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The Alphabet Trick

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by MarigoldRan, Apr 28, 2011.

  1. MarigoldRan

    MarigoldRan WARLORD

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    :lol: This is a continuation of a big discussion going on about "when should you get your first worker." In that, I failed to explain why I'm not building workers. The reason is because I don't have any of the worker techs. And the reason is because I'm bee-lining to Alphabet. Hence, the large amounts of warriors and settlers, because, you know, what else are you going to do?

    What's the Alphabet trick? Well, you skip all the "non-essential" techs and pretty much go straight for Alphabet to back-trade for everything else. The reason to do it is because it allows you to save hundreds, perhaps thousands of research points. By getting Alphabet early, you can get Currency or Mathematics earlier. Which means you can trade for other techs later, because you have these techs and the computer doesn't. So the multiplier effect applies to make it even more effective.

    But think on the logic of this strategy. If you're going straight for Alphabet, you're probably not be getting a lot of the basic worker techs. At which point, there's no reason to get workers.

    Thus, you build warriors and settlers. Since you're building these things, you may as well make use of them. :lol:

    It's a very simple strategy. Most civ I or civ II veterans will immediately understand what I'm going for.

    Yeah, you lose commerce because you're not working some of the tiles next to your capital. But the idea is that the Alphabet trick more than compensates for it. Yes, you lose some production, since you're not working some of the tiles next to your capital, but since you're building settlers and getting more cities, it's not as big of a problem.

    So there. The large number of warriors earlier is a by-product of the broader strategy. I mean, if I'm bee-lining Alphabet, I don't have anything better to do: hence warriors and settlers.
     
  2. vicawoo

    vicawoo Chieftain

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    Too many units cost maintenance, which means slower research. More cities cost maintenance, slower research.

    Pottery and writing mean more research.

    It's up to you to determine how much food/hammers you need to expand.
     
  3. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    1. WFYABTA
    2. Slower actual production of settlers
    3. Slower actual time to reach alphabet
    4. Several mandatory technologies for alphabet are worker techs (wheel, either fishing or agriculture, either pottery or animal husbandry)
    5. Warriors can not consistently steal workers, or choke
    6. AI will not consistently have useful things to trade, or be willing to do so...ESPECIALLY if you use the warriors to steal workers.

    All this and you're still probably behind the more "standard" openings.
     
  4. ahcos

    ahcos King

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    Even if you beeline Alpha, the AI may beat you to it on Immortal/Deity, even more if you don't have any workers to make use of your good tiles/commerce tiles. Simple as that. I'd really love to see that you stop with these nonsense arguments that you've neither tried out on higher difficulties nor proven them mathematicly.

    There's nothing to be misunderstood, you're simply wrong here. Ofc there are games where you beeline Alpha, but that's because you already HAVE the workertechs and barb defense you need and therefore can make good use of a Alpha beeline. It's not the other way round.
     
  5. NihilZero

    NihilZero WHEOOHRNY

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    The chances of getting to Alphabet first by working unimproved tiles are virtually nil. Maybe on settler level it's possible, I don't know. Where is your research going to come from without any commerce? Specialists? Building libraries will be slow and painful without any workers to improve production tiles and chop.

    I do, however, give you ten out of ten for Attackoesque off-the-wall novelty. :D
     
  6. Ataxerxes

    Ataxerxes Deity

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    Even on the lower levels you want to have worker techs. I often like to get the essential techs (worker techs, Pottery) and then go for alpha. You can then backtrade for things like Archery, Mysticism, and other techs. But what has to be remembered is to not work unimproved tiles unless you have to. Even at Settler this applies. On very low levels you might even trade for Bronze Working but you have to have techs for your workers first.

    Marigold, I understand the feeling of liking to grow first, but try it both ways. You'll find that in most cases worker techs and worker first is best, regardless of level. My exception is workboat if I have fishing.
     
  7. CaF

    CaF Warlord

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    Doesnt really sound fool proof for Immortal and better. Incidentally i have some experience with "beelining" Alphabet using Willem of France. After basic stuff (Mining, perhaps Fishing), i can immediately go for Alphabet. My purpose is getting libraries early, starting some wars early when they are dirt cheap and to see who techs in which direction.

    I dont see the point in skipping workers and early worker techs. Stuff that you don't improve now has to be improved later. Stolen workers come at a rate of -3 diplo, too expensive. Etc. Etc. The other topic is 5 pages long. From what i read flying over it, there is not much to be said.

    We arent talking about some freaky stuff like duel map, 16 civs, settler difficulty, right?
     
  8. sadmachines

    sadmachines Warlord

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    Can you provide a playthrough to give some weight to this strategy. I don't think you will convince many people of the quality of this approach otherwise. On first inspection it doesn't seem like a very strong way to play. I am open to being proven wrong. Post a game with the starting save so we can compare.

    Edit: "Attackoesque"...What does this mean?
     
  9. vicawoo

    vicawoo Chieftain

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    As an aside, this has nothing to do with difficulty. If strategy A has produced 3x as many beakers (and hammers and food) as strategy B, it will do so regardless of the difficulty.
     
  10. SeptimusOctopus

    SeptimusOctopus Warlord

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    This exactly. This "trick" sounds like a horrible strategy. If you can back it up with some wins on Immortal or Deity, then people will probably respect what you've got to say.

    To Sadmachines, re: "Attacko"-esque:
    have fun reading through this.
    Also Amphibious Elephants.
     
  11. PeterWolf

    PeterWolf Chieftain

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    And you gain some research points by losing hundreds of hammers, growth, and gold from maintenance of all these cities?
    Without improved commerce tiles, you can't tech or do after Alphabet. And you'll be so late at working cottages compared to the AI, you'll hardly catch them.
    Best of luck if have someone like Shaka hating you also. You can't even whip, because you won't have the tech or pop to do so.
     
  12. Mylene

    Mylene Deity

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    So..now you guys will create another 5 pages long thread about the same boring topic :D
     
  13. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    That isn't quite true, due to trade timing, disproportionate tech costs for both human/AI, how quickly techs can be reached to start yielding results, etc.

    However, it is true that most of the basic good play habits apply to all difficulties.
     
  14. Mantic0re

    Mantic0re Prince

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    So...

    what happens if your isolated or haven't met any AI before you get alphabet?


    or...

    If your in a heavily forested start where Alphabet comes late enough you get non-warrior Barbarians?
     
  15. Dhoomstriker

    Dhoomstriker Girlie Builder

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    Well, there is a way to do it, particularly if the assumption is that we do not care about Worker techs:
    Research Writing via Priesthood, grab Alphabet from The Oracle!

    Simple yet not amazingly effective since by not having Workers, you are also low on production. Your chances will improve if you are able to settle on a square that provides a base of 2 or more Hammers (a Plains Hills square, a Plains Ivory square, etc). Your chances go up even further if there is a base-3-Hammer square (such as a Plains Hills Forest square) within your fat cross.

    You don't even need your initial City to have these traits as long as you get a second City out as a priority and ensure that your second City has these traits. Of course, if you aren't Creative, then you would have to alter "in your big fat cross" to "within your initial 9-square-radius" for your second City.

    But, the possibility is there for it to work.


    Is it the most efficient approach? On most maps, probably not. But, there might be circumstances where it won't perform too terribly compared to getting Workers, such as when you are Coastal with Seafood and get a Work Boat tech like Fishing (that's not officially a "Worker tech," is it? ;)) and when many of your other Resources are not improvable in the early game (such as having many Calendar-based Resources). Still, it really feels like I am reaching.

    Of course, if you aren't looking for the most efficient strategy but simply a possible strategy, then this method just might make the original idea work considerably better.
     
  16. NetGear

    NetGear King

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    I predict in the near future we are gonna talk about grabbing early religion and shrining is going to be the next new best thing. :rolleyes:
     
  17. Dhoomstriker

    Dhoomstriker Girlie Builder

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    Well, it wouldn't be too much of a stretch to say that trying to get either of Buddhism and Hinduism would give you a bonus to research (on the arguably cheap anyway) Priesthood tech.

    Religion spreading to City #2 or being founded there would give you more flexibility in terms of settling it so as to get a workable 3-Hammer-square (using the big fat cross instead of just the initial 9-square-radius).


    Then there's the whole "Great Prophet from The Oracle" that you have to figure out what to do with. A Holy Shrine sounds like an excellent choice.


    So, yes, I could see the conversation going down that particular line... :lol:


    Of course, I'm in the midst of reading one of those troytheface threads, so my current mindset may be skewed in the wrong direction...
     
  18. ABCDPuppies

    ABCDPuppies Warlord

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    This is another case where something that sounds okay in theory usually isn't good in practice. You might save a few beakers by skipping worker techs, but you will also be producing fewer beakers. In most cases what you will see is a net loss of beakers. And of course this only gets worse at higher difficulties when the AI gets to alpha faster anyway, or starts where there aren't many/any AIs nearby (meaning fewer beakers returned for researching alpha.)

    Tell you what: take a couple starts on Immortal and play them both ways. Write down stuff like what turn you get to writing/alpha, how many cities you have, and how many bpt you are producing when you do. That's the great thing: you don't have to argue in the abstract about whether it works. You can test it! And when you do, I think you will find that skipping worker tech/workers to beeline alpha does not compare favorably.
     
  19. AutomatedTeller

    AutomatedTeller Frequent poster

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    seems like a bad idea, since two of the ways to alpha include worker techs, one of which can make research faster on it's own.
     
  20. cbucks

    cbucks Warlord

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    What do you do if you have a double plains cow start?
     

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