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Sufficient expansion on all levels

Discussion in 'Civ4 - General Discussions' started by TheMeInTeam, Feb 6, 2010.

  1. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    I see a lot of questions about this, so here's a quick little exercise to practice a strong, generic opening:

    1. Research worker techs that 1) improve your food and then 2) hook up other resources
    2. Get bronze working and pottery
    3. Cottage your green flatland tiles
    4. After pottery, go straight to monarchy
    5. Revolt to Hereditary rule and grow your cities onto as many improved tiles as possible. Only work improved tiles. If you are growing too quickly, build or whip more workers.

    Mandatory buildings in all cities:

    -granary

    Optional buildings:

    - Barracks (put this in cities that build military units, put this in most cities)
    - Monument (build it if you need a border pop)
    - Library ONLY in capitol or strongest commerce city + 1 city running scientists for GPP.

    The rest of your hammer go into units. Workers, settlers, and military. 1.5 workers/city is a good starting rule of thumb, but eventually you get a feel for how many you need on a given map.

    After monarchy, tech writing. If the AI has alphabet, trade for it if you can. If you think you can get it 1st after monarchy, research it yourself. Your tech priorities after alphabet are currency and code of laws, but do trade for whatever you can get.

    Don't build courthouses. Don't build markets. Don't build libraries outside of anything but your capitol and 1 GP farm.

    Code of laws is often around the time where you don't want to whip any more because your cities are big. Switch to caste and try to run at least 4 scientists in 2-3 cities if possible. Pacifism helps - if you can use it your tech will go wild.

    Now, since you aren't building any buildings, your hammers are going into military. A mix of siege + whatever strategic resources allow is an excellent basis for defense and opportunism. The less land you have, the less workers/settlers you build so the more military you get. If someone is looking weak techwise or unit# wise, go ahead and take cities. This will happen often especially below immortal.

    The great scientists you spawn get used as follows:

    - academy in bureaucracy capitol
    - bulb philosophy (can do it before academy if you can use pacifism or if you found the religion)
    - bulb education
    - bulb liberalism (must have aesthetics/math/alpha/metal casting/compass but not machinery, if that's too much to remember don't worry about it)
    - Bulb your pick of astronomy, printing press, scientific method, chemistry, physics based on available trades and your needs.

    Sounds like a lot? A SINGLE city using pacifism or the philosophical trait can farm 5 great scientists in 63 turns on normal speed. 42 turns if you mix them or bother with national epic...or you simply run them in multiple cities this way. This means without infra and in a semi-worst case scenario you are getting your 4th great person before 1000 AD.

    If you need more hammers for units, it is a good idea to use farms instead of cottages in hilly cities to quickly work all the hills, or to stay in slavery and whip if you can press for war.

    The point here, however, is to play out an exercise where you build as little infra as possible ---> it matters less than you think and you should be able to get respectable defenses this way. Where most people screw up is getting :)/health cap boosters too slowly and not prioritizing tile improvements/growth enough.

    Note: If you are *really* sure you don't need more units, try just building wealth.

    Later in the game, once you have democracy, communism, etc you can go ahead and put together some production and build improvements if you need them.
     
  2. yanner39

    yanner39 Emperor

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    This pretty much sums up you last Sully game. You didn't do to bad in that game, right? :)

    So is the timeline for this generic start done roughly between 4000BC and 1000AD?

    Thanks for this btw. We all know what a good start does.
     
  3. 3 EMS

    3 EMS King

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    I think this post might help some of those "New to Civ" poster's questions. You know the threads where a poster asks " I have a settler, now what do I do?" The replies go something like: You need to settle and run a specialized economy. CE ftw! Build some warriors and go take out your enemy. Or, get BW and whip like mad. In other words they describe Advanced game topics to a poster that doesn't understand a very basic game mechanic.

    I was exaggerating there as a new gamer would have to understand the basics to understand TMiT's post. It does describe how to get off to a good start. Once a player is doing something like this then he can start learning about some of the more advanced strategies or experimenting with them.
    TMiT's post could probably be just copy and pasted into a lot of "I have 4 cities and my units are striking" kind of threads.

    Good post TMiT but I'm biased. Its describes the core of my opening strategy. Just that being experienced allows to see how much I can deviate from it to get off to a faster or more powerfull start.
     
  4. Culture Bomb

    Culture Bomb Warlord

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    This may be a stupid question, as I assume you are not taking wonders into account but:

    If you manage to get the Pyramids, should you do the tech path differently? eg, you don't need to tech monarchy for hereditary rule. (Or would it be better to go straight to representation in this case for the science bonus with all the specialists?)
     
  5. yanner39

    yanner39 Emperor

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    I've been playing Civ for a while now, and I find that I tend to over-complicate things to get an edge by using strategies on these boards. I understand many of these strategies but I find their application is so situational that it is hard sometimes to use them effectively (or maybe I'm just not good enough :)).

    Taking a thread like this one along with TMIT's latest youtube game is so beneficial to someone like me who wins on Noble, but wants to get better to attach Prince and beyond.
     
  6. 3 EMS

    3 EMS King

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    Posted by yanner39
    I make my cities hybrids. I use the strategies to recognise and then maximize a cities potential output. Except to counter cultural pressure I don't really specialise my cities. I do this because of what you said. It comes in handy to understand them though. Sometimes I do get stuck settling a city on all grassland tiles.
    I play at the same level as you. I've beaten Prince. Who knows, if I played it enough I might become comfortable at that level as I am with Noble. I just want more empire building and less war. I was able to do that well in CIV III. War seems the way to go in CIV IV. In fact I'm pretty sure its the key to moving up in levels. Above Noble the AI gets bonuses. The best way to counter those is with more land. 10 cities with 30 beakers will research a 3000 beaker tech in the same time as 6 cities with 50 beakers. There is more pressure to expand faster and take land from the AIs. I think this is where applying some of the more advanced strategies help the most. Civ punishes expanding and growing too rapidly and you need to apply some creative techniques to counter that. At Noble you really don't need them.
     
  7. bestsss

    bestsss Emperor

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    @TMIT,
    Seriously, which difficulty levels the guide is supposed to target? It's written *all* but I question it.
    It's a good guide how to expand instead of building semi-useless buildings.

    Yet, overbuilding cottages and relying heavily on them is amongst the things people have real hardships to pass.
    Imo, The guide should stress how to get the workers&settlers quick: which is chop and whip.
     
  8. bestsss

    bestsss Emperor

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    deleted (the site misbehaved, double post)
     
  9. fenrus

    fenrus Chieftain

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    Is Monarchy that important? How many troops do you station in your cities? What if you're lucky enough to have luxuries? If I have lots of plantations to build, I could consider getting Calendar for happiness.

    As a suggestion too, I'd like to see you do a game that has a water start. Do you go Worker first (if you have lots of trees and maybe some tiles to improve), or go for Work Boats first?
     
  10. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    You're right about making a few cities without them of course, for specialists or more units, but that adaptation can come as one gets used to it. For people who play without the goal of critical analysis, it will take them very far w/o thinking much.

    Also, note the forum placement for this ---> It's not intended to be a guide or article, but rather a thought to trigger why people struggle with expansion and offer an alternative ;).

    What I tire of seeing is players stuck in the "4 city at 1 AD" funk who aren't building enough workers/settlers, and the people who just die on DoW.
     
  11. Sporknife

    Sporknife Chieftain

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    I think going monarchy before writing is a bit ridiculous. I usually go up to alphabet -> currency then backfill so i can go directly to monarchy.
     
  12. beetz

    beetz Chieftain

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    "Don't build courthouses" could someone explain this to me as its one of the things I always do! does it mean never build them apart from in capital or never build until you have a decent start going? As they always seem helpful to my economy once I get them up esp as citys get further from my capital, thanks.
     
  13. yanner39

    yanner39 Emperor

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    Good post. I too like the empire building as opposed to constant warring, but I do like the modern warring, when I can control WW a bit more.

    One of my biggest weakness is horizontal expanding and where to place my cities. I tend to look for the perfect production center and the perfect commerce center, etc...I have to do a better job "playing the land", and this means settling near atleast one food resource, overlap if necessary, and understand the fact that hydrid cities can become powerful as well. I mean, don't get me wrong, in alot of my games, I may have one strong production city but a bunch of hybrids.

    For me, what TMIT presented here was a way of simplifying my starts, and that chasing world wonders is really not a big deal. I do try and go for wonders like the GLH or GL because of the economic/science impact they have early in the game. But I tend to focus on National Wonders more, namely Oxford, WS and Rushmore (situational/war).

    Anyways, I glad to see you are doing good on Prince, without specializing cities and using hybrids. It should bode well for me when I try and move up. :)
     
  14. PieceOfMind

    PieceOfMind Drill IV Defender Retired Moderator

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    I think the point is that courthouses are very expensive (roughly 4 pop whips if I recall) builds and typically in the earlier parts of the game will only save you a couple of gold.

    As with much of TMIT's advice, the point is to get an advantage early rather than later and use that advantage to get a return on your investment sooner. The advice to not build markets is a perfect example of this. Most players seem so say that the capital is the only place you should build a market, if any cities at all.

    Having one or two more cities because of a successful attack is better than having saved a few gold in several cities from building courthouses.

    The other thing is, whipping the courthouse can sacrifice several citizens that were working cottages. This could cost you a fair bit of income in the short term and medium-term (because you lost cottage-growth turns) making it even longer for the courthouse to pay off.
     
  15. Wlauzon

    Wlauzon Prince

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    I disagree about not building courthouses. I would agree with not building them early.

    Probably not worth it for a size 6 city, but can make a big difference on a 15. Depends on what type of government you are running also.

    As far as building Markets, that also is situational. In one recent game I had nearly all cities with courthouses and markets, and was running at 100% research with tons of gold left over.

    Some good tips in there, but like always, every game setup is different.
     
  16. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    A courthouse needs to be able to save a lot of money before it is worth it. 3-4 gold isn't worth the alternatives usually. Markets are even worse unless you're getting a lot of :) from them too.

    But mid game when you have techs like democracy, economics, and communism, city infra comes easier regardless.

    For much of the game though, insufficient units (be they workers, settlers, or military) is a very typical mistake.
     
  17. MyOtherName

    MyOtherName Emperor

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    Pull out the tech tree, and look at the :science: costs for
    Writing -> Alphabet -> Currency​
    Now, look at the :science: cost for
    Mysticism -> Meditation -> Priesthood -> Monarchy​
    You'll find the latter is significantly cheaper. If you're up to it, try factoring in the penalties for not researching all of the prerequisites, and the difference is even bigger! :eek:

    What does alphabet give you? The ability to turn 1 :hammers: into 1 :science:. What does currency give you? An extra :commerce: or two per city and the ability to turn 1 :hammers: into 1 :gold:.

    Monarchy gives you an extra :) or two per city, and lets you convert 15 :hammers: into a permanent :) boost and an increase to your military. Each :) turns into 2 :commerce: per turn rather quickly.

    Compared to Monarchy, alphabet/currency is very expensive and rather underwhelming -- the exception being when you have lots of happiness resources and thus :yuck: is the limiting factor.

    But alphabet gives tech trading -- are you sure that earlier tech trading are worth putting monarchy off so long?


    As for writing -- if you're going monarchy then it's only really useful for the library. But a library/2 scientists will consume resources that could have been put into expanding faster... is it worth it? Not always.
     
  18. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    Writing before monarchy can make sense.

    The AI is slow to get monarchy sometimes, and not going it early has forced me to WAIT to get it even on immortal. There also runs complications like "AI doesn't have it yet, then alphabet or aesthetics gets traded around, and now I have to research something ELSE just to trade for it, or research it directly".

    Given the beaker advantage of going straight to it and the fact that I can actually trade the tech itself for alphabet in a lot of cases, I find myself wanting to delay this tech less and less.
     
  19. rabidveggie

    rabidveggie King

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    I'd say bronze working is more important then linking up initial cities to resources. Lets you increase the time to make workers which means more pop growth so that you can make better use of resources when they do come online. Maybe on higher then prince its better to go the other way.
     
  20. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    Hooking up something like irrigated corn or a pig tile is going to beat going to bronze working first on all levels, not just above prince.
     

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