up first is you get first crack at the wonders and its on the way to Literature (GLib/HE/NE).
    If all AIs get alpha and you research it too you gain nothing from trades (which is a lot of what Alpha is about...) but if you hold a monopoly on Aesthetics and the AIs tade their techs around you could well pick up Iw, Alpha, Maths and Monarchy from your Aesthetics monopoly if your lucky and remember to put a turn of research into techs that cost the same :science: as Alpha ;)

    As a side note, on Monarch the AIs still tend to take much too long to research Alphabet to justify going early Aesthetics for trading.
    Relying on Aesthetics trades on Monarch is probably going to do more harm than good, its not always the best move even on Immortal and is a big part of the point behind binary teching.

    Other good trade bait techs (Prmarily on Emperor+) include Drama, Music, Philosophy, Education, and of course Liberalism. Philosophy, Education and Liberalism are very popular for tech trades as AIs tend to delay them, Great Scientists can bulb you down this path very quickly and they (and techs on the same line) are important economic techs.
  4. Silu

    Silu Deity

    Jul 13, 2009
    That's not quite what it means. For each situation, there's a threshold for the # of known rival Civs that must have the tech in order for them to not whine about monopoly. This # can be 0% of known Civs, so they'll be willing to trade if even if it truly is a monopoly, or it can be up to and including 100%.

    Two things affect that #. First, and most important, AI personality. All AIs have a baseline percentage of rival Civs that must know a tech in order for them to trade it. It's 0% for Mansa (will never monopoly whine) and for Tokugawa as high as 100% (naively means he will ALWAYS have monopoly whine, since if all rivals have it there's no trading to be done).

    However, there's an additional factor involved depending on the tech and game circumstances that's applied to the baseline. This depends mostly on the units, buildings, unbuilt wonders and unbuilt projects it enables. The biggest effect of this is that if a tech does not enable any military or sea-exploration units, any non-religious buildings or any unbuilt wonders or projects, there will never be any monopoly whine, no matter the # of rivals that know the tech or the AI personality, even in semi-isolation. This is the reason you can do any trading below Friendly in semi-isolation, for techs such as Alphabet and Monarchy that satisfy these constraints.

    For other techs, calculating whether or not a Civ will monopoly whine about a given tech in given circumstances is quite complicated and usually not worth the trouble, so mostly just play and see, using the baseline percentages as a rule of thumb. :)

    And obviously if you're Friendly with a Civ there will not be monopoly whine.
  5. Wreck

    Wreck Prince

    Jan 4, 2006
    Yes. And note that the combination of the sometimes-brief window of time before AIs tech something themselves, and the multiplicative effect of tech-trading is a key reason why bulbing can be a powerful use of a GP. Don't think of it as spending a great scientist for 2400:science: or whatever you get. Think of it as spending him for the value you get plus all the trade value ; if you can trade the tech to two AIs for equal value, you are bulbing for 7200:science:. You don't need to bulb on lower levels of play to keep up. On higher levels, you often do.

    It's just showing what they can be researching. This can be useful when you are thinking about what to research for its trade potential. But yes, it's by far the least important column.

    Espionage can be very helpful in finding out what an AI is researching (and when), so you can either beat it to it, or research something else and swap.

    Yes, that's the idea. But it does vary by the level. Putting off Alphabet is a bad idea on lower levels because the AIs won't have it either, and it allows tech trading. So even though you won't trade it for a while (because it is best monopoly there is, tech-trade-wise!), you'll still want it. On higher levels (maybe Emperor+), the AIs are fast enough that you can profit by going Aesthetics.

    It is very rare that you research something only for trade value -- but that's because almost any tech has some use. (I do often trade for Divine Right knowing that AIs seem to love it, not because I want it myself.) But sure, think about that most common of strategies, the liberalism beeline. Partly you do it because you want Free Speech. But a big part of its power is you get a key line of techs (paper/education/liberalism/nationalism or whatever) that the AIs don't have. These become your tradebait, allowing you to backfill the rest of the medieval techs.

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