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Struggling Research Tactics

Discussion in 'Civ3 Strategy Articles' started by Spoonwood, Dec 19, 2009.

  1. Spoonwood

    Spoonwood Grand Philosopher

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    This article draws inspiration from Drakan's ailing civilization strategy and some of Moonsinger's Sid games. Maybe this will just serve as a bump of old knowledge. If so, hopefully, it will serve as a bump for newer players or as a reminder for older players. I'll present two basic tactics for catching up in tech on high levels. They do not require researching the right tech in time. In fact, they require very little research by the human player at all.

    1. Tribe A has military units in your territory, and you can tell tribe A to "leave or declare war". You also want to go to war with Tribe A. So, turn the science and luxury sliders to 0% temporarily and perhaps even change as many citizens as possible to tax collectors as possible. Next buy as many techs from Tribe A for gold per turn. Demand a city from them at least until their attitude becomes furious, if not a few more times also. Finally, tell them to "leave or declare". Change all your citizens and/or science/luxury rate back to previous settings and enjoy your new technology. You will not suffer a reputation hit using this tactic.

    Warning: this may NOT work if you have a much stronger military than the AI. By all means, hit F3 and check with your military advisor on your relative strength with tribe A. This CAN work for least aggressive AIs, though undoubtedly it works more easily when you have the agression level higher, and relative military strength ratings matter less.

    2. Tribe A has one city left and you feel confident your military can capture their last city this turn. Note: you can check to see if tribe A has any cities left other than their last one by opening the diplomacy screen and seeing if they have any names under cities. If they don't, and you can see a city with their borders, they only have that city (and possibly a settler or two) left.

    Now, as with strategy 1. turn your science and luxury sliders to 0% and/or change citizens to tax collectors. Find another tribe B who knows tribe A that you stand on the verge of exterminating. Sign a military alliance with tribe B against tribe A and tie in them giving you techs for gold per turn or even resources or luxuries. If you then capture/raze tribe A's last city and they have no settlers elsewhere, they will no longer exist, you'll get those techs for free, and you will suffer no reputation hit whatsoever. If tribe A still has a settler floating around somewhere else, you'll still have your gpt deal intact. In such a case, hopefully you or someone else can finish that settler off quickly enough so that you don't lose that much cash.

    Of course, with strategy 2. you need embassies and you need to already have a successful war about to finish. With strategy 1. you need to stand ready to war with tribe A. For both strategies it will help to have markets, banks, and/or stock exchanges in uncorrupt cities (in which case you don't want tax collectors *in those cities* also).

    Both tactics probably work easiest on pangea maps with maximum opponents. With maximum opponents, more tribes know the techs available, so they become less expensive. For 1. the more tribes, the easier it becomes to find a weak tribe that you can attack and accidently puts military units in your territory. For 2., you have more tribes that you can potentially purchase tech from using that tactic, as you could also sign a military alliance with tribe C against tribe A tieing in their techs and your gpt and tribe D and so on. Additionally, you can get techs faster, since maps with maximum opponents have smaller empires, and thus you can "purchase" techs this way earlier, as well as techs becoming available more easily.

    For both tactics, also, The Republic comes out as the government of choice over Monarchy *even if you need to use the luxury slider in your wars*, because if things work as planned, you'll only lower the luxury slider for the gpt "deals" before the turn ends, and by the end of the turn you can turn it back up. And with a Republic you have more gold per turn than with Monarchy.

    If you like these strategies and feel confident they can work well, then I'll challenge you to play a high level for you with all scientific opponents. For a Large or Huge map make that all the scientific tribes with the rest filled by seafaring and commerical tribes of your choice. Maybe you'll have more spears to kill in an early war, but you'll have a faster tech pace with a way to catch up, and thus you should reach better war technologies earlier. Gifting up could also help here.
     
  2. Spoonwood

    Spoonwood Grand Philosopher

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    Actually, maybe you can't get tie in resources of luxuries as gets discussed in this thread.
     
  3. Spoonwood

    Spoonwood Grand Philosopher

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    A potentially more powerful idea would be to sell them your lump sum at the best going rate available, hopefully 1 gpt for 18 gold.

    Then when you make the military alliance with the tribe, you get all of that lump sum back for your gpt, which then gets cancelled by the destruction of the target AI.

    The gpt for lump sum deal stays intact for 20 turns netting you a profit of 2 gold for every 18 gold you initially loaned out. And you can get the maximum amount of goods you can get for your gpt this way also.

    Then after that you purchase tech via the lump sum. Or keep it for upgrades and/or cash rushing.
     
  4. tmn

    tmn Chieftain

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    Also failing diplomatic missions can be used to provoke wars, in case there are no troops within your borders or they have Right of Passage.

    This is a very powerful exploit. It allows you to get multitudes of your whole 20-turn economy right away, for nothing. I don't think this should be allowed, just as any other trick that lets you terminate trade agreements without ruining your reputation.

    It would be much harder to play on Sid without it. But then, if you can't survive without trade exploits, why not just lower the difficulty and play an honest game?
     
  5. Spoonwood

    Spoonwood Grand Philosopher

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    Don't you have to pay for any diplomatic missions and there always exists a chance of success?


    Well there's more units around on Sid for one. Also, more gold possible by capturing cities. And I don't know about keeping up in tech, unless use a disconnect-reconnect of your trade route, and that makes for one tactic that I want to win without. Do you play say 60% warm, wet 3 billion pangea maps on Sid? Do you have victories on those maps without say re-loading (knowing what can happen in advance I consider out of bounds) that I could look at or study? I mean, I don't know of many such victories without such exploits. I consider using The Great Library past Education to make for a similar sort of exploit (though perhaps earlier banks/explorers work out better). I wouldn't even consider Sid Vicious: The Magnificient Seven Plus One, since they used The Great Library elevator all the way to The Corporation and Electricity.

    What I have in mind is something like Sid 60% warm, wet 3 billion pangea maps you can play with anyone and still win. And maybe with scientifically maxed tribes and other strong researchers and maybe Japan also. The closest thing I know of to that would be the team lead by betazed in the brilliant Ad Astra per Sid. But, I'm not sure... that might be a 70% pangea map. It's also a 4 billion year map. And they stole tech... though they did pay for it.

    With your comment I may as well ask, why aren't you playing Sid instead of confining yourself to playing an "honest" game? I mean you play against a computer... not a human who actually can get cheated out of something by dishonesty. What do you lose with "dishonesty" by manipulating a machine?
     
  6. tmn

    tmn Chieftain

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    To be clear, I didn't mean that remark as an insult nor aimed it personally at you. Just as a general observation regarding using exploits on high difficulties.

    And of course, everyone is free to play by any rules they want.

    Correct. But with all the gold you can get from this exploit, you should have enough for a couple of immediate steals (only 32% success with embassy). And when you have a spy, sabotages can be very cheap. Besides, you can play it safely and just move on if the steal succeeds.

    I've just started trying Sid games and, indeed, I'll probably go back to Deity. Right now I'm playing on Sid, Small, 60%, Normal, Temperate, 4 bil. I'm far from the level of play where my games would be interesting to look at or study. I reload a lot to try out different things, and I did provoke war to cancel gpt deals a couple of times (before deciding it's too cheesy).

    But I don't think this is the place to discuss any particular map settings or strategies. I'm sure many Sid maps would be impossible to win on without the trade exploits.

    The 2 exploits you describe in OP are on the same level as disconnect-reconnect, except they can't be used as often. I don't know why would you shun from one, but not another.

    The Great Library thing is questionable, but nowhere near the trade exploits. Besides, it does make for fun and engaging strategies.

    Dignity? :D

    It just doesn't make much sense to me to first give AI a ridiculously unfair advantage and then use exploits to catch up.
     
  7. Spoonwood

    Spoonwood Grand Philosopher

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    Thanks for your response. It's interesting to think about these things.

    I doubt this. Well, at least if you don't get overrun before you have trade routes set up, and there exist spare resources/luxuries out there or you can get them to exist via war declarations with carefully selected opponents. You can get all the techs for just the cost of a few workers and pillagers, all of their gpt, all of the lump sums that they make, all declarations of war for the same cost. Though, admittedly maybe a cold dry map makes for more of a problem for doing that, and tech cost doesn't change. Hmmm... maybe an isolated archipelago map makes for a problem, but can the AI research on such a map? If they can't, then you can research enough and then once you have Magnetism, gift them on up, park a bunch of artillery and offensive units next to your capital and wait. Then fish out a leader. Once you do that, you make a good army or a few and then sail out with galleons and take them out.

    The two exploits in the OP are not quite on part with the disconnect-reconnect in the following sense. With the disconnect-reconnect of trade routes, if you have fewer resources it doesn't make for too much of a problem. You just purchase them with your gpt, much of which you pick up from the AI as soon as they have it. On the other hand, if you want to kill off an AI and say all of your neighbors have resources and you don't, then you have to at least get those resources before you have more than spears, archers, and catapults/trebuchets. The leave or declare trick also relies somewhat and you have to survive the war. You don't with the disconnect-reconnect trade trick. Really, you can make them less likely to declare on you by gifting them a lump sum of 100 gold every so often, which then funnels back to your hands for the cost of a pillage and then some roading to keep your trade route alive before the turn ends.

    Also, with respect to the exploits being on the same level, the ability to use such more often seems like a significant difference to me. Especially on a huge map. Take a look at Drazek's 10 AD save or my lower 88k save in the HoF (it's legal there... it's not so much of an exploit at lower levels or probably for any archipelago 20k game, because the AIs just won't have enough to make it worth it or you really want to have the tech leader position) for how utterly powerful such exploits can be.

    Maybe so. Maybe the gap in my knowledge has pretty much lied with trying to face a modern level AI or one with at least bombers, if not tanks or mechanzied infantry and modern armor, and possibly nukes, when I've perhaps just somehow traded up for replaceable parts. Though maybe immediate steals work out better, I don't know. I've never even attempted anything remotely close to fighting a war against a modern AI while just getting replaceable parts, and I don't have much experience playing from behind before that either. If I can use knowledge of terrain to make some strategic pillage blind guesses, keep track of where forests, marsh and then survive any initial onslaught of a modern age AI with bombers and/or tanks, then maybe I could handle such a war via using a bunch of infantry in barricades with artillery proper to prevent any sort of attack from anything after the initial rush, but maybe ToW infantry though even those are slow if you can pillage them out, and then manage to take them out. Though maybe you can bait them. I don't know. I have little idea of what facing a modern AI while still in the industrial ages is like.
     
  8. Spoonwood

    Spoonwood Grand Philosopher

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    Have you considered playing custom level maps? Maybe something like they get the Sid cost factor of .4, but they have one extra settler instead of two, and a worker or two less also. Or maybe they have a cost factor of .6 like Deity, but they have an extra settler, unit support, and trading rate like Sid. Or maybe they get everything like they do on Sid, but you get an extra settler and workers, or maybe even two extra settler. Perhaps there exist many possibilities of interest.
     

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