# The best religion.

Discussion in 'Civ5 - Strategy & Tips' started by Falconiano, Jul 20, 2013.

1. ### wigwamPrince

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Let me counter that specific example with a much more general breakdown. Disclaimer: I haven't taken a math class for twelve years, and might be talking out of my ass.

With Itinerant Preachers, each religious city reaches 69% more tiles than it would otherwise. With Religious Texts, each religious city (eventually) applies 50% more religious pressure than it would otherwise. At roughly the same time Religious Texts really gets going (Banking), you'll get your fifth trade route (maybe six, maybe seven if you somehow snagged both the Colossus and Petra). So that's bonus religious pressure to five/six/seven other cities, if you're willing to forego the potential advantages of domestic trades routes, of sending multiple routes to a single city, of sending routes to cities within ten tiles, etc. You could actually make the same decision with Itinerant Preachers; you'd just have to pick your destinations even more carefully (and probably pass on more potential gold in the process) and make longer, riskier routes.

The difference, then, all other things being equal (which, obviously, they wouldn't be in practice, but let's just let that go&#8212;IP will actually be better in practice because it starts so much stronger), is that RT gets 15-21 more pressure (3 per city) from trade routes. Let's say it's 18; six trade routes. IP generates 19% more pressure than RT, assuming an infinite, even distribution of cities. If a RT religion were generating 100 total pressure without the trade routes (mathematically impossible, yeah, just bear with me, it's hypothetical), it would now be generating 154 with them. An IP religion would be generating 155. That's our breaking point&#8212;100 pressure, give or take some depending on how many trade routes you're willing and able to commit to spreading the faith. If you have four religious cities within ten tiles of one another, that's 81 total pressure right there (with RT). In other words, 100 total pressure is nothing. Assuming even a roughly even distribution of cities across the map, IP is way, way better, and that's even before you consider the advantage it has pre-Printing Press.

There are definitely map setups where Religious Texts could be better. On a Small Continents map with high sea level, you might have cities clustered together so that every city on a continent is within 10 or so tiles of every other city, and each continent is at least 14 tiles away from the next. Religious Texts would obviously dominate there. On almost any Pangaea, Continents, Fractal, or even Archipelago map, however, I think Itinerant Preachers crushes Religious Texts. Assuming my rusty math holds up.

2. ### pilot00King

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The best religion spreader IMHO is IP. It allows you to infiltrate every city in every direction not just the border ones. When that happens if you go and surgically convert with prophets the central cities those will flip the rest and you will snow ball a continent before turn 120.
TRs in fact work better this way than with RT.

3. ### FalconianoPrince

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I usually play Europe, Small continents, Continents... and I crush the IP civs.
More pressure and trade route pressure gets overwhelming, and can go convert cities in other continents / island easier.

Pangea-like maps obviously benefit from IP more tho, due to clustered cities and snowball effect.

4. ### Catan_SettlerPrince

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Just like you "crush" deity with automated workers eh?

5. ### wigwamPrince

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You could crush them with any enhancer belief; you're smarter than the AI. IP is mathematically stronger in almost all circumstances.

6. ### pilot00King

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The thing is that it does not work only on pangea maps, that is faulty speculation. All you need to do is spread it to the island bound city states and those Cs by the coast of the other continent. And that can be done even passively, I had some games where I didn't even actively spread but my religion had already taken a foothold on the other continent.

7. ### ChiatrollWarlord

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I was being overly snarky.

Sometimes I feel we try to fit in a lot of one size fits all strategies for religion though when there are so many factors with your terrain, your Civ, the victory type you are going for in the long term, what civs the AI picks, and such that I would never want to lock myself down the same way.

For example I was going culture and has a high faith generating messiah including planted great profit farm with about 12 of them. It got pretty funny when I was able to put down the hotels and I improved culture for great person tiles in the world congress (which the AI always seems to go for even if it gives you a huge edge) I managed to get 2 religious buildings per city also for my reformation.

I just don't like feeling like I should lock myself down to one method though. Things work differently for different goals and scenarios. Since I play with a lot of AI's I often can't even get a religion and focus in other areas.

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Debatable: Religious Texts works with trade routes also...

9. ### FalconianoPrince

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"Almost all circumstances" is the big flaw in your math.
In almost all circumstances of my games IP makes little difference; most times it gives +2/+4 pressure on cities I really want to convert.
That is unless I start converting manually their first cities, but at that point RT is better.

You can have maps where IP is the crappiest belief in the game, and maps where it is the best.
There is no such thing as talking in absolutes in Civ V.

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EVERYTHING depends on the map and the civs you are going against. Spreading religion for religions sake is useless without being able to do something with it.

There is no set 'best religion' set up. We could probably come up with a 'worst religion' set up, but I bet some one could come up with a map where that might be viable.

Heck, sometimes the best religion is no religion at all.

11. ### ChiatrollWarlord

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Isn't that the easiest counter argument your own original post in this thread?

12. ### wigwamPrince

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Scroll up, I covered that.

What are you talking about? Where do +2 or +4 pressure values come from? Why is RT better if you're manually converting the first few cities (something you should always do no matter what beliefs you take)? Also, what do you mean by "cities I really want to convert"? When would you ever not want to convert as many cities as possible?

13. ### SmuftChieftain

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Anyone think the best religion is no religion most of the time?

If you're playing Deity / Pangaea, you're going to have to put a lot of effort into getting that first bit of faith to secure a religion at the expense of other things. If you start close to other aggressive civs, religion is pretty much not an option at all (unless you're going liberty and think that a GP is better than GS). Even if you have a little breathing room erecting shrines in your city before other key buildings hurts your growth a lot. Final argument is that the AI is going to spread it's religion to your cities so it's not like you're just going to have no religious benefits period, you'll often have a couple follower beliefs that are at least somewhat useful.

The only time it really makes sense to me is when there is a +faith natural wonder somewhere close by.

Question: Does the +2 science for all city connections work even for cities that have their pantheon eroded by other religions?

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He plays Marathon, so he thinks/writes in Marathon numbers. Standard's 6 pressure per city becomes 2 pressure per city in Marathon, so 4 pressure is base pressure from two majority religion cities in Marathon.

15. ### wigwamPrince

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Ahh, okay. Interesting. Are fractional pressure values possible? If not, are they rounded up? Does RT just always give +3 pressure on Marathon?

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I suspect the code captures fractional pressure, but the UI display is clearly limited to whole numbers.

17. ### DeauEmperor

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No religion is rarely the best option. Even a 5th religion that you never spread and possibly never even enhance, at the very least, give you the opportunity to produce/plant GPs until industrial to purchase 1-3 more GPs in the late game. Plus, it allows you to pick your capital's benefits and all non-wide strats are extremely capital-centric.

I do agree however that there are several occasions on deity that the early game opportunity cost is so big and the risk of missing the 5th religion is problematic where you might as well delay the 2 buildings until all 5 religions are out and begin to pile up that slow faith and hope for friendly/allied CSs to provide enough total faith for your late game plans.

The +2 science for all city connection is applied to the science of each city. Thus if the city loses its pantheon to pressure of other religions, you lose the +2 science as well. What somewhat sucks is that if you are secluded and catch a religion but don't spread it with missionaries/prophets asap to your own satellite cities, odds are the pressure of your own religion will turn the city into mixed beliefs where religion removes the effect of the pantheon Yet you don't have enough followers of your own religion, in that city, to "gain the pantheon effect back" from it being the pantheon of the adopted religion...

18. ### budweiserKing of the Beers

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Deau - you can manage that scenario because some pantheons are 'temporary'. Example: Monument to the Gods. Others as well can be given up after a time.

19. ### Martin AlvitoReal men play SMAC

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These are dangerously inaccurate statements. Both statements can easily be falsified by counter-example: Babylon should always, always, always start Pottery -> Writing. One might argue that competitions such as the GotM and the HoF gauntlets are not compelling primarily because of the differences they reveal across map conditions, but because of what we find that remains the same.

It's also worth noting that the most successful threads in this forum become such because they reveal principles that are consistent across map/enemy conditions.

Starting from the first principle that the player is 100% reactive to external givens misses a lot of what's going on around here. The things we really want to discover as players boil down to a couple of things: the universal truths of the game, and the basic if-then statements of response to the AI and RNG. It should be apparent that the former type is a lot more powerful than the latter, and that simply assuming it away and focusing on the latter type is not a sound approach to learning about the game.

Or to put this a bit more mathematically: if the AI were human I might care more about strategy pairings, but since it's been inflexibly coded by a human I can infer that dominant strategies for the human player must exist. Unless we're talking about multiplayer, the human really faces a linear programming problem cleverly concealed as what appears to be a strategic one.

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I get the point you are trying to make, but even this statement is incorrect.

If you roll a Babylon start surrounded by forest, jungle and marsh, you cannot plant your academy until you've researched mining, bronze working or masonry, respectively. In those cases, detouring to the tech required to clear those tiles is better. Yes, you could let your GS languish in your capital for the required number of turns, but he's costing you 1 gpt at a point in the game when you need every drop of gold.

The point is that everything in this game is situational. A choice that is "optimal" 999 times out of a 1,000 is still a bad choice on that 1,000th occasion.