The best way to win culture victory

Celevin

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1) Start as France. I know, I'm starting to sound like a broken record
2) Play normally, buying policies from Liberty to start (+1 culture per city is crucial). "Playing normally" as the French I usually find involves getting to 4-6 cities in very short order using Liberty's bonuses to keep you together.
3) Choose a point of the game to go on a MASS growing spree. Conquer, build lots of cities, everything. Stop buying all policies. Keep this state for a good 1-2 eras at least. Only invest heavily in your starting 4 cities. Again, don't buy a single policy.
4) Choose your "breathing out" point. Sell all but around 4 of your cities for massive amounts of gold and resources. Buy the Freedom branch -25% social policy costs first. Now buy all your policies at greatly reduced cost. If you want to go really crazy, wait until you have a massive amount, sell everything but your capitol, then buy all the policies to build the Utopia Project.

Here's an example of what you're paying. You just had an empire with 15 cities as France (not hard - just build tight), raking in +3 culture per city + other culture buildings. You saved everything. If you were to buy a policy, it would cost you 1+(.3*14)=5.2 times a single city empire. Factoring in purposely waiting for the -25% policy cost, you're paying only 14%. That's an 86% discount.

There are 2 things put into place to try and prevent ICS: unhappiness, and social policy costs.

Unfortunately, unhappiness has two problems: it's not at an increasing rate so it really doesn't matter if you spread rapidly, and secondly my previous thread showed being really unhappy really doesn't matter too much.

As for social policy costs, my above example shows that they don't matter so much as well. Small empires simply don't have the advantage over really massive ones because of how easy it is to game the costs.
 

enfo

Chieftain
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Great strategy for the cultural win. I think the discovery of steam power is a good time to roll over and sell out the cities (preferably to Germany to be poetic)
 

Celevin

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Well, my point wasn't that it's a great strategy, but instead to show a way that the system to keep big empires in check is easily circumvented. It's broken and needs to be fixed.

If a big patch isn't announced, I'm probably going to design a mod to fix these things. This one's really easy, which is the part that irks me:

1) Change policy cost to just the base 1-city rate
2) Divide all culture production by (1+(.3*number of extra cities past the first))
3) Rebalance the Aztec ability with this in mind
 

King Jason

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Great strategy for the cultural win.

Despite being functional, Celevin's posts are, as I understand it, rife with sarcasm. He's pointing out flaws in the game.

There's a penalty to the cost of SPs for a reason ~ a Massive empire could out produce a smaller one with culture gains no sweat. So to have the ability to have that massive empire, then chop it down to a small one when you're ready to dump your points defeats the purpose of the design.

Don't get me wrong, I love this game so far and think it's fantastic, but I think there's a lot about it's design in some areas that comes across as sloppy. Personally, I wouldn't even allow Policy purchases to be stockpiled, either. The end-all go-to strategy for culture wins means waiting until freedom before you make purchases.
 

Celevin

King
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Good analysis.

Not of me, but of my post. You can't analyze me, I'm a mental fortress.
 

Celevin

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It works.

France is overpowered because it is the best with a huge empire, and the two mechanics designed to stop you from having that huge empire are broken (happiness and policies).
 

Ahriman

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Clever exploit.

But the problem isn't France here, its your ability to accumulate culture to spend on policies whose costs are dependent only on the time when you purchase the policies, and not on the time when you accumulated the culture.

I suspect the best fixes are either:
a) Change it so that even when you are storing policies, the game tracks the cost of each new policy.
So suppose my policy increments are 500, 800, 1200, 1500 (hypothetical).
And suppose I am saving culture rather than spending.
Then make it so when I reach 1201 culture, I have 3 SPs saved, rather than having 1201 culture to spend at whatever the costs are at the time.
So that even if I lose cities, the cost of policies doesn't actually fall.
OR
b) Make it so losing cities (or at least, selling cities in diplomacy) doesn't reduce the cost of policies.

I'd tend to favor a)
 

Celevin

King
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They should just force you to buy the policy the turn you can.

This wouldn't fix it. I'd just sell all my cities the turn before I can buy a new policy, buy 2-3 instead, and go on a mass conquering spree again.

Ahriman said:
I suspect the best fixes are either:
a) Change it so that even when you are storing policies, the game tracks the cost of each new policy.
So suppose my policy increments are 500, 800, 1200, 1500 (hypothetical).
And suppose I am saving culture rather than spending.
Then make it so when I reach 1201 culture, I have 3 SPs saved, rather than having 1201 culture to spend at whatever the costs are at the time.
So that even if I lose cities, the cost of policies doesn't actually fall.
OR
b) Make it so losing cities (or at least, selling cities in diplomacy) doesn't reduce the cost of policies.
Nah, I think my solution's more elegant.

Instead of multiplying all policy costs, just divide all culture gains. Now it's not clunky at all, and if you have a big empire, or small empire, you're rewarded appropriately.
 

Onionsoilder

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They should just force you to buy the policy the turn you can.
That would be a really bad move. What if you want to invest heavily in an end-game policy tree like Autocracy or Order? Purposefully not gain culture so the policies you actually want are cheaper?
 

Ahriman

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This wouldn't fix it. I'd just sell all my cities the turn before I can buy a new policy, buy 2-3 instead, and go on a mass conquering spree again.

Yes it would. He's saying: force you to purchase a policy as soon as you reach enough culture for it, so no more "saving" culture.

So you wouldn't be able to buy 2-3 policies in a single turn. You would be unable to accumulate culture with a large empire and then spend it with a small empire; you'd have to spend it at large empire costs.

This would be pretty harsh though, because it could encourage the player to hold off on early game culture so they don't get forced into the weaker early game SPs.

Instead of multiplying all policy costs, just divide all culture gains.
This would break tile expansion.
Why should my city expand its territory more slowly just because I have other cities?
Not good.
Culture isn't just for social policies.
 

Celevin

King
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Nono, I'm saying divide all culture gains at the end of turn when it goes into the empire pool.
 

taltamir

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Sep 26, 2010
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Pooling all your culture and NOT buying policies... then selling all your cities to lower cost of culture policy (to spend all your pooled culture) seems a lot like an exploit to me...

That would be a really bad move. What if you want to invest heavily in an end-game policy tree like Autocracy or Order? Purposefully not gain culture so the policies you actually want are cheaper?

My solution was to conquer a lot of puppet cities, they provide culture but do not increase cost... annexing a bunch of cities once bumped my culture cost to 10x what it was before.
A large empire with lots of puppets can easily net you 1000+ culture a turn, which means you can get a new cultural policy from order every few turns.

Anyways, the "solution" that they should implement, I think, is rather then forcing you to buy it the turn you get it, simply make culture cost be based on the highest amount of cities you ever had...
That is... if you had 35 cities (in full control, aka, annexed), then you sell 30 of them... well, culture cost is still based on 35 cities.

Wait, here is a simpler one... every time you "reach" the current "culture" value you get 1 culture pick (spendable at any time) and the current amount is deducted...
aka... your culture meter reads 600/700 +200/turn... you press the turn butter and now it reads 100/(something higher than 700), the 700 points of culture were consumed... and it also now shows 1 "pick" in the culture window, which can be used at a time of your choice for a culture of your choice. (although personally, I would be A-Ok with being forced to buy cultural advancements immediately. I have placed said imposition on my own games... and yes, sometimes it means sub-par choices)
 

Ahriman

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Nono, I'm saying divide all culture gains at the end of turn when it goes into the empire pool.

So the Empire culture pool does not increase by the sum of the income from culture from all your sources? That would be very confusing.

This would tend to:
i) Destroy the value of culture boosters like Stonehenge.
ii) Mess up city state balance.
iii) Devalue the great artist improvement
iv) Be really confusing, because it would be the only income variable that didn't actually actually aggregate.

Too many side effects.

Anyways, the "solution" that they should implement, I think, is rather then forcing you to buy it the turn you get it, simply make culture cost be based on the highest amount of cities you ever had...
This is my b) in post 8.

Wait, here is a simpler one... every time you "reach" the current "culture" value you get 1 culture pick (spendable at any time) and the current amount is deducted...
This is my a) above.

Basically, let you store social policy picks, not unspent culture.
 

Celevin

King
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The rate that you acquire policies with my method would remain constant, and all buildings and everything else would give the same amount of culture towards social policies.

All I'm saying is this: Right now you make x culture per turn, and the next social policy costs y*F, where F is the formula for how much more culture is needed because of your number of cities. Instead of this, change the amount of culture made every turn to x/F, and make all social policies cost y.

All this does is changes the current system so it keeps track of it turn-by-turn instead of just checking it whenever you buy a policy. Very elegant.
 

King Jason

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Now roll out the modding kit so we can fix this crap. :king:
 

Olleus

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A better patch, IMO, and less confusing than having your cultural output reduced as you expand is to make the cost of buying social policies depend not on the current number of cities; but on the maximum number of cities you have ever owned at any one time. Much simpler and more elegant than having decimal places all over the place.
 

J-man

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How easy is to sell cities? I know that in civ 4 it was harder than I expected it because the AI was afraid that i turn after I sold it to them I would conquer it back.
 
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