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The Alphabet Trick

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

  1. yatta77

    yatta77 Emperor

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    I played the "no :food: Tech, no worker first" way, you can play how you like. The idea was to compare the two things, which one put you in a better position for Alphabet, trying in the same time to have 3 cities and The Pyramids almost done (or done, as someone showed).

    yatta.
     
  2. Benginal

    Benginal Emperor

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    I was perhaps a bit harsh, :blush:. But I promise I was only trying to point out that the test was very biased towards worker first being better since the better players were going worker first.

    The idea is the same as in the Numidian Cavalry thread where TMIT told AZ that all AZ did was prove he was a very good player and not necessarily that NC were better than HAs.

    Or to use that chess thread, it would be like me playing Boris Spassky in chess but he doesn't start with a queen. He would still win, but this would not prove that starting with only 15 pieces was a good strategy.

    So again, sorry for the rude words. Just trying to keep an experiment free from endogeneity running here.
     
  3. yatta77

    yatta77 Emperor

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    Thanks for replying. :)
    Again I really have nothing personal with you and it didn't offend me.
    I wouldn't even pointing it out unless it was his first post, and he spent his time trying to be helpful. So, maximum respect for you as a person, and I guess issue resolved. :)
    Sincerly,
    yatta.
     
  4. peppe1

    peppe1 Warlord

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    I believe MarigoldRan position was you go warriors + settlers for a while. Believe you steal your worker if you are going to have one by alphabet? and wonder spam? If your worker steal is unsuccessful not sure when you self build a worker.

    So I guess MarigoldRan's challenge is to play without workers until alphabet?

    yatta77 position was you go settler first. A single worker second and go for mids and things aren't so bad. His game at 65 turns is posted. Looks respectable, but...

    NihilZero, showed the counter with a worker first @65 turns, which had more production to completed the mids and is generating more beakers per turn and is closer to finishing alphabet than yatta77's game.

    Would like to see MarigoldRan (OP) play-through the posted random map.

    Also wonder what a no restriction opening would look like at 65. Probably instead of being 2 turns away from alphabet you could have all the other worker techs you need and some better developed tiles+cities.

    Hard to see where no workers comes out ahead. The advantage MarigoldRan seems to be hanging his argument on is you can have maybe the first 3-4 warriors out faster (may or not be a benefit depending on the map). The worker first empire may get to 3 warriors on a later turn, but if you continue on the worker first will probably get ahead for warriors 7, 8, 9 etc if your goal is to spam warriors...

    There are a lot of ways to get into a winning position but you can make the path easier on yourself when you work improved tiles.
     
  5. vranasm

    vranasm Deity

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    I managed to get 1600 (1640 acording to log) Alphabet through Oracle.

    I think this is one of the rare situations where even if landlocked the worker first isn't that clear. You could prepare in advance the gold mine though with worker first.

    In this try I went with Stonehenge first and timed worker with AH arival.

    I don't have Mids, but am 1T away.

    I have only 2 cities though, but the land sucks anyway ;-)



    As you can see I launched GA with the first GP from Oracle :-D, should be probably settled ;-) and maybe could have finished the Mids already.

    edit:
    btw in the absolutely first try one another AI met me before T65 (and I got the T60 alpha too, but was a bit farther from mids) so I had much more backfilling finished. But I doubt it would have any real value.
     
  6. shyuhe

    shyuhe Deity

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    My run.



    I played out further and got into a comfortable position. The map layout is peculiar, but the double gold makes an alpha first plan feasible. Tech order was agri--AH--writing--alpha. I built a worker at size 2 and pastured the cows but he didn't do much else after that. Delhi built stonehenge. I have a settler for city #2 ready in a good blocking spot on this screenshot.
     
  7. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    View attachment Gandhi BC-1400.CivBeyondSwordSave

    - 23 :science: per turn
    - Screw alphabet; we haven't met enough people to merit gunning that early, we know only Augustus although we can meet others we have no guarantee/need of early alpha
    - 6 turns from mids
    - 3 cities, @ 4 pop, 3 pop, 2 pop. One unimproved tile being worked for a couple turns until the farm finishes

    Other notes:

    - More land blocked than other openings (why wouldn't you settle toward AC for the pigs?!). We can reach 6 decent cities w/o conquest with just what's blocked
    - Almost 0 land barb threat here
    - Writing is next after BW

    Opening:

    Worker ----> warrior -----> SH (grow to 3) ------> settler x2 ------> grow to 4 on mids

    Even w/o me optimizing worker first soundly dominates.

    Edit: Settling on the stone will speed pyramids but on a 1st playthrough 1 off coast carries some risks we normally wouldn't take. I'd be about 1-2 turns from mids if I settled on it probably, possibly have them done.
     
  8. yatta77

    yatta77 Emperor

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    The silliest thing is that I was so confident in Settler 1st > Worker 1st for this specific goal, that I gave myself an extra handicap, since in a normal game I would likely go to Alphabet the Animal Husbandry way, as I said few posts before the test post:

    Oh well, I learned something today. :)
    (which is: good players can predict my next game starting position resources :D :lol: )

    @vranasm
    Got the save, I'll check it later.

    @shyuhe
    Any Isabella's working boat approaching from the west?
    (it happened before T65 in my game)

    @Benginal, NihilZero
    If you have some free time and still interested in that "I've skill enough to prove myself wrong" test, I'd like to see an "AH -> Alphabet - Settler first" played by one (or both) of you two. Just to compare two "played on the same skill" games, as Benginal pointed out.

    Thanks to all for your contribution. It was helpful. :)
    If you see 0 views on your file (as me after downloading it), it means that Cfc files view lies! I downloaded all them.

    EDIT @TMIT: Thanks, downloaded your save as well.

    Greetings,
    yatta.
     
  9. vicawoo

    vicawoo Chieftain

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    You're not supposed to build wonders, just warriors until your economy crashes.

    Also, his previous thread advocated warrior first/late worker.
     
  10. MarigoldRan

    MarigoldRan WARLORD

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    I never wrote that warrior-first is always better. Or that you can't build a worker before Alphabet. Or that you should do a minimal-worker strategy with GANDHI.

    My point is that this is a legit strat with certain leaders on certain maps. Obviously on an archi map you don't go warrior first. And I think we've agreed that this works on Emperor (in fact, it rocks on Emperor- for Immortal, though, worker-first may be better. We'll see.).

    Also, I believe I've mentioned the importance of flexibility. You build a worker if you have to, but otherwise try not to.

    EDIT: How exactly do you play Gandhi and NOT go worker-first?

    EDIT 2: The Emperor series games. I have posted my games on them. The Hannibal one was warrior-first. The Washington one was worker-first. The Victoria one was warrior-first. The Hannibal one went exceptionally well.

    These are Emperor-levels though. Tried warrior-first on Frederick and failed miserably. In part it's because Frederick stinks.
     
  11. MarigoldRan

    MarigoldRan WARLORD

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    On rich maps, with close neighbors, warrior-first is better. On sparser maps, worker first is better. That's the feeling that I'm getting.

    Played three or four. This map is one where warrior-warrior-warrior-settler or something like that is probably better than worker-first.
     

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  12. ecuwins

    ecuwins Emperor

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    So what does one do on a fractal roll where none of this information is known?
     
  13. sadmachines

    sadmachines Warlord

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    Did you steal a worker on this one?
     
  14. ABCDPuppies

    ABCDPuppies Warlord

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    Earliest alpha date is irrelevant if, when you get there, you have too few cities or a drastically under-developed economy, or if you don't have anyone to trade with.

    In my mind the only sensible challenge is to play the alpha first/no workers strategy through alpha on a number of starts, while also playing those same starts for the same number of turns using a more conventional strategy such as worker/work boat first, and see which one yields a superior position -- where a 'superior position' takes into account some balance of land claimed, bpt/economy, and infra/units/wonders built.

    Bottom line: looking at a strategy in a vacuum doesn't make sense. You have to compare it to other alternatives, over a sizable sample of games.
     
  15. MarigoldRan

    MarigoldRan WARLORD

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    Depends on how much you're willing to gamble. :lol:

    I like Continents/Pangea maps. So, it's not as big of a gamble for me. I also like huts and random events.

    On that Hannibal game: I started with BW/Hunting/Animal Husbandry/Writing/Alphabet. Works very well because of the tiles around you. The early settlers were useful in preventing the neighbors from blocking.

    Did steal a worker off the Incans.

    I agree with worker-first on immortal starts on fractal starts and totally random settings. But if you know something about the map, like that it's continents, and you're willing to gamble, and the tiles around you are sweet, other options like early warriors are viable too. This is especially true on lower difficulties such as Emperor. (Warrior early is very good on Emperor. It's much easier to steal a worker).

    That's what I'm trying to say.
     

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  16. MarigoldRan

    MarigoldRan WARLORD

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    That's fair.

    One of the reasons it worked so well on the Emperor-series and Monarch-series games is because:

    1. We tend to get really awesome starting locations.
    2. Since it's not part of the Lonely Hearts Challenge, these games tend to place you on a continent with a decent amount of neighbors.

    3. Knowing this information, early warriors might just be the better choice.

    4. In other words, play the map. If you know more information, you can take short-cuts.
     
  17. peppe1

    peppe1 Warlord

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    Whats your empire look like at 750 BC? 1AD?

    I'm not an immortal player.
    I'm not an epic player.
    I am fairly lost without BUG :p

    Usually play better AI at a lower difficulty.

    The pace was way too tedious for me so i stopped at turn 130 (750BC):
    Spoiler :

    Think i am in a decent spot. I may have under expanded, but HC had a city bordering my capital crazy quick, so i just grabbed what i could and left some room along the shore until i get some time to back fill.

    Most of the civs to south of me are the same religion and should become good trade partners. France was in our block until a couple turns ago.

    My next goal would be to whip in chariots and take HC's land. HC cities are not well defended and my scout hasn't found anything dangerous in the garrisons or stacks. His tech rate isn't that great at the moment and i'd say he is over extended.

    I don't know how war goes at this difficulty or speed, cats + elephants may be the better option.

    HC and JC are on their way to a runaway with 8+ cities each. The other AI's are not doing nearly as well.




    Capital is strong...


    Trade situation is ok to me.


     
  18. MarigoldRan

    MarigoldRan WARLORD

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    Check the save: HannibalGood2.

    I personally prefer lots of inefficient cities at the beginning of the game, rather than a couple of very efficient cities. As I see it, it's much easier to improve your efficiency than it is to expand militarily later on.

    In other words, I love early wars BEFORE the AI starts massing units.

    I've got a lot of un-improved tiles, but that's because I've been busy building a military. If I spent all that time on workers, my army wouldn't be as big and the Incans would have given me much greater trouble.

    Since I got a settler very early, I was able to take the blocking site literally a turn ahead of the Incans.

    EDIT: Pretty much all my cities have granaries and barracks. Most have stables. Two have libraries: one for culture and the other for research (capital library).

    Early on, I was thinking: I wish could improve these tiles.... Trust me, I feel badly about the lack of a worker. But sometimes you have to make sacrifices....

    EDIT 2: 3 cities is kind of low. You're going to have trouble breaking out because your productive capacity isn't high. If you're planning to war, the only redeeming quality is the forests around your capital. Settling on that Incan city of Tiwanku spot is critical on this map.

    But you're near tech-parity with the comps. On immortal. On settings you're not used to. Think about that.
     
  19. yatta77

    yatta77 Emperor

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    @MarigoldRan

    I believe you play the way you feel confortable playing. So it doesn't really matter if it is a good or a bad strategy, if it allow you to manage to win on the level you play I think it is ok if you do so. I guess everybody is allowed to make his own decisions in its game, and play the way the game is fun for him/her.

    For example, I never have in my games more that 6-8 cities because if I had to manage an empire of dozens of cities a Civ IV game would be more like a full time job than something fun to do for me. So either I settle less (in my peaceful games), or I raze more (in my aggressive games). Still, I would never claim my "limit your cities" as a "strategy" and that it is "better" to people that just showed me demolishing the AI with zillions of cities in their Immortal games.

    Differently, I was so confident in the fact that to:
    (a) have a good early :science: output toward Writing-Alphabet;
    (b) be in time to build The Pyramids to run Representation;
    (c) have few (3-4) cities early enough to have some land without irritating AIs;
    the best possible choice would be start with a Settler.

    I played this strategy for years, and I tried to prove it to other players in a logic way: I proposed an Empirical test (where I putted my strategy in the WORST possible condition) to prove my point.

    I was eventually proved wrong.

    To prove a strategy is efficient. I would never claim a strategy is good, just because once, when the Moon was in Conjugation with Mars, it was June and it was Snowing, I had the Feeling that it was Working out well.
    IMO, differently from choosing a personal style, claiming something as an efficient strategy that has specific advantages requires solid demonstrations!

    That say, IMO you are correct when you underline the fact that you specified "up to Emperor Level": I mean, as well I could say that also if "Worker first with India" was proven better, "Settler first with India" works up to Emperor Level" and prove it with the games I won, so I'm not saying an absurdity after all. But I cannot say "it is a better strategy" anymore. :D

    yatta.
     
  20. Inso

    Inso Warlord

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    The first part here is not true at all. The single most important thing at the start of the game is getting the food specials around the capital improved immediately in order to make the capital able to get workers and settlers out quickly to settle the surrounding land before the AI do. With close neighbours this is even more crucial. Going 3x warrior without improving anything will mean slower settlers at size 3/4. The first may be quicker in certain circumstances but the following will all take longer leading to a snowball effect where everything is set up slower than it should be.

    There are rare situations where warrior first (only AH resources available and not starting with AG or Hunting) or settler first (IMP + 3H tile available) is arguably better or equivalent, but in at least 95% of situations worker first is always the way to go.
     

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