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The Case Against Using Scouts

Discussion in 'Civ5 - General Discussions' started by TW_Honorius, Oct 22, 2011.

  1. builer680

    builer680 eats too much Taco Bell

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    Because it depends on how you play. For example, I typically play the following setup:

    Emperor - Marathon - Huge - Continents - 19 Civs

    If I change it up, it's typically to increase the difficulty or to play Pangaea/Fractal. In games like this, there are a couple of things to consider:

    • The AI has a Scout already, they are likely to beat you to most ruins
    • You will almost certainly start next to several AI's (lots of Scouts, lots of potential rushes)
    • It will take you 12-18 turns to build a Scout
    • It will take a bit longer to build a Warrior
    • You will almost certainly get rushed early by multiple AI's
    • A Warrior can help more with early rushes than a Scout.
    • Your starting Warrior will, if he's lucky, find the nearby ruins. These are all you're likely to get, considering the AI starts with a Scout.

    Here a Warrior seems better to me than a Scout. I still may build one later to map out the world, but I tend to do that at the same time I'm killing anything that moves, so it depends.
     
  2. OverWind

    OverWind Chieftain

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    Thanks a lot for a great post. I've just started Deity level, and while I've always started with a scout, this made me really think about the benefits :)
     
  3. Kerosene31

    Kerosene31 Prince

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    I rarely build scouts. Sometimes they can be good if you have a lot of wide open territory and ruins to explore, but mostly that doesn't happen (depends highly on map type). The problem of course is you don't know what is around you until you scout!

    I just use my warrior as a scout. Sure he's slower, but he is free at the start of the game. I'll go monument, as that is guaranteed culture. Maybe a lot of ruins give me more culture, but maybe not.
     
  4. Atlas627

    Atlas627 Deity

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    This thread makes me roll my eyes so hard. Not because people don't agree on optimal strategies (which is fine, if there was an optimal strategy that everyone agreed on I would say Firaxis made the game wrong), but because they are getting so worked up about it.

    I only play multiplayer with other people or hotseat vs myself. When I play against myself I go 8 civs, all random, continents, standard size and game length, with everything else standard. In other words, what the game was balanced for.

    As usual, there are different reasons to pick different things. I always go scout first, but I used to always go monument first. I will attempt to explain why.


    1.) Monument first

    Pros: Early culture, which means quick policies
    Cons (other than opportunity cost of course): If I am going Tradition, I might get nothing from the policy that gives free culture buildings. Also takes a while to build

    What am I going to get with those policies?
    A) Tradition for more culture and faster wonders
    B) Liberty for a settler/worker
    C) Honor to get culture from barbs (and indirectly xp and gold because its easier to fight and take camps)

    If I rush into Tradition with a monument first, I won't have improved territory due to a lack of a worker. This means that the +15% wonder building is roughly 1 hammer...and I shouldnt take the free culture building policy because I will get nothing in my capital (havent had time to research philosophy)

    If I rush Liberty I can get either a settler or worker. If I go settler, I can't afford the happiness due to the lack of a worker improving my luxuries, and if I go worker...why didn't I just hard build one? I suppose you could, but still pretty weak IMO

    If I rush Honor, then I am going to get meager amounts of culture from killing barbs. In order to make this worthwhile, I should now ONLY hunt barb camps, but since I build a monument first I only have my 1 warrior which is still hard to take camps. If you build a warrior second this problem is fixed, but then you have the additional opportunity cost of that...not worth it IMO

    So monument seems a bad idea.

    2.) Warrior first

    Pros: Scout that won't die as easily or can take barb camps.
    Cons: Can't scout as well as a scout, also takes longer to build

    If I get a warrior, I can either scout or fight barbs with it.

    A.) Scouting. Your warrior takes longer to build than a scout, and those few turns truly make a difference. You can't know because you aren't omniscient, so try a hotseat game versus yourself. You will see that you will often grab some ruins 1 or 2 turns before another civ, and vice versa. It hurts! The ruins are great. +20 culture is just as good (if not better) than a monument, upgraded units are wonderful and just as useful as the honor policy VS barbs or a second warrior, maps reveal more ruins, tech is AMAZING, gold can purchase you a worker or monument or a city state friend. The only useless ruin is the barb camp reveal. That is useless because if you wanted to go barb hunting you would 1) not be scouting for ruins and 2) would have taken Honor so you'd find them anyway.

    Also the scout moves through rough terrain so much easier than a warrior. And I know how to move my units to get the most scouting possible even with rough terrain. A scout is still better. And if that scout gets upgraded to an archer, then you have a kiting archer of awesome. Scouts are especially wonderful for Spain so that they can find the natural wonders earlier than other civs.

    B) Fighting barbs. If I want to fight barbs, it is for 5 different reasons.
    1) Gold from camps. Which is not worth not having the better scouting (+30 per CS, roughly 80 per ruin that gives gold)
    2) Culture from Honor/Aztecs. Still not worth not grabbing a scout and/or going one of the other trees.
    3) XP from barbs. Definitely not worth it, are you ever going to trade +30 xp for 20 culture? And you certainly won't get only 1 extra ruin from going scout.
    4) Influence with CS. This can and should be done AFTER scouting
    5) Just get rid of them. Not necessary since you can kill them with your city. And you can always have your warrior stay home and defend your worker if it really comes to that (which it never should, the barbs will more often than not attack a CS because they are closer)

    They only reason I go warrior first is if I will get all of these (gold, culture, XP, influence, and save my worker) AND I have a special ability that goes well with barb killing. Like Germany (units and gold), Songhai (gold), Ottomans (units and gold), Aztecs (culture), or Greece (influence). You can get money from scouts (and more of it), culture from scouts, techs from scouts, and upgraded units. Unless you can kill 4 birds with 1 stone from barb hunting, it isn't worth it.

    3.) Worker first.

    You won't have the tech to use your worker well when he comes out. 'Nuff said. You will either need to get a free tech from scouting (much more likely with a scout instead of a worker start), or beeline like a boss to make the worker even worth the hammers let alone the opportunity cost.

    4.) Scout first.

    As stated above, you get so much from ruins. And although you may not believe me, you will get a lot more ruins for grabbing a scout. Play a game against yourself so you can see whats going on. Go scout for some and not scout for others. Watch the difference. And a lot of ruins spawn in stretches of rough terrain that you wouldnt bother trying to explore with your warrior (which is why you don't know theres ruins that you lose to AI in there). When your scout meets CS first you will cheer, when you get to snipe CS workers out from barbs you will celebrate, and when you get tech, or culture, or kiting archer from ruins you will go crazy.
     
  5. woodshadows

    woodshadows King

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    I did not say you were 'mindless mob', I asked if you were, you responded and said that you were and that you were 'proud of it'.

    My point is that while I have provided reasoned arguments for my stance, conceding points where I have been convinced or where I have been shortsighted, you have chosen to invoke perceived personality traits which I 'presumably' (according to you) possess, based on two previous threads in which we came on opposite sides of an argument, in order to try to bolster your argument. If you have lost an interest in taking part in a discussion you are free to dismiss yourself from it, there is no need for a Parthian shot in the form of a personal attack however. I am interested in reasonable arguments, if you have lost the energy or will or interest then step aside graciously without the petty "last word" attempt.
     
  6. Louis XXIV

    Louis XXIV Le Roi Soleil

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    I find early map exploration to be invaluable. However, whether I choose a scout or a warrior depends on two things, terrain and production. If I'm surrounded by flatland and have enough production so the difference is marginal, I'll go for a second warrior. Scouts are still great in all other situations, though.
     
  7. woodshadows

    woodshadows King

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    Anecdotally I just started a game, Immortal lakes, Russia, standard size and speed. In this game there were only two times in which I was forced to 'waste' a turn due to terrain impediment. In this situation my choice to build a second warrior was vindicated and I used my warrior build with my initial warrior to crash a few barb camps. I advise against taking warriors out solo, other than your initial warrior to go in an arc around your border area, timing him to be able to link up with your second warrior once built. Two warriors together provide a very good synergy for exploration and barb combat.
     
  8. Tabarnak

    Tabarnak Cut your lousy hairs!

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    A good reason to delay warriors are barb quests. It takes a bit of time before they spawn and you need some camps alive around you. An early scout can help you to find some cs a bit more farther and faster. More quests appear faster and let you have time to build some units and send them there before the AI clear them.
     
  9. Atlas627

    Atlas627 Deity

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    Your 2 situations for "waste" may not have been the only 2 sub-optimal moves, however. Did you simply run through open terrain, or did you choose to when there was rough terrain somewhere else? We aren't just talking about wasted movement points here. You also waste turns by backtracking and by avoiding the rough terrain where other ruins lie. If I ran up to a forest or hilly area with a warrior, I would probably just avoid it. But with a scout I would run right through it, and get 3 extra ruins as a result (not an exaggeration). If you didn't explore it, you don't know what you missed.
     
  10. The Pilgrim

    The Pilgrim Deity

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    Nah, you've chosen to disregard all reasoned arguments provided by me as well as by other players stronger and more experienced than me and went on with your thing, asking whether all of us are a mindless parroting mob. Claiming that dozens of posted games and thousands of hours spent on experimenting and comparing between different strategies by the best players out there mean nothing. Well, I already knew it means nothing for you before this thread even started. You see, it's not about being on opposite sides of the argument, it's about how you handle the argument and what goals you're pursuing during the argument. Had it been the first time I see it, I'd say it was my fault since I didn't explain my point properly. It's not the first and not the second occasion.
    I'm more than willing to argue against false beliefs about scouts' uselessness, but not against 'challenging the orthodoxy' approach. I didn't plan to waste any energy on that to begin with, as I stated several post above. So you missed again.
     
  11. woodshadows

    woodshadows King

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    I didn't do any backtracking, altho part of this was the fact it was a lakes map, ie no coastline in which to reach a 'dead end'.

    I definitely found my scouting path dictated by the terrain, in so far as I wasn't the "master of direction, but was being directed by the terrain". I would make my initial movement on a grassland plain or desert etc, then try to land upon a hill ideally to give good vision of surrounding area from which to determine my next movement. If no hill, then use that last movement to overcome obstacles such as a river crossing, or onto a forest which seemed like it might not have forest on the other side, or serve as a pathway to more grassland/plains/etc.

    Would I have had an easier time with a scout? Definitely. Would I have become lazy with a scout and probably put on autoexplore? Possibly. Did I enjoy the challenge of a warrior used to scout? Yes. This wasn't "optimal scouting" but I did scout what I needed to know, enough information to base my future game on, enough contact with other civs etc. More importantly tho, I smashed all barb camps nearby, meaning no invasions, gained a couple workers and some influence with city states and some promoted units.
     
  12. woodshadows

    woodshadows King

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    You seem to have a chip on your shoulder towards me, I don't see our interaction as being necessary, I'm not sure why you have bothered to engage me in a discussion which every other post you continue to harp on 'not being interested in'? I know if there is a poster I don't care to interact with the solution I find best is to simply _not interact with them_. Are you attempting to score personal vindictive points against me with these repeated posts in my direction?.. since you clearly aren't interested in dsicussing the thread and ideas under discussion here but instead continue to want to discuss 'woodshadows'(me). Perhaps you could open a new thread entitled "Why I hate woodshadows" and we can continue talking about me over there? I'm more interested in talking about game mechanics so I don't have a lot of use for some internet person who is interested in psychoanalysing me based on some threads. Clearly you don't seem to enjoy a good debate, so why you embroil yourself in them only to back away with personal attacks as a refuge for your lack of endurance for them makes no sense to me. You also take a funny stance in making the claim that I am motivated by "pissing in the wind" ie, being a contrarian, simply because in two previous posts we had dissenting opinions on a topic under discussion and my opinions happened to be on the side of the minority. I should mention, (as you take such a great interest in my personality) that there are many ideas in whcih I hold the majority opinion, generally I don't bother taking part in an internet circle jerk to buttslap about my endorsement for something already well-established and popular, I find that a waste of time, so if I am posting it is generally only in situations in which I have been inspired to post, ie, when I hold an opinion that is of the minority. I think being part of a vocal minority to provide some discussion to otherwise stagnant topics of discussion which would otherwise lay unchallenged can be a valuable stimulus to discovering new ideas. You don't seem to hold this opinion and prefer people to all have a happy-party of self-congratulations with one another for all sharing the same opinions. That's just not my thing.
     
  13. The Pilgrim

    The Pilgrim Deity

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    Not a chip. I don't take neither the game nor the forums seriously enough to get offended or to hold some sort of grudge for whatever related to them. I have nothing against you, so no need to take it to personal level, really.
    You just fail to see I'm trying to do the opposite thing you're accusing me of: to make you understand that I'm not interested in analyzing you and debating with you because we're pursuing different goals here and nothing constructive will ever come out of it. And my attempts to explain why so also fall on deaf ears. Which is not surprising, but whatever. I find it impolite and childish to slam the door in one's face without explaining my motivation. At this point I explained myself more than enough.
     
  14. woodshadows

    woodshadows King

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    I think the problem is possibly that you are just so sure in yourself, so confident that your opinion is right that you can't conceive that someone could possibly hold an opposing view and that therefore someone promoting a view contrary to your own must be motivated by some other personal reason.

    Am I correct in this? I don't hold this against you if this is the case, in fact it's almost laudable, I like when people get passionate about their beliefs, it becomes a good stimulus for an exchange of ideas. I just think you've misunderstood me and my motivations, I don't post ideas that run counter to the mainstream as some sort of exercise in personal rebellion. If I am posting my opinions on here it is because I believe in what I am saying. I am simply more inspired to post about a topic in which I find myself in the minority, so if you notice more of my posts positioning me in the minority, this is the reason for it. If I hold an opinion that is in the minority and only the majority is posting, with the minority generally too timid to speak up and assert themselves for fear of being swamped with opposition then I want to redouble my effort to defend the position of the minority of which I find myself a member. This may be frustrating to someone who is part of the majority like yourself, who feels offended that someone would dare contest you and your majority opinion, however I think most would agree that there is a historical precedent for advantages being obtained through the very existence of a vocal minority who is willing to take part in debate against a more powerful and vocal majority. Anyways, off the soapbox now, I just wanted to clear some misunderstandings up here.
     
  15. Hustapha Thool

    Hustapha Thool Warlord

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    On large maps,emp/im, I also go with 2 scouts, largely for the reasons Snarzberry listed. In addition to that, I am really hoping that one of those is going to pop an archer upgrade early. that archer will be my first city defender. This can be a big boost in helping me stay tech focused for whatever my goal is going to be.

    Usually the only time i will go with no scouts is if I happen to draw the Aztecs. Jaguars will most likely be my first 2 to 3 builds and I will be teching archery fairly early since I am going Honor.
     
  16. woodshadows

    woodshadows King

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    Incas are another excuse to avoid scouts, plenty of hills to take advantage of. America too possibly, extra LOS = less need to scout as efficiently. Polynesia might have a case for a warrior build in place of scout, take advantage of early UU. Germany could benefit, take earlier advantage of the UA. Songhai also, take advantage of UA earlier.
     
  17. fmlizard2

    fmlizard2 Prince

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    Aztec is the only time I build no scouts. I almost always build 2 and when I play Spain (often) I will sometimes build 3. Almost always work in a trireme too for coastal mapping.

    Aside from the benefits of ruins, :c5gold:, and all the other stuff, it is important to know the world and where you sit in it. Unless you are rolling with a pre-baked strategy regardless, it is awfully nice to know the lay of the land so you can make decisions like Tradition vs. Liberty, who to ally with, who to fear, how much early military you need, and so forth.

    If you ever were stunned to see a new city show up next to your borders through fog, had no CS to ally with to meet your objectives, or were totally stunned by an invasion from afar, you probably are suffering from lazy exploration. A roaming warrior doesn't cut it.

    Knowledge is power and lets you make good decisions contextual to the game you are playing in. And following a new strategy each time in that context is what makes the game fun and replayable.
     
  18. The Pilgrim

    The Pilgrim Deity

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    The pot calling the kettle black? ;) I don't think I know better then 2/3 of a population and more like 100% of proven to be strong players population, but you do.
    Being in minority is not a shame. Consistent refusal to open your mind to possibility there is a reason for the majority to hold a different opinion is. And being proud of it even more. Thanks for a good laugh anyway.
     
  19. Redcoat Captain

    Redcoat Captain Leader of the Redcoats!

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    Scouts are (more or less) dispensable, ergo yes, they should be essential in any starting strategy (excluding archipelago of course).

    They discover other Civs, good huts, barbs and help formulate strategy based on the map, and all for a reasonably cheap outlay. Its tempting to build a monument straight off the bat but in the long run, sacrificing 10 turns at the start of the game for a wealth of benefits compared to a handful of culture seems a no brainer to me. After all, your scout only has to run into one 30 :c5culture: based goody hut to render himself more useful than that monument.

    Think back over your many games of Civ 5. I'm fairly sure 99% of people have sent an unprotected settler out into the unknown, because a faint area of land at the edge of the fog looks ideal for a new city, only to run straight into a barb, and lose your settler.

    I've done it. And when you consider the production cost of a scout compared to a settler, you wont do it again.
     
  20. The Pilgrim

    The Pilgrim Deity

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    Less than more. :)
    Archer that ignores terrain costs is extremely valuable and even if you don't get upgrade from a hut, you can always gain +1 visibility promotion, which turns to be helpful in any war, well into medieval. Especially since only UU horse based units have a decent value, while regular ones usually aren't worth the effort.
     

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