Struggling a lot even on low difficulties

Vi3D

Chieftain
Joined
Aug 30, 2022
Messages
6
I'm finding VP extremely difficult. I've looked up guides, both written and in video, tried different civs, and nothing. On difficulty 3, best case scenario I stay at the middle of the score until the game ends with me losing, worst case someone invades me because they somehow built 7 cities in the time it took me to build 4 and they have a swarm of armies that would beat me if I had 1 to 1 odds.

I don't know, the math never seems to add up, these AI seem to be getting absurd bonuses, I'm super confused. Anyone can offer any guidance?
 

rkkn

Warlord
Joined
May 28, 2019
Messages
189
can you be a little more specific with what kinds of problems you're having?

with it this vague, the best I can do is outline some of my general guidelines. which possibly might actually be helpful.

some are obvious but some might not be
for instance, on turn 0 I'll always move my scout and warrior before settling, and generally in opposite directions, to see if there's a better place to settle.
Barring particulars for certain civs...
I also pick first tech depending on surroundings. Judge whether or not the starting location benefits a lot from a pantheon and is good enough to get stonehenge, and if it is I'll pick wheel and rush stonehenge. (AI favors pyramids, so I never even try to rush that one. on immortal I can usually expect the AI to build pyramids about turn 22 and stonehenge about turn 27). If the starting yields are weak, or if the pantheon I want takes a while to be good (ex: needs improved resources) then I won't bother with stonehenge.
Beyond that I'll pick whichever techs I think will give me the most immediate benefit.
First build can depend on the civ, but my default is monument. policies are hella strong.
The scout's primary job for the first few turns is to find ruins, but after a few turns that shifts to finding good places to settle, so I don't send it too far away until surroundings are all uncovered.
The warrior acts as a second horsehockytier scout until I run into threatening barbarians. Most of the time I can just go around the barbarians and otherwise ignore them until later.
Almost no matter what strat I'm going for, I want to put out a settler as soon as I can. It's very rare that I'll build a worker before a settler.
And so on. Though from here, things vary greatly depending on what strategy I've chosen.

Anyway, I am also curious as to what guides you've looked at. I have not actually ever read or watched any myself.
 

Vi3D

Chieftain
Joined
Aug 30, 2022
Messages
6
can you be a little more specific with what kinds of problems you're having?

with it this vague, the best I can do is outline some of my general guidelines. which possibly might actually be helpful.

some are obvious but some might not be
for instance, on turn 0 I'll always move my scout and warrior before settling, and generally in opposite directions, to see if there's a better place to settle.
Barring particulars for certain civs...
I also pick first tech depending on surroundings. Judge whether or not the starting location benefits a lot from a pantheon and is good enough to get stonehenge, and if it is I'll pick wheel and rush stonehenge. (AI favors pyramids, so I never even try to rush that one. on immortal I can usually expect the AI to build pyramids about turn 22 and stonehenge about turn 27). If the starting yields are weak, or if the pantheon I want takes a while to be good (ex: needs improved resources) then I won't bother with stonehenge.
Beyond that I'll pick whichever techs I think will give me the most immediate benefit.
First build can depend on the civ, but my default is monument. policies are hella strong.
The scout's primary job for the first few turns is to find ruins, but after a few turns that shifts to finding good places to settle, so I don't send it too far away until surroundings are all uncovered.
The warrior acts as a second ****tier scout until I run into threatening barbarians. Most of the time I can just go around the barbarians and otherwise ignore them until later.
Almost no matter what strat I'm going for, I want to put out a settler as soon as I can. It's very rare that I'll build a worker before a settler.
And so on. Though from here, things vary greatly depending on what strategy I've chosen.

Anyway, I am also curious as to what guides you've looked at. I have not actually ever read or watched any myself.
Mostly civ specific guides on Steam and a few videos by the channel Milae on youtube.
My main struggle is like as low as difficulty 3 the AIs seem to be leaving me the dirt in terms of everything: Production, gold, culture, sciences; Sometimes if I get a civ like Russia (tend to do random civ) I'll head one thing like Science but everything else they outclass me no matter what;
I really don't know how to describe it other than that. I could maybe record a timelapse of a campaign of mine and throw it up on youtube for you to have a look over if you think it'll help.
 

TakkuPanda

Chieftain
Joined
Dec 18, 2021
Messages
16
Because VP is constantly changing, with the latest version only being two weeks old, even the best guides like Milae's guides can't give you all of the latest and best info, so always take them with a pinch of salt.

I would suggest lowering difficulty even more. I often try a game on difficulty 2 every time there is a new big update, just to get a hang of the new things and the new mechanics. No shame in lowering difficulty in a single player game in order to learn!
Once I comfortably understand the changes, I gradually go up in difficulty to the point where it feels competitive, but the AI bonuses don't feel absurd (like they do right now from your perspective, so if I were in your spot, I'd lower difficulty so that I can learn where I went wrong while still having a fun game).

Also, since you watch Milae, he does game analyses too (such as the Rome one here:
) and watching these could help you figure out where you might be making mistakes. Or even better, if he is willing to do more, maybe you could send your saves to him to get more personalized feedback too ;)

Just make sure not to forget that the purpose of the game is to have fun ^_^
 
Joined
Jul 23, 2022
Messages
130
Because VP is constantly changing, with the latest version only being two weeks old, even the best guides like Milae's guides can't give you all of the latest and best info, so always take them with a pinch of salt.
I think that's an exaggeration. Recent versions from last six months barely touched any balance, and stuff from old guides is probably 80-90% relevant.

I agree watching Milae is probable the best way of learning VP though :goodjob:
 

Vi3D

Chieftain
Joined
Aug 30, 2022
Messages
6
Two screenshots: One unusually good Spain game (where I still don't feel confident enough to even try challenging another civ in war) and one as usual disastrous Celts game.
 

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Zakuzelo

Chieftain
Joined
Apr 25, 2014
Messages
89
Authority lives or dies on aggressive expansion, either via settling or war. If you're not constantly fighting, settling, preparing to do so, or ideally all three at once, then you're not using Authority right. It's a very active tree.
The question of "How many cities should I have?" is almost always answered with "How much space do you have available? That much." In both those screenshots you've got a ton of space up for grabs and a lot of excess happiness. The Spain one especially has an entire island almost uncontested. Claim it all! Vanilla Civ 5 tends to implant these "settling bad" lessons in you're head, but you've got to get rid of those. VP is much, much more favorable to wide, as it probably should be.
 

Vi3D

Chieftain
Joined
Aug 30, 2022
Messages
6
My best game so far; Poland, Difficulty 2, Standard speed;

I didn't get into any wars until the late renaissance, but I did expand more than in any of my previous games, also got Autocracy (and maybe an ideology) before anyone else;
Bad news: game is crashing at random when I open the technology tree to choose my next tech :)
Also randomly at advancing turns.
 

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CppMaster

Deity
Joined
Feb 13, 2018
Messages
2,164
Location
Poland
Better! But you've probably built too many units at the cost of developing cities. Also, why do you build Public Works when you are so happy?
 

Vi3D

Chieftain
Joined
Aug 30, 2022
Messages
6
They weren't so happy until I started building those, though I probably should've called it a day about 20 turns ago. The units are because I've been on repeat wars against Persia, and I was planning on going and liberating the Celts as my vassals.
Anyway the campaign is done, since so many crashes and it's now unloadable after updating to the latest version of VP. Gonna keep this in mind from now on.
 
Joined
Jul 23, 2022
Messages
130
I don't recommend settling many cities as authority. Especially not as economic or trade focus civ, as you already have not economic policy. You should have enough to produce you enough troops to conquer and yields to stay afloat, your not progress, your 9th or 8th city will not be good quickly but a drag on everything for two eras. 5 cities is alright sometimes if opportunity presents for early conquest, 6 is normal for both authority and tradition IMO, 7 if founded quickly with terrain panteon can be good too but not habitually. Authority is war and policy (culture) based, not science, not trade, not high population, not many cities, even not production or gold (you'll have a decent amount of them but enough only to cover some expenses, not all-around). Note that I wrote authority is war focused, not city taking focused (at least initially). You should harvest experience (!), culture and science from early wars and cripple your future enemies. Ideally you would like to have 3 close neighbours, two to be constantly at war with them, alternating, and one to stay friends, have secure, no units border and send international trade routes to (they're much, much better as authority if you go bottom tech tree heavy).

Your cities doesn't seem bad in terrain, so it's probably timing of settling, and production choices that you have to prioritise more. Stuff like no walls if you're anyway on the offensive, no granaries early beside capital or some tundra starts, no farms early (on general), no herbalists in cities that doesn't have at least four plantations and/or camps (and still low priority if a city can work three mines with forge for example) - you can get those buildings for another 40 science and culture if you go industry. No stables in a city with only one pasture, low priority with two, excellent (and probably investment) in cities with three. Same with the best early game building - stoneworks. Same with forge. Early barracks-forge-arenas if possible. Even earlier councils (first if ancestor worhsip). I don't think baths and water mills are worth it usually, well as first or second building (after council or monument) is stronger than both combined. If you go for upper tree classical, libraries and great library are very important. And the most important of all - buy workers and improve your land ASAP. At least one worker per every city + 1/2.

I would probably try no wonder for authority, beside said great library sometimes and colossus and angkor wat. None of the ancient era wonders are really strong for any play, and very few of the classical are strong for authority. No statue of zeus crap.

Pantheons play a large part, pro players probably use only 5 of them or so, even less beliefs lol.
 
Joined
Nov 19, 2010
Messages
922
Location
Indiana
On the Poland game:
Build ALL Towns on Roads/ RailRoads, Avoid GP Improvements on flat Desert
You should get more Academies by working more Scientists
You have the Happiness to annex those Persian Cities.
Rather than Public Works, you can build Process on Science/Culture instead
Can we get some screenshots on the City Screen? How many Specialists are you working?

For the Celts game, if you had Physics your war with America should be going better. Catapults don't work vs Castles; at 33 CS it is safe to assume that City has a Caste.
 

Fluffball

Prince
Joined
Sep 22, 2011
Messages
440
Mostly civ specific guides on Steam and a few videos by the channel Milae on youtube.
My main struggle is like as low as difficulty 3 the AIs seem to be leaving me the dirt in terms of everything: Production, gold, culture, sciences; Sometimes if I get a civ like Russia (tend to do random civ) I'll head one thing like Science but everything else they outclass me no matter what;
I really don't know how to describe it other than that. I could maybe record a timelapse of a campaign of mine and throw it up on youtube for you to have a look over if you think it'll help.
While Milae is much more prolific for civ i find Martin Fencka much more representative.

For resources, it is perfectly normal for the AI to outclass you in resources until the mid/late game where you may start to out do them in aspects that are important to your choice of victory. You should just focus on having the resources to do what you want to do. e.g. you can fight an AI with a much smaller military than the AI by using your military better and positioning it well. you generally have enough gold if you can afford to purchase important things and not about to go bankrupt.

Great people are an important tool and are one way the player can catch up/gain an advantage. If your competing for a wonder you really want you can use an engineer to make sure you get it. If you really want to get a tech first you can use a great scientist to rush to it, if you are stuck in a stalemate or tricky position in a war you can expend a great general on a citadel to radically change the power balance of a front line.

Unless your really rushing something it is generally better in the long term to expend great people on their tile improvements or great works until the late game when they should be really powerful to expend for resources and you will ultimately get more resources from expending them rather than using their special ability. As a general rule it is generally best to put a great person improvement on another special resource than try to improve and ordinary or poor tile. One really good tile is better than two ok tiles.

Looking at your screenshots i see very few workers. Early on i usually aim for 1 worker per city and try to make sure all the tiles i am working are improved as well as connecting cities by road as soon as possible which has a number of advantages. Looking at your celts screenshot i see your capital has 16 population yet i can only see 7 improved tiles.

In all the screenshots you always seem to have plenty of gold and GPT, don't be afraid to use it to rush important buildings, buy workers early on, buy units or buy tiles. For example in the spain screenshot i see Barcelona has a population of 12 yet only has 10 workable tiles of which only 6 tiles are improved and the two coast tiles are only neutral as they only produce two food so would simply support the poplulation working them. You had 441 gold and 45gpt with wheat, dyes, fish and iron all in range of the city. If you can buy a tile with a sellable resource you can you can often make the money back you spent on buying the tile(s) by selling the resource if you don't need it and you still have a good tile to work.

Across all the screenshot it looks like your cities are too far apart. While it seems like a waste overlapping cities you will often find you don't end up working many of the tiles in the city radius especially if you work specialists. Your cities seem to have very high polulations in your games which is likely due to low difficulty level and you usually have much lower populations in higher games when happiness in particular is more of an issue. If cities are closer they can share tiles early on which can help newer cities grow until they can claim good tiles of their own, it allows cities to help protect each other better and means you close off your borders sooner to stop the AI from dropping a city in the middle of your territory. If your warring putting a city as close as possible to an enemy city can be a great advantage also as it provides you a great base to attack from with the city potentially adding firepower against enemy units while providing you with home territory so you can heal your units quicker.

If you have the happiness to support it then annexed cities will be much more productive to your empire than puppeted cities and ironically can actually produce less unhappiness.

It is usually a good idea to decide on what victory condition you are going for as early as possible and ultimately aim for that in everything you do. i.e. choice of social policies, what techs to pick first, what to proritise building or rushing in cities, what wonders to aim to get. Most civs are usually focused towards a particular victory type and it is usually easiest to choose a civ based on the victory condition you want to aim for or choose a victory condition based on the bonuses the civ you chose has. You can easily go up or down a difficulty level by choosing the right or wrong civ and victory condition.

Don't ignore city states even if your not playing a diplomatic game. Aim to keep city states nearby as allies if for no other reason than if your enemy makes them their ally and then declares war on you will have to fight the city state also. Looking purely at the bonuses you can get from city states you get nice bonuses just from being friends if you can't make them allies. Sending a diplomatic unit occasionally (which can be purchased with excess gold) and doing any quests you can will keep you friendly with most city states.

Religion can make a huge difference to a game. It can help make friends or enemies. It can be used to make up for some of your weakness or enhance your advantages as it can provide a large amount of resources or utility and is extremly flexible in general. Even if you plan to completely dominate with your religion it is often advantageous to let other religions spread to your cities initially so you can purchase their building before you swap to your religion or if your conquering always check if the city can buy any religious buildings before converting it. Even if you have a religion and have little chance of spreading it far you can aquire other religions buildings while securing your religion at home and if you pick options which don't require you to spread your religion it can still be very strong.

When you meet another civ, check out their civilopedia entry and you can get an idea of how they are going to interact with you. Do you need to build a military as they a war focused civ? Even if their not war focused do they have unique units and when will they arrive and thus be most dangerous militarily? Do they have bonuses toward city state and thus are you going to need to work harder to keep the city states you want? Are they religion focused and thus you are going to have to compete with them religiously etc? Are they going to be going for the same type of victory as you are and likely to be unhappy with you for competeing and maybe do you want to take them out before they become a problem?
 

Zanteogo

King
Joined
Nov 13, 2015
Messages
950
See some great advice here so I won't add a bunch.

However, I will say this..
This game is mostly about the first 25% of the game. Most of the time you it's a good idea to beat up civs that start close to you. Even if you don't wipe them, if you can snipe a city or a settler early, it sets them back and allows you to settle the more prime spots. This doesn't always work, but a good general idea. If you can dominate the land mass you start on, the rest of the game is way easier due to the AI not being the greatest at attacking civs that don't share a direct boarder with them.

Due to the AI bonus increasing every era, there is an early illusion that you can turtle up and just out produce and research the AI. This usually won't work. It's also why you need to hit them hard early while their advantage isn't that great yet.
 
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