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"Suicide Internet" strategy for Emperor Space Race win

Discussion in 'Civ4 Strategy Articles' started by cooberp, Feb 6, 2006.

  1. cooberp

    cooberp Chieftain

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2006
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    I just got my first win on Emperor (Huge earth map with 11 civs, normal game speed) via the space race by using what might be a rather unconventional strategy. For the vast majority of the game I am just doing everything I possibly can to stay as close as possible to the AI on technology, pursuing the following tech strategy: first Animal Husbandry (I was starting near lots of pigs and sheep and it gets me to Writing), then Writing (for Libraries), then Alphabet even though it takes forever because as soon as I get it I just trade like a madman, even though I have to give up way more than I get with each trade I can manage to get nearly every technology the other civs have developed by trading with all of them. I can usually trade for Fishing, Mysticism, Masonry, Bronze Working, and Priesthood right off the bat. I then proceed to research Polytheism, which doesn't take that long. As soon as I get Polytheism I build the Parthenon in just a handful of turns through deforestation, and research Literature. The Wonder and the Lit tech arrive about the same time, so then I follow up with the Great Library in the same city, also built super fast with forest chop (clearly you should have a city near a lot of forests to accomplish this). I then top it off with the National Epic in the same city (more forests!), which since I am a Philosophical civ ensures a steady supply of Great Scientists throughout the course of the game. By this point I have probably been able to trade for Sailing and Pottery as well, and I start Cottaging everything in sight. Around this time I try to establish the basic boundaries of my civ, building some fairly far-out cities with only enough defense to ward off barbarians for the time being, but ensuring that the areas between will become mine and can then be filled with cities as well. I have found that I can basically neglect defense at this point as the AI even on Emperor doesn't seem to start getting aggressive until about 2-300 AD. Next up is Metal Casting, which takes awhile but has good trade value and is necessary to build the Forges I will need for the building rush to come (both for Markets and for Axemen in case of an invasion). Usually I get one Great Prophet who can research Theology for me around this time too. Between Theology and Metal Casting I can usually trade for Mathematics, Monarchy, Code of Laws, Currency, and Construction. I then build Markets in every city as I start researching the Civil Service, whose Bureaucracy civic provides a key research boost in my capital. With the Civil Service in hand on the early side I can trade for Feudalism and and Machinery, and proceed to research Guilds, Banking, Paper, and Education, promptly building Grocers, Banks, Universities, and Oxford University with my Forged cities and some opportunistic remaining deforestation. By this point usually one Great Merchant appears and gets me enough cash that I can crank up science to 100% for a nice long while. These techs get me trades for Calendar, Optics, and Nationalism, meaning that Astronomy, Observatories, Constitution, and Representation follow in short order. At no point am I ever ahead of the top science civs (I think it's simply impossible on Emperor to be running first on science the whole way, the AI advantage is too big at the beginning), but I try to stay no more than 1-2 important techs behind (they tend to research things like Drama, Music, and Divine Right that I don't find very useful so I don't count those). At this point I just research whatever scrap is left before Scientific Method and Chemistry as I don't love losing my Great Library and Parthenon effects (this is usually in some order Economics, Philosophy, Engineering, Printing Press, Replaceable Parts, Gunpowder, The Corporation, and Rifling). With nothing urgent to build in my cities at this time I usually take the opportunity to build some mid-game military units like Knights to fend off potential invaders at the borders. I don't know how typical this strategy is but it usually keeps me within shooting distance of the AI through 15-1600. Clearly very large nasty invaders can throw a wrench in things but I usually find that if I have enough troops to just beat back an initial attack wave, I can subsequently churn out enough to crush the second one and then the AI will usually offer peace.

    After this point is where it gets interesting, and where I hope I may have something new and different to contribute to the forum. The Internet, in my view, must be a flaw in the game design--it is so absurdly good that it is rather difficult to lose if you build it. Throughout the whole game you are getting a tech every 5-9 turns, I remember in older versions of Civ Darwin's Voyage was a Wonder that gave you two free techs. By contrast, once you build the Internet you get 10 to 15 techs instantly, your Civ score shoots up 500 points and you are automatically a leading contender in the Space Race. For that reason, as soon as I finally say goodbye to my beloved Wonders by researching Scientific Method and Chemistry, I am off to the races going for the Internet. First, I go Physics-Electricity-Radio-Computers, trading Radio for Assembly Line and starting to build Factories and Coal Plants and then building Laboratories in every city. Around this time the first Apollo Programs are built; I can then typically use Radio to get about three civs to declare war on those civs, and with some defensive pacts half the world gets bogged down in a war while I continue on my merry way. I can hopefully trade for Artillery and then research Rocketry to get going on an Apollo Program of my own in a city with the Ironworks and a powered factory. While that city is trudging away on Apollo and all the others are building Research, I get Satellites and then Fiber Optics, which usually finishes about the same time as the AP.
    Once Fiber Optics arrives, the beauty of the strategy takes over. I shift from Representation to Universal Suffrage, turn my science slider down to zero, have nine cities build the five Casings, three Thrusters, and one Cockpit while the rest build Wealth. Finally, I get the Internet around 1870-1890, by which point I have saved up something like 8,000 gold. I get approximately 8 zillion technologies and turn the production city to the Docking Bay. Then I turn the slider back up to 100% and research Fission. A few turns later a second civ gets Robotics, giving it to me as well, and I promptly use the 8,000 gold to buy the Space Elevator in one turn. Then it's just a race to the finish, in which I am a bit ahead all the way down to the end. The last time, I won in 1941 AD.

    The hardest part is staying within shooting distance until Scientific Method, it seems. But if you can pull that off, I think this is an almost failsafe approach to jump-start from there to a Space Race victory. I'd love to hear if other users have done anything similar, or how the strategy might work on higher difficulty levels.
     
  2. malekithe

    malekithe Chieftain

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    I recommend using paragraphs a little more if you really want others to read that. I honestly made an attempt (got to the part where you were talking about trading away tech at a loss but coming out ahead in the end) but the blockiness got to me and I started losing my place to frequently.

    Just a suggestion... :)
     
  3. ionimplant

    ionimplant Chieftain

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    if you really want to play a peaceful game throughout, then this sounds like a good strategy since on emperor focusing on science is the only way human can compete against AI without taking over their land...
    but if you can take some trouble and cripple those leading AI, then a lot of other strategies will be good to use.
    good summary of your ideas! :)
     
  4. Morred

    Morred Chieftain

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    Just for which buildings did what, The Great Library (Civ2) did the exact same thing, except it was built (and expired) much earlier.
     
  5. cooberp

    cooberp Chieftain

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    1. Sorry about the grafs, I was writing at 4 am right after winning, you're right.

    2. Playing on a Huge map, victory by conquest or domination seems EXTREMELY difficult to me, and the other contenders in the Space Race were on the other side of the world.

    3. I'm all up for playing aggressively, but the other civs' science advantage means that by the time I can build Knights they're already on Cavalry and Riflemen...I can definitely hold my own in early pre-gunpowder wars where a ton of Catapults can get you a long way, but once things get going I don't immediately see a viable way to knock off tough opponents on Emperor. If anyone has successful military strategies for Huge map Emperor games, I'd love to hear them.

    4. I remember that old Great Library well. But it expired very quickly, if I recall.

    5. Do people agree with me that The Internet is "too good?"
     
  6. ionimplant

    ionimplant Chieftain

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    the fact that you cannot build it until you research almost to the end of tech tree make it less 'good' than the GL in civ3 in my opinion. :)
     
  7. Andrei_V

    Andrei_V Chieftain

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    It was good in your particular situation. But I'd say you were very lucky, for the AIs having all the SS techs, did not make it before you did. It frequently takes less than 8 turns after the last tech (either Fusion or Robotics) to AI to build the last part, even without the Space Elevator. In fact, it does not add too much to the city with Forge/ Factory/ Power Plant/ Ironworks/ Lab. You have already +25% (Forge) +50% (Factory with power) +100% (Ironworks with iron and coal) +50% Lab. That's 225%. The Space Elevator adds +50% more, that's 275%. Not much of a difference.

    I guess in your case the AI players were just busy warring with each other, or something.

    I built Internet myself once on Emperor, and I even got a tech through it. It was Fascism. As far as I remember, I lost that game anyway. :)
     
  8. cooberp

    cooberp Chieftain

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    They didn't have all the SS techs. In fact, the only SS part I was able to build after the Internet that I wasn't able to build before was the Docking Bay. But it is the gift that keeps on giving. First of all, it gave me the prerequisites to research Fission, and secondly, as time went on it also gave me Robotics for the Space Elevator and I think something else. The point is that you don't have to waste any production time on the Space Elevator, you just use the money you saved while building the Internet to hurry it. And when you are in a down-to-the-wire space race that extra increment in production speed is huge...another civ had everything but the Life Support unit, and the only reason I assume I beat them is because of the Elevator's boost.
     
  9. cooberp

    cooberp Chieftain

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    Also, are you sure those benefits add rather than multiply? I thought it was 1.25*1.5*2*1.5*1.5 = 8.44 times faster.
     
  10. jafink

    jafink Chieftain

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    There is an article somewhere which explains the way tech bonus's work
     
  11. Andrei_V

    Andrei_V Chieftain

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    Oh, that makes a difference. But not too much. I am afraid it is still too risky, since one of the civs may be well ahead of the other one. In this case the Interned would not help. By the time the other (and you through Internet, of course) gets the tech, the first one builds the part. I think your strategy is worth trying when you feel like you have nothing to lose, but not something you plan ahead on purpose.
    Absolutely. As far as percentages are concerned, you sum them all, and then apply. This is a fundamental principle for all sort of bonuses that goes back to the times of Civ1.
     
  12. DarkSchneider

    DarkSchneider Chieftain

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    It's hard to say, but the Internet is definately not 'too good' although its one of the wonders that becomes more and more valuable the higher up in difficulty you go. I wouldn't even consider trying for it on Monarch or below, but in an Immortal game it can be killer.

    Here's a problem I don't think has been considered yet though. Fiber optics will obselte the Kremlin, so you won't be able to leverage the new technology as effectively.
     
  13. apdavis828

    apdavis828 Chieftain

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    The Internet wonder is useless... by that time I have either already won, am very close to a cultural or space race victory, or at least have every tech that AI also has... never built it and never will.
     
  14. Andrei_V

    Andrei_V Chieftain

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    This is not a big problem, because the only thing you need Kremlin for at this point is the Space Elevator. I typically get Robotics before Fiber Optics, so I can rush buy SE in about 2 turns with 0% science. But the OP strategy is not about a "typical" case, it is about trying to save an otherwise lost game.
     
  15. Gaspar~

    Gaspar~ Chieftain

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    Internet surely is helpful (if expensive) on higher difficulty levels, but I really think where you won this game is by getting the other SS building Civs to fight each other. The best lesson is on any difficulty level that is challenging for you the key is to research some techs that the AI doesn't prioritize (Radio is one, for example) and trade them around to get the top AIs to war with each other. This is of course something that needs to be cultivated all game long, fomenting dissent between the various AIs, and keeping enough folks friendly enough to you that they'll war for a song.

    The internet isn't great, it has a very specific situational usefulness. In that situation though, it is a pretty big help.
     
  16. Archbob

    Archbob Ancient CFC Guardian

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    The internet is not nearly as good as the GL on Civ III and II. Actually on harder difficulties. If I didn't get GL, I'd just start over on Civ II and III. The internet comes so late that is usually doesn't make too much of a difference. Keeping the AI at war with each other is a different story.
     
  17. GIDS888

    GIDS888 Chieftain

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    I have never built the Internet - Cultural, Domination or Spacerace victory precedes it before it might become necessary.

    Then again, Ive only played Emperor once and was sent scuttling back to King by - you guessed it - Montezuma!

    Does Al Gore do a little dance or something?
     
  18. Cookie Crumbs

    Cookie Crumbs Emperor

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    This does sound like a good strategy, one that I've already tried in some way when I won a Diplo victory on Noble in the 1790's, and I thought I'd beeline for the Internet, turn science down to zero and see if I could build all the parts before the AIs without researching anything else. It worked quite well, but it requires two or more civs to be leading in tech. I guess this only works because the AI sucks at building super-production cities because if they didn't they'd pump out the SS parts too quickly.
     
  19. Drakan

    Drakan Voluntas Omnia Vincit

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    The problem with the Internet, as others have already pointed out, is that it comes waaay too late into the game. It has nothing to do with C3C's GL. It's only purpose I think is in case of a SS race which is a close call with other AIs.

    I mean on a standard (not huge as you point out) emperor map I hardly get to see the Industrial age before triggering a domination victory. So by the time this wonder comes along the game has already been long won or decided for.
     
  20. ese-aSH

    ese-aSH Chieftain

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    internet.. i remember Great library in civ1, early wonder, same effect... (obsolete with education.. was civ3 GL the same ?)
    internet is a good deal to totally stop research, but im not sure this is the perfect wonder for a space race since winning space race recquires beeing a tech leader.
    I woulds rather use the internet when gooing for a cultural win (a late cultural win ^^ I did my first cultural win on emperor yesterday, the last tech before switching the cultural slider to 100% was industrialisation to get infanteries). Or going on a domination/conquest win (because you need money and production).
     

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