struggling to deal with AI aggression and own civ economy

Castaras

Chieftain
Joined
Mar 30, 2010
Messages
22
Location
Britain
Recently I've fallen back into FFH2, and have ended up going for the extraextramod verions of MNAI from my previous modmod of choice Rise of Erebus due to better stability. However, most of the games I'm playing result in me lagging behind other civilisations very quickly. The few that don't I find it really difficult to work out what to do in endgame - my last 'successful' game was an amurites with a stack of 20 mages with fire II and law II and I was finding that I was unable to take over certain cities with large amounts of longbowmen defending them.

I'm generally more of a builder than an early fighter, and my ideal game in mainline civ would be to go for a culture or apollo program victory. I play Noble difficulty.

In case the issue is quick expansion: With all the games I play, I start by building 3 cities. main city build order: warriors to 3, settler, warrior, worker, warrior, settler, warrior.

Example games and issues I'm running into:

Amurites: My most played. My aim with Valledia is to rush to Aristogarian, then depending on if I've got aggressive neighbours I either go Bowyers or go on the Sorcery path to acquire lots of Law II and Fire II. If I don't go RoK I do not have enough cash to upgrade to mages (I tried going OO and with 5 cities and aristogarian I was down to 50% research for not being in the negatives). If I have someone like doviello, svart or embers nearby I can't get bowyers quick enough to be able to defend myself.
Elohim: Tried doing altar victory - was unable to get enough monks quick enough to defend against svart attacking. There were enough to stop them attacking me in the cities but I didn't have enough to leave my cities to attack them while they pillaged. And with the situation I was in, I didn't have any strong enough units or a large enough stack of units to be able to deal with an added hyborem DoW and the hero unit.
Ljosalfar: probably my most successful game - thessa and FoL, had illians attacking me after they killed kuriotates. Had 30/40 research from early to end of the war, and only survived because of using my world spell. By the end of the war was far behind all the civs on the other continent as what little economy I had had gone into the war instead of research and building, and the illian cities were next to useless for me.

I've been searching through old threads in the forums which is how I went from pure rush sorcery to looking at bowyers and aristogarian for amurites, but otherwise I'm really struggling with how to consistently survive midgame wars and how to close out a game after getting through a gruelling midgame. I think my main issue is my early game isn't working to safely get me to midgame.

Advice would be appreciated.
 

PPQ_Purple

Purple Cube
Joined
Oct 11, 2008
Messages
5,026
FFH and its derivatives are similar but also quite different than regular civ. Several things you need to consider when playing them include but are not limited to:
  • The world is far more hostile. You'll see more barbarians and more dangerous barbarians especially early on.
  • There is no good way to get a quick early economy like you could in regular civ. So early game you are going to struggle a lot more for money.
Overall these two factors combine to make a game where you have to expand later and more slowly. If you go founding 4-5 cities out of the gate like you would in regular civ you'll get overrun and / or bankrupt. So you'll lag behind the AI on techs and that's that. For reference I personally usually have 3 cities at the time when in vanilla civ I'd have 5-6.

You will also have to get used to running at bellow 100% research. That's just how the game works. The regular vanilla thing where you are always at 100% and don't care about money just won't happen in FFH.

In terms of military units heroes and mages are big game changers. The rest of the units, especially early game are just chaff that exists to pad things out. So focus on getting your hero units out early and leveling them as much as possible. A general rule of thumb is that a well leveled hero is the equal of a medium sized stack of the same tech level.

Also, fireball mages are just great and you should use them extensively.
 

Castaras

Chieftain
Joined
Mar 30, 2010
Messages
22
Location
Britain
> The world is far more hostile. You'll see more barbarians and more dangerous barbarians especially early on.

This I already knew, I'm a veteran of FFH2 without improved AI, it's just the improved AI and I suspect balance changes that's been causing me major issues because it seems that I was relying a lot on poor AI to beat them which I hadn't realised

> There is no good way to get a quick early economy like you could in regular civ. So early game you are going to struggle a lot more for money.

Early game isn't too bad, it's midgame that I have issues.

> Overall these two factors combine to make a game where you have to expand later and more slowly. If you go founding 4-5 cities out of the gate like you would in regular civ you'll get overrun and / or bankrupt. So you'll lag behind the AI on techs and that's that. For reference I personally usually have 3 cities at the time when in vanilla civ I'd have 5-6.

I'm founding 2/3 cities by about turn 100, I'm guessing this is too fast based on this?

> The regular vanilla thing where you are always at 100% and don't care about money just won't happen in FFH.

I'm used to running on 80/90, is this what I should be aiming for or am I likely to be running on 40/50 a lot of the time?

> So focus on getting your hero units out early and leveling them as much as possible.

In the case of amurites, would this be rushing govannon? I'm finding I'm being attacked before I get to that stage.

> Also, fireball mages are just great and you should use them extensively.

Pure fireball or should I also look into law or entropy II for summoning units?

Thank you for the advice, sorry for asking lots of clarifying questions! I managed to get a win earlier after rushing Illians by only building 3 cities, and wanting to make sure that using what i learned from that + any advice I'm able to get I can have victory happen more often.
 

PPQ_Purple

Purple Cube
Joined
Oct 11, 2008
Messages
5,026
This I already knew, I'm a veteran of FFH2 without improved AI, it's just the improved AI and I suspect balance changes that's been causing me major issues because it seems that I was relying a lot on poor AI to beat them which I hadn't realised
Yes, in MNAI these effects seem to have been magnified. I am not sure why but they are.

Early game isn't too bad, it's midgame that I have issues.
Than you are as used to FFH as I am. :) Having just finished my first game of the base game in years I remember being shocked by the plethora of gold and research buildings in the early age. In FFH you have the elders guild and basically NOTHING else for the first age. And even than you get them drip fed.

I'm founding 2/3 cities by about turn 100, I'm guessing this is too fast based on this?
I don't really keep track of turn numbers. But just comparing my last game of MNAI vs the last game of vanilla CIV I played my experience is as follows.

I tend to expand in stages. As in, start -> add 3-4 cities -> build and improve those cities -> add further 3-4 cities ->repeat. And I do that until I run out of space, get into my first war or generally am disrupted by something. Playing FFH I was basically one expansion stage behind in FFH at all times and the interruption spot when I stop expanding tends to also happen one stage earlier. If that makes any sense.

So like, if in vanilla civ on a huge map I'd settle say 10 cities before I start going to wars in FFH I'd be around 6-7 at most.

I'm used to running on 80/90, is this what I should be aiming for or am I likely to be running on 40/50 a lot of the time?
In my experience yes. Well, more like 60-70% but it can go down to 50% at times. Also, when preparing for a big upgrade like going to mages don't be afraid to drop it all the way down to 0% and just bank cash.

In the case of amurites, would this be rushing govannon? I'm finding I'm being attacked before I get to that stage.
Govanon is a really late game hero so I feel your pain there. Maybe pick a civ with an earlier hero like the Calabim until you get a better hang of the game. Until than my advice is:
  • Mages are your friend. Fireball mages are fantastic. But if you don't have fire mana Air 2 (15-30% damage to all enemies in range) is a viable alternative. Or just summons. Any summon is better than none.
  • Try and get a religion with an early hero. Getting Valin, Rosier or Severous out early can really give you an edge.
  • Tier 2 Priests can be really useful. Use them if and when you can.
Pure fireball or should I also look into law or entropy II for summoning units?
The thing about mages is that even though they have a plethora of spells to choose from they can only cast once per turn. So it actually makes sense to specialize them and have a large core of utility mages designed for specific roles instead of creating a small core of generalists.

And in this case that means Fire 2 + Spell Extension (extra movement for summons) + Strength.

You get a :strength:4 (+ strength promotions), :move:2 (+ spell extension) unit that does 30% collateral damage to any stack it hits and has no damage cap meaning it can outright kill units. And you get one per mage per turn. Get your self a stack of 4-5 mages with these promotions and you basically have an artillery battery. Combine that battery with a fast moving hero like Valin or Rosier who's promoted for blitz and you have a mobile stack genocide machine.

Now just just need to add a couple padding units to the whole thing to do stuff like raid, garrison captured cities, provide healing bonuses etc. and you have your self an army.

Also, see if you can snag death mana early. Skeletons won't be too useful too you once you get fireballs but summon skeleton is a cheap and effective way to get some free disposable extra troops when you need them. And unlike most summons they are permanent. So you can keep them around to garrison cities and such. They will help hold you over until you get to fireballs.

Once you have enough of a stack to have your artillery battery you can think about investing a mage on the side to get stuff like metamagic 1 (super useful for floating eye) and body 1 (+1 movement speed for the whole stack). But at the start focus on the main force.

Thank you for the advice, sorry for asking lots of clarifying questions! I managed to get a win earlier after rushing Illians by only building 3 cities, and wanting to make sure that using what i learned from that + any advice I'm able to get I can have victory happen more often.
No problem. I am always happy to help.

Honestly though I am not the best player my self although I do get by. But I have enough experience simply from the many years of playing that I can answer your questions. So take anything I say with a grain of salt and experiment for your self based off what I tell you.


Also, one tip if you want an easy game go Calabim + FOL. Self growing forests everywhere = high population cities with stupid amounts of :) that won't mind you eating them for XP all the while you keep producing more units in them to keep the feast going. Get some elven slaves and it's borderline OP.
 
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FireBlaze

King
Joined
Oct 6, 2008
Messages
778
I would say one small tip I found semi-recently that shot my gameplay up a whole tier was try to only run on 100 or 0 for sliders. The amount of beakers/coins/gold you save from dodging the rounding errors really does add up over time. Also generally try to avoid letting build queues and research spill over into nothing (prompting a popup for "what next") to also save from wasted hammers/beakers. Consistently doing this will help you effectively manage the resources you do have and allow for better expansion and smoother curving.
 
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