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The 3 "Great" Wonders

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by Bleys, Nov 15, 2008.

  1. Bleys

    Bleys Deity

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    The Great Wall = GW
    The Great Lighthouse = GLH
    The Great Library = GL

    Lately I have noticed that my games have evolved into 2 main types, in which I get 2 of the 3 "Greats", and rarely chase more before Paper. In most games, I generally go for the Aesthetics-early GLibrary-generated GSs for Lib" plan at some point after the break-out phase. Its a very effective path that allows reasonable trading and a strong Wonder that is usually not high-priority for the AIs.

    The choice of the other Wonder depends on the lay of the land. If its a single landmass or big continent thing, where I have met over half my opponents before Writing, I go for the Great Wall. If its looking like there's a lot of coastal real estate with plenty of "Chicken of the Sea" resources available, I focus my effort on the GLH.

    I think both are solid game-changing wonders at my level (Emp). The GW can pop an early Spy, and when settled, usually means you will not have a need to pay much attention to the Espionage screen and will eventually get to see the Current Research of every AI. That makes trades and racing to techs a breeze. I love selling off one-turn of a tech to an AI for a big pile of gold, heh, its almost an exploit if you have every AIs recearch info. Its especially strong when you vassal a techer early, and can tell him what to research while you get the "first to" bonuses.

    The GLH needs no introduction. If there are reasonable, well fed locations for you to put 80%+ of your Empire on a coast, its a game-breaker, even at Immortal. In fact, all of my Immortal victories (not many, to be sure) have come on maps the AI sucks at, watery GLH type non-isolated isolation sprawling empire maps. Even at Emperor, I struggle to build cities fast enough to crash my economy once the GLH is down, especially if there are other-landmass spots. An other-landmass city, with the GLH, is break-even maint ~ 50% slider the turn its built. If your EXP, you can whip that Granary and Harbor ASAP and watch the vertical growth/TR profits zoom. Send Work Boats out with the galleys carrying Settlers, and jump-start these crazy cities. Its the "style" of game I have the most fun playing, especially now that I have discovered Large maps with Low sea level. Lots of coast in those.

    I used to be quite a horrific Wonder-hog. Climbing the difficulty ladder has toned me down quite a bit (until late-game that is, then I try to get every Elect-Radio-Comminism Wonder I can). Still, these three "Great" Wonders are very strong to be sure.
     
  2. DMOC

    DMOC Mathematician

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    I agree with you on the Great Wonders (although I often go for other wonders). But I'm wondering what makes selling 1 turn of a tech to an AI for gold almost an exploit? The gold can't be that much and you give the AI the tech a turn early. I've never done this before so correct me if I'm wrong.
     
  3. Bleys

    Bleys Deity

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    In the early days, its not much, you're correct, but later in the game, when they are teching 500+ beakers, you can sell an AI their last turn of stuff like Chemistry or Nationalism for a good pile of gold if they have it. Its not uncommon to get 300, 400, even more gold in these trades, especially if they get beat to a Wonder or something. They are going to have the tech in 1 turn anyway (much like the AI will sometimes try to sell/trade you a tech you are one or two turns from completing), so why not cash in? Best of all, they dont count against WFYABTA.
     
  4. Calder

    Calder Warlord

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    My 3 Great Wonders would be chosen by those that are generalised with no bias towards any given victory, rather 3 Great Wonders that no matter what victory type I'm going for, I find myself always wanting them, whether i build them myself or capture the city they're in. They would be Wonders that can't be reproduced to almost equal (Great Library, Taj Mahal) and Wonders that don't lend themselves to one victory type (e.g going Cultural with Sistine Chapel). These I would catoragise as specialised wonders which are always wanted given the need. My choice also takes into account that I always play either large or huge maps on Marathon speed on the tricky levels.
    So my 3 Great Wonders in order of preference and priority:
    1. Three Gorges Dam
    (late game Production Boost without the health penalties)
    2. The Pentagon
    (Constanly building strong Military without the need to chop and change out of
    Vassalage or Theocracy)
    3. The Great Pyramids
    (earlier use of Representation government gets you off to a strong start
    when used with Caste System and Scientists)
     
  5. madscientist

    madscientist RPC Supergenius

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    Everything is situational and sometimes those great three are more burden than benefit, and sometimes other wonders are much more valuable

    1) Great Wall: Isolation not much use unless there is a real problem with Barbs. Also a real slugfest means low Ai techrate and thus not much of an opportunity to steal techs. However, generally I agree it's one of the more powerful early wonders AND the only early wonder that does not obsolete.

    2) Great Lighthouse: Limited if you do not have good trading partners, reduces efficiency if your involved in alot of wars, and of course you need coastal cities. However, once you do get it (it is pricey) it' always worth it.

    3) Great Liberary: Please refer to my Qin RPC to see how much this wonder can screw up a cultural win or at least greatly delay it.

    Some other early wonder that are GREAT!

    Pyramids: With CoL for caste system, earl;y representation with caste is still one of the most powerful combos early on!

    Oracle/Colossus: They go together alot if you slingshot MC from the Oracle! Massive early increase in commerce (colossus) and production (early forges). Alternatively, Oracle CoL for Confuscianism and use the GG points towards a Prophet for teh shrine.

    Stonehenge: Cheap and can save ALOT of time with those free monuments, plus the GPPs towards a Prophet. Again, valuable if you got an early religion.

    The otherearly ones are generally not all that useful in my opinion.
     
  6. JammerUno

    JammerUno King

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    I've always found the GW to be extremely helpful in an isolated situation. No need to build any troops until astro? Great! You can run a scientist for ten turns for every axe you don't have to build.

    My top 3 wonders would be, in no particular order;

    - The Piramids, hands down. Representation that early is great.
    - Temple of Artemis/TGL, depending on landmass and city sizes.
    - Stonehenge, it pays for itself. I rarely play creative leaders so I'll have to smack down monuments everywhere anyway.
     
  7. BakingTheArt

    BakingTheArt His Evening Coat

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    Depends on the map. If archpegilo-type, with a ton of sea,

    1.Colossus
    2. GLH
    3. Temple of Artemis

    With more land,

    1. Great Wall
    2. Pyramids
    3. Stonehenge

    Usually I don't build many (Read: Any) wonders, but if I do, it'll be the early ones. Usually the SoL is the only late game wonder I build, but the late wonders just come too late to be of use to me.
     
  8. mirthadir

    mirthadir Emperor

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    The GW is overrated. If you are in the midst of many AIs there are few barbs to worry about, AI fogbusting helps you out. If you are isolated the GSp is the biggest booby prize in the game. GG production is huge, but not really key until the AI can spam units with no hope of winning after gunpowder; better to just take the GW. The effective manpower is good, but all told there are many other things I'd prefer to build. If you really want to win the espionage race, Oracle CoL and whip out courthouses before all the AIs. Use the GPr (assuming you get one instead of a GSp) to shrine and you can even afford to drop 10% of your slider into espionage for one turn in two (more if you can spread religion to a pagan AI due to your early missionary).

    Really the huge killer on the GW is that if you don't have stone nor are IND, you have to sacrifice many early :hammers: for it; otherwise the AI will nab it (wonderspamming AIs tend to go for the first wonders they can build; which almost invariably means someone is building SH, GW, and ToA as their first wonder). On immort I only count on the GW if I'm going to build it in leiu of a 3rd settler (max), I have IND/stone, or I'm going to (mostly) chop it out.

    SH is normally not worth it. Yes, it is cheap, but its early. For its price you can send out 3 settlers to block out vast swathes of land. Monuments are a one pop whip so ANY food surplus makes them almost trivial to get. In many cases you don't need monuments in all cities; only those facing AI culture or in need of quick border pops (otherwise just use religion, libs, slider, or caste artist).

    Far more powerful are:
    1. The Mids. Rep specs are ownage. You want to run a SE for a good lib slingshot, this is huge. Rarely can you manage a Sci Method slingshot without the Mids; when you get it you get a freebie shot at communism, physics, or biology/medicine. If you MUST have good espionage, just build the Mids instead, and run spies with all your courthouses.
    2. Oracle. CoL, MC, Theo, Paper - take your pick. The :science: saved is huge, the early leverage is great, the trade benefits immense, and all of them come with good wonders. Add to that other key abilities (courthouses/religion founding/civic, forges/triremes, civic/religion founding, map trading) and I'll take a good Oracle shot over either SH or the GW any day.

    Depending upon the situation the most powerful wonder is actually the AP. With a good setup, it is game winning (in the caravel era); even without going for that you just pick up so many useful options (like, hi, I'm voting not to have this war, thanks for declaring, come again).
     
  9. Gliese 581

    Gliese 581 Your average civ junkie

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    Well my most common build is the great library. Lately I've been trying and failing to get any wonder at all but it's not a perfect correlation to losing by any means.
     
  10. Roxlimn

    Roxlimn Deity

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    mirthadir:

    Of course, SH does something other than just put Monuments in all your cities. It increases your Capital's culture in the initial phases of the game, and it provides you with very early GPP generation. Those are not insignificant benefits.
     
  11. troytheface

    troytheface Deity

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    Shadowayne Paya - skip religion and bump up tech. Statue of Zeus - Cheap and you know war is a com'n, Collossus one of the better graphics and cheap.
     
  12. Iranon

    Iranon Deity Whipping Boy

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    What about the Great Bloody Pile of Bloody Axes?

    ***

    Personally I never really found the Great Library to be game-changing, but it's a rock solid wonder well worth the investment. Bonus points for being generally easy to get.

    The Great Lighthouse is imo the earliest game breaker; allowing to found any amount of cities without overtaxing the economy leads to snowball effects that are beyond ridiculous.

    The Great Wall is a very difficulty-specific wonder for me. On Immortal it saves a lot of headaches, there will reliably be plenty of stuff to steal and I often like to fight a lot.
    On lower levels it's unnecessary - barbarians aren't much of an issue, wars are usually short and decisive and I can equalise in tech early enough that I'm not too excited about Great Spies.
    On Deity, the AIs do a good job of keeping barbarians out of my hair and I'm often not in a position to knock enough heads to make the Great General bonus worthwhile.
     
  13. Bleys

    Bleys Deity

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    Since moving to Emperor, I find I axe-rush less and less. Before, if there was a target in range, I would send that GBPOBA Wonder over and take me a 2nd Cap, whether I needed the space or not. Now, however, if I find I have space for some decent cities, and can carve out even more with a well-placed blocker city or two, I expand instead. About the only time I bother to Axe rush these days is if I am boxed in baddly.

    Mirth, with regard to the GW, I totally agree that its overrated as a barb-fighting device, but if you look carefully at my "conditions" for building it, basically on a landmass with most of the rest of the AIs, then I build it for one, much bigger reason. To generate a GSpy, settle him, and never worry about Espionage again the rest of the game. Heck, I have gone whole games and NEVER built a regular spy. I much prefer to stock up EP points until I can see my opponents research. A GSpy settled in the early BC's does it, usually without even a single move of the slider.

    Also, I will build the GW when I have TONS of space, sometimes, just for sanity, LOL. I remember one game in particular, the Ramesses Nobles Club, I played it at Prince, built the GW (had stone early in that game, and in the hands of Ramesses, Stone is God), and it actually turned into an offensive Wonder. I had a line of cities, but there were gaps, and Zara tried to send Settlers in on those gaps, but I had left a couple Barb Cities alive, and they were kicking out Swords, and every city Zara tried to settle in the gaps of my line was smushed by them. Literally, the barbs killed at least 5 of Zara's cities or settler-archer combos.

    But for me, the GW is all about the GSpy. If I get a 2nd Spy from the pollution, Scotland Yard goes up and I will be able to see inside the AI cities by Rifling.
     
  14. Hereditary Rule

    Hereditary Rule Warlord

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    I still wish the GW would require 3 walls (like how Zeus requires three monuments). This would make for cool looking walls around 3+ cities instead of the drab circle around the capital. It would also give protective a little boost.
     
  15. mirthadir

    mirthadir Emperor

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    Yes it does both of those, you know what else does the same exact thing? The Oracle. On the higher difficulties you normally get to pick one (unless IND, massive forests, etc.) and I'd FAR rather have a tech slingshot I can trade and all the nice benefits that come with a monopoly tech than just free monuments. Now if I think I'm headed for culture victory (as opposed to just safe culture space) I will take it for cheap culture; but otherwise Oracle owns SH.

    Not worth it. Think about it, how many :espionage: do you get from a settled GSpy? How many :science: do you get from an early academy? How much :gold: do you get from a Shrine? Under most cases, the numbers say use your early GPP on something more useful. 2.5% or 5% slider is cheap and gets you the same net result. The most effective use of an early GSp (outside of an EE) is to steal a half dozen techs from the AI for minimal :hammers: cost. Don't get me wrong a settled GSp is a good spec to have, but if I'm not going for a SSE, I'd far rather go for one of the above GP leverage tricks and just get :espionage: in a mundane fashion.


    Iranon: The beauty of the GLib is that you can stack a spec pool to produce several GSc without going into caste. This allows for quick and easy bulbs to lib and as a bonus it comes off the unpopular aesthetics tech line. I won't say it is game breaking, but it essentially allows you to have a GSc farm without going caste; which is huge.

    The GBPOBA is less valuable on higher difficulties. If I'm on a split map (say 4 AIs over there with 2 others and me he); killing any halfway friendly AIs near me ensures I'm going to be fighting for tech later. The easiest guys to kill are the ones you want alive to smack (or more often be smacked) by the more dangerous AIs. Protective/hill hugging/cre/religious AIs make the return on your :gold: and :hammers: pretty bad. Not to mention that axemen are slow (you may not even have roads to the border) and agg axes nerf the GBPOBA hard. Winning long wars loses me games on Deity
     
  16. JammerUno

    JammerUno King

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    A settled Gspy will provide 12 :espionage:. It will increase your espionage output until Alphabet by 300%, if you don't put the slider up, until CoL. If you're on a continent with only one AI, you can get a couple of thousand points on him early, you'll know his every move. If there's more, you'll see what they are teching early.

    I've always found a GSpy to be one of the best early GP around, just after GE's, but certainly better than a prophet or scientist. Founding a religion is rare for me, and getting a scientist is easy after writing. Getting a 50% bonus on your beakers is great, but it can wait until I get more base beakers.
     
  17. Roxlimn

    Roxlimn Deity

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    mirthadir:

    Define "normally" and "higher difficulties." obsolete has demonstrated that the Wonder/Hammer game was viable all the way to Immortal as long as you were either Industrious or Philosophical. Heck, I can play Monarch without either of those traits, without massive forests, without Stone or Marble, and still get them both.

    It isn't always optimal to get them both, but sometimes I like the culture power and GP combination of Henge (earlier Great Prophet, in particular) and sometimes I prefer Oracle. I don't always get stuck in a continent with great techers so I don't always expect to trade CoL or Feudalism, or Civil Service or Alphabet with something substantial. Too, Marble within easy access also means you get Oracle easily.

    Stone means I would frequently forgo Oracle altogether, opting to go for the Stone wonders (Henge, Pyramids, Hanging Gardens).

    It's not as clear cut, IMO, as you seem to make it out to be. Henge isn't JUST for the early monuments, and I frankly am surprised that you would oversimplify it to just that.
     
  18. mirthadir

    mirthadir Emperor

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    What are you talking about? Before alphabet spy points are virtually useless. Who cares if you have a 300% or a 3000% increase when all it does is reveal techs? Its not like the AI techs pre-alphabet are all that hard to guess (you know they will run out to IW, all the worker techs, and then grab monarchy, one will go CoL and one will go Theo eventually; wonder whores might begin aesthetics or MC but not likely).

    By the time you can actually use the points, the GSp is not even a 10% increase in your total economy. A GSc, conservatively, is 15% (bulb or academy) - a GPr is, conservatively 20% (if not becoming a good CoL shrine; he's has the highest :science: bulb of all the ancient GP. Theo can be traded for 3x or more its own beaker value and opens up the paper/edu/lib line).

    Now don't get me wrong, an infiltrating GSp or running an EE makes the GSp huge; but just settling him gives you loads of EP, but nothing much to do with it until later. The relative value of a GSp declines over time (like all settled GP) while the relative value of academies and shrines rise.
     
  19. digitCruncher

    digitCruncher Emperor

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    Don't ever underestimate the "View City" (the one that sees outside the city) passive effect... it is REALLY good...

    With it, not only can you see how strong a civ is, but what units they have, where they are, how many they are, how well prepared they are against an invasion, how split up they are, if they are coming to invade you, when and where they will invade you, and how many troops you need to overwhelm them.

    Right up until Railroad, you get between 3~4 turns notice of an impending invasion. Which means you can whip a counter-attack stack really quickly.

    I love the View City ability MUCH more than it's more expensive brother: "Investigate City"...
     
  20. mirthadir

    mirthadir Emperor

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    Look, I'm not selling espionage, in general, short. Just the utility of settling a GSp with the GW vis a vis the OTHER options for an early wonder focus. By the time you can view cities, you have far more lucrative things to generate EP than settling GSp (i.e. SY). Seriously, you are talking about nerfing your expansion for the second earliest wonder to go in games, for what? The ability to easily generate EP in the early BCs? Sorry, not as good as chasing the Oracle or Mids.


    Roxlimn:

    Higher difficulties are Immortal (normal speed) or Deity (any speed). "Normal conditions" are not IND, non-isolated, no easy chokepoints (defined as requiring two or fewer settlers), no obscene resource distribution in the BFC, and no contrived opponent scenarios (so you have to build real military). Getting SH and Oracle on Immort (non-IND, no masses of forest) generally requires that you forego two blocking settlers and hence around 4 cities. Doable, but not without paying a huge price. I could be wrong, but I think Obsolete did not require getting both of those for his strat. If you are running the wonderwhoring SSE your priorities are: Mids (rep is a must with settled specs), Oracle (Good GPP and opens up another wonder or three to spam), and TGL; SH is a situational wonder that may not be worth getting if you plan to wonderspam. In that scenario it is inferior to the ToA or GW.

    I am not disputing that SH is great way to get an Early GPr nor that it gives you massive culture (particularly if you chop it in your second city, its huge), but ALL OF THAT is also present with the Oracle. Given the title of the OP the question is which three wonders are the MOST powerful. I've gone on record (many times) saying why all the wonders have uses in specific situations, but generally the Oracle trumps SH. It is not worth basing an entire game strategy around SH, ever, it is worth doing that for the GLH, Oracle, or Mids.

    In general, there are times to build SH (normally on a forested border where I want to culture flip cities or when I have a good setup for cultural victory), but by and large I find I get far more value from skipping it and just getting more cities out and blocking sooner.
     

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