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The island start: fortress or prison?

Discussion in 'Civ3 Strategy Articles' started by Sneakysnaga, Jul 23, 2004.

  1. Sneakysnaga

    Sneakysnaga Chieftain

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    The island start is one of the most frustrating starting positions. You are alone, with noone to trade techs with, so you know you are falling behind. You run out of space very quickly. However, it can also be one of the strongest. But only if you play your cards right. Here’s how…

    (1) Be realistic. You can’t afford to waste time on Wonders, libraries or anything like this. You have one priority: get off the island!

    (2) Remember: you island is also your fortress. Be damn sure you leave no space for a wandering AI to pop a settler on. A few temples for culture is worth the investment.

    (3) Try and work out where the nearest land is. Best bet is usually towards the centre of the map. But very often, you will be able to work it out from where the shallow water extends further, or you may even catch a glimpse of a rivals borders as their influence extends. Stand on top of mountains and stare out to sea!

    (4) Put as much effort as you can into getting to map-making and your first ship! But build two. You will need to create a conveyor belt, to make sure you military never stop moving.

    (5) Once you have map-making, shut down the research and build up cash like crazy.

    (6) Start building as many of your strongest units as possible. Ideally swordsmen, which usually beat everything until pikemen appear.

    (7) When you finally meet your neighbours, start out nice. Also don’t immediately buy techs. Instead, buy contact with as many AIs as you can, and if you can get their territory maps, so much the better. Talk to them all. Assess who has what techs. Chances are they will all be far ahead of you. But if you buy techs that only one AI has, you can sell it on, and trade it for the others. 9 times out of 10 you can get back up to speed.

    (8) Establish a beach-head! You strategy now rests on getting as much military on to your neighbours patch as you can. Pop down a settler on any patch of coast you can grab. Conveyor belt your swordsmen in, until you have at least 10-15 of them there.

    (9) Attack! Enjoy!

    This strategy has served me well. The key thing is not to get sidetracked into anything other than expanding off your island. This start is hard enough without wasting shields on things you don’t need. Once you achieve this, your island base is a fortress: hard for AIs to attack, and your base for conquest!

    As a final aside… When you do make your second home off your island, it will be horribly unproductive. You will have to prop it up from your fortress island. Meanwhile, crawl your way to the Forbidden Palace. It might take a 1000 years to build, but when you get it is well worth it. But if you are lucky enough to get a leader. The FP is what to use him on.
     
  2. MSTK

    MSTK Deity

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    You can't buy contact in Conquests until Printing Press.
     
  3. Sneakysnaga

    Sneakysnaga Chieftain

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    As you spotted I'm not playing Conquests. In that case a minor adjustment to the strategy would be required, but not a huge one in my opinion.:)
     
  4. biggamer132

    biggamer132 King

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    Maryland.
    On my first win with Conquests, I started out as the Ottomans on an island with room for about 7 cities. One of my spearmen, who was on an anti-barbarian run, caught site of land off a small penninsula on the island. So, I built a huge army of swordsmen, spearmen and catapults, took a small fishing village my enemy (the Inca) had founded, and went straight to Cuzco from there. My small beachhead of two conquered cities ended up becoming the world's strongest power (this isn't counting the island), and my original island soon became practically an Eden, which always had the extra worker or unit when the mainland needed it. Anyway, this is a pretty good guide.

    Remember: Strike soon, strike hard, strike fast. :king:
     
  5. Babbler

    Babbler Deity

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    I would say their one wonder that a islander may try to build: the Great Lighthouse. It should speed up exporation time. But it not that important.
     
  6. denyd

    denyd Emperor

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    Nice article. :hatsoff:

    A couple more differences with Conquests that can change you can incorporate into this strategy.

    1. Curraghs are available with Alphabet. Get a couple of these out exploring ASAP. Their scouting ability and early contacts between unconnected continents can make you the tech broker between the islands.

    2. If you are a Seafaring tribe you stand a very good chance of surviving those sea/ocean crossings with the ancient vessels.
     
  7. Sneakysnaga

    Sneakysnaga Chieftain

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    I guess it would help to be a seafaring tribe but I've often found myself marooned on an island, when I picked 'continents'... so I didn't expect the problem!

    Yeah the Great Lighthouse might help. That would be building a wonder with a purpose, at least, rather than for the hell of it. I'm still not sure its the best use of all those shields. It depends on how far adrift you are from the next landmass.
     
  8. Longasc

    Longasc Deity

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    Sidenote: Tight City build and Feudalism might really be good for such an island start, but well, I assume you might already be off-island when you get feudalism... (C3C)
     
  9. MikeH

    MikeH Prince

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    The lighthouse + seafaring is a powerful combo on archipelagos, you have galleys/dromons with a movement factor of 5, that will probably surivive in ocean squares. It makes the suicide galley ploy far less suicidal.

    Caveat: like all wonders though you shouldn't base your strategy soley on getting it and if you play the English in Conquests it will probably trigger your Golden Age earlier than you were planning.
     
  10. RFHolloway

    RFHolloway Analyst in the UK

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    Stay on the island and head for space? - after using boats for making contact (worked for me on COTM2!)
     
  11. Sneakysnaga

    Sneakysnaga Chieftain

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    What level were you playing at? It seems to me that you are likely to have a huge technology lag open up. While you might narrow it with some good trading, its still going to be there, and you will never develop the productive base to compete effectively.
     
  12. Offa

    Offa Bretwalda

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    With an isolated island start the great library is usually possible, even on sid level, and this can usually take care of early tech worries.
     
  13. Sir Donald III

    Sir Donald III Emperor

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    There are some times when your "Island" is completely surrounded by Sea. I've had a few times when that's happened. Building either "GL" at these times could actually be make-or-break.
     
  14. dannergreg

    dannergreg Chieftain

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    Great article!!! What a way to take lemons and make lemonade.
     
  15. Aleph-Null

    Aleph-Null What Would Optimus Do?

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    dude, how are you getting the great library on sid?
     
  16. Sneakysnaga

    Sneakysnaga Chieftain

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    This is certainly possible, but I am usually too impatient! Also, it does depend on the size of the island.
     
  17. Megalou

    Megalou Thez worlds are not enuf

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    @kenScott

    Well, literature is a low AI priority no matter what level. Alphabet as a starting tech would be helpful if not 100% essential. And unless you make contact you will need another starting tech that gives a prebuild opportunity, like masonry or bronze working. Lastly, you will need to postpone MapMaking, which to me sounds very daring. In effect this discussion is almost off topic because if anyone beats sid starting alone on a small island I will eat my warriors' underwear.
     
  18. Karl_t_great

    Karl_t_great Chieftain

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    I've done this a number of times, take a look at small-sid at the hof.....and start eating those pants.

    The key to the archipelago success is the selection of correct opponents, they should not have alphabet nor bronse on the start.
    My strat on sid has been 50 turn writing, trade for pottery, then full ahead for philosophy, take map making as the freebie, and then for litterature. With some luck it is possible to have both the GL and LH.

    Take a look at Handys post on the subject:http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=117296.
     
  19. Eukaryote

    Eukaryote Deity

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    Don't say don't build wonders! Say only build the lighthouse. Here's a story about how it helps.

    On the game I am finishing right now I picked small contenents and found myself on an Island, I could see a pennisula off in the NE distance. Once I got map making I setteld there. I fund it was not the main land but a tiny 5-tile-island. I saw a passage with two sea squares beside each other heading S with no ocean. I sent a convoy of two gallys to settle there. I found another 3-tile-island and settled and just to the south of that Island, the Mainland! I settled there and made contacts with my three enimes. By then I was building the Great Lighthouse. It healped me immensly. The mainland was just to the east of me and now instead of sending gallys all the way around the Islands with a chance of sinking. All I had to do was scoot across the Ocean to settle down and guard my towns.

    <Belive me or not I am now almost into the 21st century and there has never been any wars in the game>
     
  20. Azash

    Azash La Sombra

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    http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=89439
     

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