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The 4 rules of Wonder addiction

Discussion in 'Civ3 Strategy Articles' started by Ision, Dec 7, 2003.

  1. Spoonwood

    Spoonwood Grand Philosopher

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    There exists no such thing as wonder addiction... never did. There only existed a misunderstanding of how to use wonders. The misunderstanding lies in trying to do too many other things while building wonders. A 20k game *creates* focus in a more simple manner and that's the main point of my so-called "obstinancy". I simply don't see how not building wonders and instead training workers, units, improvements, managing the whole trading system from the get go, moving units, improving hundreds of tiles, founding tens of cities, etc. creates focus. How in the world can anyone think there exists more strategic information in a 20k game than in a regular game?

    I still don't know *what* to do.

    Did you *focus* on building wonders?

    Here's my history. I played civ III vanilla back in 2002, 2003, and maybe 2004 for a bit... not all that much. Maybe something like 6 or 7 games. I don't think I ever won on Monarch and only won on Regent a few times. I don't recall how much I built The Great Library, but I can say that I don't think I can say I had "mastered" Regent at the time. Back in January or so I started playing Civ II:Test of Time. Around the middle of April I started playing Civ III Conquests. I remember reading T-hawk's article on the 20k game, although not all that closely in retrospect. I started out with a few regents and then some monarch games, all of which went unfinished for a week or two. I didn't have a focused strategy or VC in mind.

    After that, I played mostly 20k games on Monarch and won well over 10 of them barely trading at all, nor building any settler factories, nor much military. This includes quite a few OCC 20k Monarch games where I severly trailed in tech after Education, as I didn't research all that intelligently, and only in rare instances bought or traded for tech. I won two Emperor 20k games, one with 10 cities with the Egyptians and one with 5 cities as the Sumerians where I used island block. Still... I had tons of culture in the 5 city game and lots of defensive units where I could have rather well defend my 20k city for quite some time. In all these games, of course, I built the Great Library. Now, of course, what follows rather clearly falls well out of newbie territory in my opinion.

    I read some good articles around here including Bamspeedy's (I had read it before, but didn't really understand the settler factory idea, nor about getting gpt for tech), and I've scanned through Cracker's opening plays. I doubt I follow all his strategies to a T, and perhaps I disagree with him in spots even... I don't know. I also read your article, Drakan. So, I tried it on Monarch with Carthage and raging barbarians and took the spaceship launch in the 14th century. No sweat, even though I stupidly ruined my reputation in that one. Then, I tried it on Emperor and easily won with the Maya getting a diplomatic victory in like 1310 after I popped an SGL towards the end. I did in on Emperor again with the Byzantines and won diplomatically in something like the 15th century this time. I did those all on standard sized maps. I tried in on demi-god with France on a huge map and won a decisive diplomatic victory in 1405... I had a good enough of a lead that I feel confident I could have easily launched. Then, after finally learning how to manage the barbies in COTM48, I did with the Byzantines and launched the spaceship on a standard-sized map.

    Around the 20th of June or so I finished my Iroquois Deity game. You'll find the final save in your strategy article. I took a 10k diplomatic victory in something like 1185 without ever having spawned a leader. I had Scandinavia as my neighbor, who of course wanted a war. I had the Zulu as half a neighbor. They passed me right up at least twice, even though I had a pitiful army. I couldn't even trade for horses until sometime in the middle ages... I think around the time theology came in.... maybe a few turns before that... I feel rather confident I already had monotheism and I don't think that came up as the AIs free tech. So, I couldn't even train mounted warriors until then. I didn't train spears either... I trained 3 pikes. Nor did I upgrade *any* warriors to swordsman. I don't think I have a save around here from then exactly, but I can point you to a save and some screenies of my pitiful army in the early industrial ages... I think I actually gifted the scientific AIs and traded around tech for the referenced save below. I *eventually* upgraded my warriors to medieval infantries when the Hitties came demanding Electricity and I told them "no"... some 10+ turns later at least. I built and built and built and built all sorts of improvements, two juicy medieval great wonders (and of course, The Great Library, and the Forbidden Palace earlier). Here's the link:
    http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?p=6928291#post6928291


    I finally acheived an Emperor-level spaceship victory without the Great Library in a sort of succession game *after* I had won this Deity game. That one played almost pure builder as we couldn't attack outside our cultural borders. In this game, we still did build an ancient-age wonder, plenty of medieval wonders, and lots more wonders where pretty much when everyone builds them... or tries to do so... from the industrial age on.

    Now, how in the world does all this come as relevant? Well, if you don't build The Great Library or ancient age wonders as SirPleb and Ision suggest, what do you do with those shields? As you've said Drakan, you'll probably build swordsman. After that, you'll probably want to go on a rampage. I suppose you could build a marketplace and/or the Forbidden Palace and some defensive units. Sure enough swordsman can work very well. But, to get things clearly, Ision and SirPleb and pretty much everyone else has implied warmongering or perhaps more gently speaking... militarism... by negatively rating wonders so much.

    As a builder, it seems extremely hard to fathom that any builder would really want improvements over wonders (that's the general "choice" as a builder, as you only train units in case of emergencies). Some exceptions may exist to this general rule, but it goes rather deep. I'll take Sun Tzu's over a university *almost* any day, as barracks everywhere gives me simple upgrades. I'll take The Oracle over a marketplace almost any day, since I need a temple for a cathedral, marketplaces require more shields, The Oracle works empire-wide for a while I have to build marketplaces everywhere, and The Oracle might kill a wonder cascade (O.K... the ToA comes as much more of a problem... still that's the point... I'll build Leo's to kill a wonder cascade anyday in a builder-style game).

    Now, on the harder levels which works as easier... militarism or builder style? Drakan's strategy article indicates builder style. How does one learn builder style well? By practicing building. And what does that really entail? Building wonders... having the ability to estimate when one might succeed in building them and when one might fail *and the cost of failure of building a wonder vs. the cost of building a settler/worker or improvment*. I don't see how building swordsman/barracks or... pick a unit... helps with this all that much.

    In light of my history I'll review your statement Drakan:

    Since I had played Vanilla some years ago and learned something about how improvements in Civ II:Test of Time (the sci-fi game taught me to pay attention to improvment building closely actually, since I could go broke on workshops... the factory equivalent early on) let's say I "started" playing in Februrary instead of early April. Do you mean to say that avoiding the GL in Civ III would have taught me enough about the game to have beaten Deity in two weeks when I pretty much still ranked as a civ III newbie and hadn't started playing 20ks yet? 2 weeks after that even? I don't think so. Hampered by months... I doubt it.

    Thanks for everyones comments :)
     
  2. Spoonwood

    Spoonwood Grand Philosopher

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    Ision's article basically implies that one avoids the 20k game (goes without saying). But, in the 20k game you only really have to manage one city half-way well as opposed to a whole empire. From what I've seen, non-militaristic 20k Conquest games (Ision didn't write this for Conquests... that's perhaps the biggest change here), go a lot faster than your normal militaristic game. A player doesn't feel like he/she has spent a lot of time on a single turn and consequently probably won't rush to the next turn... or at least that seems less plausible. Again, the 20k game focuses on one city... less that needs managed well. There's quite a bit to learn for a newbie, and quite a lot to think about. Doesn't it benefit a player to play a simpler, faster game with less information and focus on certain aspects of it, than having to learn *and think through* multiple new things/strategies at once? Doesn't Ision's article advocate... FOR CONQUESTS... playing a much more complicated game for newbies? Doesn't playing a simpler game allow one to practice/hone skills?
     
  3. Drakan

    Drakan Voluntas Omnia Vincit

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    Hi Doug. From the time Ision wrote that article I remember he had a hard time making the transition from one level to another. Because the beauty of this game is that it plays differently as you move on up the echelon of difficulty, the strategies that worked fine at Monarch will no longer be useful at Emperor level and so forth. A Sid game for example is crazy and you are almost forced to play on archi maps. I don't like that level because it doesn't feel like C3C anymore taking out the joy. The last level I'll play and enjoy is Deity because it still feels like Civ3 although very fastly paced.

    Back on topic. Ision wanted to do a nice writeup for civers who were struggling to move on up the ladder like himself. I think his advise is excellent for a Monarch player striving to play on Emperor or Demi. He learnt from his past mistakes and realised that his fixation on building great wonders had meant a lost cost of opportunity at many levels.

    Not everyone is the same Doug, some people such as yourself come across as bright and have no need to take months to learn the nooks & crannies of this TB strategy game. Some people -counted- have the ability to just move on up levels easily in a couple of weeks without much of a struggle. Others, the majority, need much more time. It is this broader collective in which Ision was thinking when he wrote this article on Wonder fixation and the Great Leap from Monarch to Emperor.

    The higher levels as you write Doug are more prone to warmongering, the earlier the better. I wrote my article on winning on Deity as a builder because at the time there were few strategy articles on winning at Deity level and all were exclusively focused from a warmongering angle. In fact all the new paths that top-players opened for us on these levels involved to some extent or other warlike strategies: FoD, FoDe etc..I wanted to do a write up on this levelf from a different point of view, one that actually pivoted and took advantage of the AIs deity bonuses leveraging on them turning them against the AI. The broker or pope strategy had been written long before me. I just blended the broker strat with a use for the GL creating a competitive advantage over the AI which helped to offset the huge AI bonuses. That was my innovation, blending the two at that level.

    In fact my strategy just doesn't work on lower levels because the AI lacks these bonuses and doesn't research fast enough or make enough gold to allow me to broker techs funelling all their gold and making them stagnate technologically as captive clients.

    As you mention the cost of opportunity of building wonders earlier on such as the GL on Deity would be to build instead fast attack early units, such as horsemen (upgradable to knights) or some nice UU. Picking the right civ for the right reasons/goals on this levels is very important. On the higher levels you really sit down to think on the cost-effectiveness of each unit (shields vs attack, movement points), on the marginal revenue a unit will actually produce you.

    I remember this german player (Kronic IIRC) who won on Sid regularly from a builder-style peaceful approach (no military units built). He was of course an exception. I guess that on the higher levels the top-players cherish warmongering because they feel the game is under their direct control whereas playing as a builder you are relying or banking at one point or other on how well the AIs are faring.

    Don't take these articles as absolutes Doug, merely as useful hints on new approaches that perhaps you might not have considered before.

    Congratulations on your first win on Deity as the Iroqouis !:goodjob: I'll look at your save.

    Regards,
    Drakan
     
  4. Drakan

    Drakan Voluntas Omnia Vincit

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    Nice game for a first-time victory on Deity. I see you went for a diplo win. You have deployed no spies at all, impressive. Nice timeline as well, 1170 AD.

    You built the GL on Niagara. I see you don't like mining tiles much. Niagara is only producing 21 spt (minus one due to corruption), very unproductive considering you have a factory and Hoover's. Why ? I guess you wanted to boost population to up your beaker base/research.

    All in all a very nice game indeed for a first-time victory on Deity. You've placed your cities following the CXXC city pattern, nice. A truly Builder-Style victory Doug. ;)
     
  5. Spoonwood

    Spoonwood Grand Philosopher

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    Drakan,

    It works at Monarch, as already noted. I played a Regent game 5CC space game where I made enough cash from gpt that I had my science slider at 100% (or the least for N turns) from at least the industrial ages on if not earlier. I don't think I stopped reseraching in that game, but I did build The Great Library, and brokered tech for gpt... perhaps the main point of your article. Maybe brokering doesn't work on Warlord... but so what? A newbie might struggle there, but he/she outproduces the AIs, so I think that will make up for any war difficulties eventually... if they stick it out.

    There exists no question in my mind that Ision's article implies militarism and that militarism slows down one's learning curve. Not that it really matters, but I have NO conquest or domination victories and I've beaten Deity, so you don't need to really know militaristic strategies all too well to win on that level (maybe I underestimate my knowledge here, I don't know). I don't think of myself as cleverer than most... I think I just happened into a faster way to learn the game and advance levels than the standard warmongering... some of it came from thinking the 20k game impossible from when I played Vanilla (I NEVER tried for one back then). I would feel surprised if many people around here actually would think builder-styles a fun way to play... that's the problem.

    I know what FoD means... what does FoDe mean?

    Concerning your strategy article... and maybe I should table this over there... I wonder how much picking the right traits really comes as all that important. Granted, you don't want militaristic or expansionist traits... but other than that every tribe I think very well possible for that strategy (maybe a few execptions), though of course not all equal. Play on a 60%, wet, warm map, and find your food bonuses start and I think you can do fine if you add on one more thing.... once you've settled all the way out use your capital (and probably some other cities with granaries) to train workers before they hit size 6. Then, use those workers to take as many other cities up to size 12 as possible (thank you Chamnix!). Sure, that's even more strategy to handle, but it can work quite effectively.


    With religious tribes you can build temples and cathedrals faster and perhaps even a quick revolt to democracy well enough (I haven't tried it, so just a guess). For the Babylonians, you might even not need the GA war... for Korea and Greece for that matter also... of course that might work out as trickier since it requires *carefully timed* pre-building. The Ottomans might seem harder, but just wait until MT and cope with it. England also... but you'd probably play archipelago with them anyways, so you've got more infrastructure by then. So, if I got it right that really leaves Greece, France, India, The Iroquois, England (archipleago, of course), Korea, Egypt, Babylon, Spain, The Celts, Persia, Ottomans, Carthage, The Maya, The Byzantines, Sumeria, The Dutch as fairly viable with your strategy... of course not all equally easy to pull it off with. Plenty of choices there though.

    Oh... and I simply don't get why the moderators didn't place your article in the war academy Drakan at some point along the way. Since you can now do this yourself, I think you should place it somewhere there... I'd think under empire management... definitely an advanced strategy there.
     
  6. Drakan

    Drakan Voluntas Omnia Vincit

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    FoD= Funnel of Doom
    FoDe= Funnel of Deception
    Both strats are courtesy of SirPleb.

    Really ? I had no idea you could now place you own article on the War Academy, it's been a while since I was more active on this site.

    Yes with other civs it's more difficult to pull off but not impossible. Granted there is no need to be a warmonger to win on Deity or even on Sid as Kronic has proved time and time again. That's why I wrote the article, to prove you could win on this level as a builder, as at the time I wrote the article there was a general impression that if you weren't a warmonger you could not win on the higher levels which was untrue of course.

    I'll see if I can post it Doug. ;)

    Regards,
    Drakan
     
  7. Aabraxan

    Aabraxan Mid-level Micromanager

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    Directions for posting in the new War Academy System can be found in this thread.
     
  8. Drakan

    Drakan Voluntas Omnia Vincit

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    Thanks Aabraxan, wish I had seen your link before posting the article. ;)
     
  9. timerover51

    timerover51 Deity

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    Having peroused this discussion at length, with occassional comments, I have come to the following conclusions.

    Have no interest in settler and/or worker factories. Normally have 2-3 workers per city, if in poor terrain, more.

    Really dislike CxxC spacing, prefer something more open than CxxxxC spacing. Do not want to road and mine every possible tile.

    I do like to build Wonders, even in the unmodified game. Not necessarily shooting for a culture win, just like to build them.

    Normally build a reasonably strong military to keep AI from bothering me. Sometimes even successful. If I am doing unit mod testing, then a different story, but still think that wars are a time-consuming business that is not a lot of fun.

    Do not play on maps with maximum number of civilizations, normally no more than 6, prefereably as far from me as possible. Normal map size is huge, never smaller than standard, but prefer huge or larger.

    Do not plan on changing how I play, assume that I will never reach Deity level, much less Sid. No interest in doing so. Might not ever get past Regent, if I even get that far. I do have fun though.

    Hope you individuals have fun as well.
     
  10. SimpleMonkey

    SimpleMonkey King

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    @timerover51:

    You're right, you're not likely to move past Regent using those tactics, BUT if you're enjoying the game your way then I think that that's great. :goodjob:
     
  11. timerover51

    timerover51 Deity

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    Given some of the changes that I have made to the game, I suspect that between my style of play and the benefits that the AI gets, that some of my games are considerably more difficult than the normal lower level game. I plan on posting one of my modified maps, and I will be interested in seeing how well people do on it.
     

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