The loneliness of the long distance civilization

Pogel

Warlord
Joined
Feb 24, 2006
Messages
134
What are people's thoughts on strategy when you find yourself alone on a continent?

I found myself in this situation in my most recent game (Monarch, as Cyrus) and seemed to have screwed it up (sorry no saves). I tend to find I struggle if I don't have a nearby neighbour to build my cities for me, and being alone on a continent is an extreme example.

My general plan was to focus on developing my initial three cities and get them cottaged up and producing good commerce & science (the Island was food poor, so an SE wasn't really an option). I also targetted the Great Wall (to help with barbs and get an early GE) and Colossus (all but one of my planned cities would be coastal).

In retrospect, the GW was unnecessary as I could build Immortals (didn't think of it at the time, but they are kick-ass barb killers) and I ended up building the Colossus without using my GE (Industrious & Copper).

I thought I executed my plan pretty well, but I'm so far behind where I usually am in tech and Hatty has just showed up with a very heavy tech (and everything else) lead, and is now starting to settle my continent :-(

Was keeping it tight the right thing to do - should I have built more cities? Should I have bee-lined a religion and different wonders (Oracle & GL?)? What do you do if you find yourself alone and out of touch?
 

shivute

Prince
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Mar 25, 2006
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310
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Scotland
I would have went for Stonehenge, Oracle, Great Library, Colossus. Limiting yourself to 3 cities isn't the best move, slow and steady expansion is needed, keeping research at 70%.
Going for a religion would have been good, but you would have got either confusianism or christianity - from oracle or priest (or even both - better for culture).
I think a potential cultural win would be best target in this situation.
 

cabert

Big mouth
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Dec 14, 2005
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if you're alone, you have to settle the whole continent while teching to CoL.
If you can grab a few religions and tech to liberalism, you can make it a culture win.
If you can't grab any religion (or only 1/2), push to optics ASAP.
 

romelus

NUCULAR!
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if hatty had gotten to astronomy and you still hadn't settled your continent, i'm sorry but you messed up. you should have prioritized settling all available space while getting code of law. then once you make contact with others, keep them happy while you build up military. keep a large number of your highest powered units on standby. even when they drop 8 grenadiers you can kill them with 16 elephants, and lose only 8 elephants in the process. if you have a larger territory you'll catch up in tech
 

svv

Prince
Joined
Aug 10, 2006
Messages
401
My current game (Noble, Continents, Huge, Qin, Normal speed) was like this. I had a pretty decent sized continent to start. Despite the isolation, I pretty much made a beeline to Alphabet, but picking up BW, Masonry, and Optics along the way (maybe others).

In my building I concentrated on expansion and science, and got to five or six cities. I kept the barbarians down by stationing warriors outside my cities to cut down on the number of squares in the fog of war. I got stonehenge and great library, maybe a couple other science/building related wonders - I made sure to found my first cities where I could get stone and marble.

As soon as I could build a caravel, I tried to finish up on Alphabet and started trading techs with people right away. I was top in science when I found the others, and have been way up front the whole game. Now it's 1980 or something and I have my whole continent developed, have a few outposts on interesting islands, and am way out front in civ score and science.
 

Toshiro126

Warlord
Joined
Jun 27, 2005
Messages
229
Location
Boston
I've won cultural on prince when I was alone on a continent, but haven't been able to do so on monarch yet....

As everyone else said, caravels will be your best friend. Even though you might find yourself behind the tech leader, there will often be a civ or two that are roughly the same tech level as you are, and willing to trade with you.
 

Zophos

Greater Ape of Antics
Joined
Apr 21, 2006
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489
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Austin, TX
I'm in a game with similar characteristics right now. Prince/Epic/Standard Frac with Ragnar (Warlords, obviously). Quickly discovered that I was alone on a continent big enough for 8-9 good cities, but no other land was reachable by galley.

IMHO, such an isolated start simply presents a different set of challenges - some aspects of the game are harder (because you can't piggy-back on your neighbors), and some are easier (because you don't have to defend against your neighbors either). Here's my list, off the top of my head:
  1. Settlers. You are going to have to make a lot more of 'em than you're used to, because no-one is making any cities for you to take.
  2. Workers, too - none to steal, and you have to do all the improvements yourself.
  3. Military. You won't need nearly as many units (until Astronomy or later), but you need to build several of them EARLY for fog-busting. If you can eliminate most or all of the fog on your continent, no barbs will ever spawn, and you won't have to build another unit for a couple thousand years. Or you could build the Great Wall and just keep enough units for settler-escort duty.
  4. Border pops. Grabbing Stonehenge or an early religion is more important, since you cannot depend on religion spreading to you.
  5. Tech path. Clearly, Optics and Astronomy are more important than usual. And you can ignore or delay a lot of military techs until you have them.
Basically, the big difference is in the military. If you can suppress the fog early, you can cut out a whole raft of headaches and expenses, and concentrate on a pure-builder strategy up 'til Astronomy. In my game, I had exactly one unit/city until around 1300 AD, at which point I had researched Optics (770 AD) and Astronomy (~1100 AD), but I had not bothered to build anything tougher than a chariot. I'm now in the mid 1500s, I have almost twice the GNP as #2, and I'm landing galleons-full of riflemen and cavalry to attack longbows, maces, and knights.
 

Pogel

Warlord
Joined
Feb 24, 2006
Messages
134
Thanks for the advice. I knew I'd screwed up really, but I was pretty unfamiliar with this situation so was flying a bit blind. Then again, sometimes you learn more from your screw ups than from your success.
 

cabert

Big mouth
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Dec 14, 2005
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France
Pogel said:
Thanks for the advice. I knew I'd screwed up really, but I was pretty unfamiliar with this situation so was flying a bit blind. Then again, sometimes you learn more from your screw ups than from your success.

well, it's far more shocking when you get flushed than when you storm through. So you'll remember better the situation where you screw up than the one where nothing went wrong.
I can tell you I won't run lousy fogbusting on warlords anymore, for this reason!
 

Wodan

Deity
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Jun 3, 2005
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I agree with all the comments but have two other "thoughts" to toss on the pile, for what it's worth.

As soon as you realize you're totally alone, you need to sit and think for a couple of minutes and decide what victory you're going for. Cultural becomes a more attractive option.

Not sure I agree with comments about getting Stonehenge or an early Religion, to pop your borders (to get the fat cross instead of the small 9 tile area). It's kind of handy, sure. Worth it? Well, would you rather have a couple extra settlers early, or Stonehenge? You already have to build a couple extra Warriors for fogbusting. That's 2 cities that aren't building infrastructure. I don't know. I 'm not saying it's bad, just that it's less of an obvious choice for me.

I usually head for Great Library anyway, and build early Libraries in a lot of my cities, so border popping isn't a problem.

Your cities will be limited in health/happiness anyway, so they won't get high enough in population that you're lacking for tiles to work. What do you need, size 8 before you really NEED the fat cross? Even then, you can always set up a specialist.

It's not like it would be a big deal, either way, is what I'm saying.

Getting your own religion is good for commerce and monastery research: has little to do with any perceived need for border pops (to get the fat cross).

All these comments were if you're on your own isolated continent. Obviously, border pops are much more important with AIs running around.

Wodan
 

jerVL/kg

Sheep Nuker
Joined
Dec 30, 2005
Messages
810
I love isolated starts. You get to expand at your own pace, and don't have to worry about beating the AI to all those precious resources. Plus, the extra barbs are fun. :lol:

This week I playd a game as Elizabeth (Prince/Standard/Continents) where I had my own long, narrow continent...right by the south pole. :eek: Lots and lots of lovely tundra-covered forest, but almost NO grassland anywhere (so much for cottage spam!) I dealt with it by beelining to The Oracle (CS slingshot) followed by Pyramids, Great Library, Notre Dame & Colossus. Didn't bother with with Stonehenge, since I started next to 5 silks and needed Calendar ASAP -- in fact, I seem to have the world's monopoly on Silk and Deer! As it turned out there was an island passage where I could reach the other continent by galley, so I didn't bother with Astronomy until very late...losing Colossus was a BIG hit to my economy!

On the other hand, I was able to found 3 religions (Hindu/Conf/Christianity, all founded in London) which allowed me to run Free Religion and negate that "heathen" penalty. London became such a commerce/production monster, that I'm still running Bureaucracy in 1800AD; with no cottage spam, Free Speech became worthless. I'm still a little behind on tech, but only to Saladin & Washington -- the biggest problem was discovering there was NO COAL on the continent!!! Not sure what I'm going to do about that.

Oh, and this may be the first game where I've yet to build a single temple, despite owning three religions...the land's so marginal, unhappiness (from overpopulation) never became an issue!
 

Pogel

Warlord
Joined
Feb 24, 2006
Messages
134
Well, funnily enough I got another game just like this over the weekend. Playing as HC, my initial Quechua rush didn't quite go to plan as there was noone to attack :) They proved to be capable fog-busters though (with a couple of chariots for the scary axemen), and I went about setting up a cultural victory using Oracle->CS and then picking up 4 religions.

Much easier second time around. The only problem was that it was a bit dull - missionaries are the new caravans :-/

Funny thing was, I looked at the stats screen at the end of the game - I only lost 2 units (chariots to barb swords) in the whole game. That has to be a record for me.
 

Andraeianus I

Warlord
Joined
Jan 5, 2006
Messages
180
When having an isolated start you could try a cultural victory depending on the presence of marble/stone. Let your expansion be decided by the resources that you want to grab. Stone/marble: grab them soon. Postpone settling in jungled areas after the discovery of pottery and iron working.

Concerning wonders: The Great Lighthouse is very important. You will tend to have many coastal cities and the extra trade routes will pay for your maintenance. The Oracle may also be worthwhile to get Code of Laws or even Christianity. The latter is very important if you want to go for a cultural victory (Sistine Chapel).
 
Joined
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Well I started next to Frederick in my current game. Being Japan I waited for samurai to come on the scene, and that was the end of Frederick. I was able to keep my economy intact while doubling my land area and city count by an earlier successful oracle CoL slingshot. While running slavery I was able to instantly build courthouses since the population would have died off from the culture shock anyway.

There was no marble or stone on the entire continent, so I'm going for a space race. We'll see how it goes.

When I first discovered I was about 6 techs behind. Now I'm the tech leader. You can just complete with all the land area. You may be down at first, but eventually you'll come out on top if you play it right.
 
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