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The merits of upgrading vs. the avoiding of upgrades

Discussion in 'Civ3 - Strategy & Tips' started by justanick, Oct 8, 2019.

  1. justanick

    justanick King

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    In the thread Makeup of armies a discussion about the merits of upgrading vs. the avoiding of upgrades has emerged. Not trying to further the offtopic there i carry the relevant quotes into a new thread and start actually answering on this topic in my next posting in this thread.

     
  2. justanick

    justanick King

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    @vorlon_mi: One important thing you seem to overlook is that unless the treasury does not suffice, research should be set at 100% - luxury rate. So by default there will by a negative gtp in most turns. Usually only the last turn in researching a tech will have positiv gtp. Details can vary, but the principle should be clear enough.

    Another important aspect is to let townships become cities(size 7+) ASAP. Once they have 10 to 12 citizens and a courthouse, production is likely to exceed 10 shields per turn. 15 shields per turn in the middle age are not unfrequent. So at least in the 5 most productive cities there is enough production that can be put into military units. The details do of course vary, but again the basic principle should be clear.

    I intend to write another post that goes a bit more into depth. But your questions were of a more basic nature, so it seemed appropriate to answer them first.
     
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  3. justanick

    justanick King

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    This seems to make sense, at least at first glance. But what does it actually mean?

    Is it sensible to pay 60 gold to upgrade warriors to swordsmen? This saves 20 shields that can instead be put into the production of useful city improvements like a university. If the alternative is to spend 80 gold directly by goldrushing from say 100 shields to 120 shields, this clearly is the lesser evil. My premise however is that this is just less wasteful.

    It seems reasonable to see a production of 10 shields per turn as the lower limit of production inside (most of the) the core of your empire.

    You pay 60 gold and get a university 2 turns earlier. The university will cost 2 gtp and gives a bonus of 50% on (base commerce after corruption) x research rate. Base commerce from 12 citizens may be about 30 with 2.5 per citizen. In addition the city title may give say 6 base commerce. So that is 36 base commerce prior corruption. In many instances it will be less. Corruption may reduce the figures by 20% to 28.8 which after rounding is 29. Luxury rate may reduce it a further 20%. This leaves 23 base commerce to put into research. With a library present this increases beakers per turn to 23 x 1.5 = 34. With university it will be 23 x 2.0 = 46. That is a gross gain of 12 beakers per turn at the expense of 2 gtp. So it is a gross gain of about 10 gtp over 2 turns for an investment of 60 gold. That is not a great bargain.

    Your point however was not to specially build units for upgrading but rather to avoid rebuilding them by upgrading them. That is a significant difference. Here the question remains what this actually means in practice.

    Say the 2 alternatives are to upgrade 4 spearmen for a total of 120 gold or to disband 4 spearmen and build 4 pikemen from scratch. In the later case 30x4=120 shields have to be spend but 5x4=20 shields are regained by disbanding. So you spend 120 gold to gain 100 shields. In my earlier example of the university this is still not a great bargin as you still spend more gold than you regain later.

    If thanks to Leonardo upgrading occurs at only half the price, then the logic of upgrading for improving the productivy of cities does become sound. You would have to get Leo for free, though. Else the calculation becomes (much) less favourable or at least much less clear.

    Once cities have all the worthwhile improvements the logic will again be different. Then there will not be a net advantage resulting from upgrading, at least during peacetime.

    My preliminary conclusion would be that upgrading is only worthwhile in a limited set of exceptions. The most important exception is of course necessity in warfare. While the size of the military measured in shields is still small and expected losses exceed the replacements from regular production, upgrading can become a necessity. Also utilizing a short term advantage in tech like in case of military tradition can make upgrades reasonable.
     
  4. vorlon_mi

    vorlon_mi Just One More Turn

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    Ah, yes, binary research. I've read about that, but don't practice it. Thanks for the clarification.

    In my recent maps, I have not had sufficient luxury resources to allow my cities to grow above 7 without rioting. I usually keep the luxury slider at 10% in Republic. How do you keep cities with 7, 8, 9 population happy? Do you push the lux slider higher, hire specialists, or both?
     
  5. Kirejara

    Kirejara King

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    I am still not convinced. ;)

    I simply do not like to research with negativ income (exception may happen over a short time), as I prefer to have a financial buffer just in case.
    On Regent and Monarch I still research faster than the united KI and also skip unnecessary secrets (like the Democracy/Free Artistry-branch).
    But I allways throttle back the research slider in the final turn before the next discovery. ;)

    Replacing old units instead of updating is maybe more economic, but it is impractical in my eyes.

    An updated unit is available in the next turn, while a rebuild unit takes several turns (even with the recycled shields of its predecessor).
    Also disbanding units and then slowly rebuilding them is in my opinion an open invitation for the KI to invade (I have seen enougth sudden raiding parties, while a border city had send its defender via railroads for upgrade into a city with barracks).

    And using old units as suicide squads only increase war weariness, with little effect.

    My army is usually modern, but not very large (in the statistics mostly about 3-4 years of service) and my military adivisor is often complaining that the enemy outnumbers our forces (while I mop the flour with them ;) ), so I do not have much reserve to shuffle into border cities as replacement for disbanded units (since I veeery rarely make a ROP with an KI my inland cities do not have a garrsion).

    Otherwise my expirience is mostly the same those of vorlon_mi.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2019
  6. justanick

    justanick King

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    Obviously you have to use the luxury slider. 40% luxury rate is totally acceptable if the alternative is to slow down growth. Reducing the luxury rate can happen later when masses of cavalry allow you to capture more and more luxury resources.

    In extreme growth may not improve your net commerce, but it will increase your net production. But at least if playing a republic a positive effect on net commerce is to be expected.

    This is especially true for the step from size 6 to size 7. You gain 4 gtp just from higher free unit support. Furthermore the productivity of the city tile increases by 0 to 1 shields and 1 to 3 base commerce. You really do need cities instead of mere townships.

    I had Demigod and above in mind where research starts to become expensive. At Sid research costs 2.5 times as much as at Regent. This explains why it is easier to fall into the "net commerce trap".

    You simply run out of useful things to build because research is progressing slowly and if you continue to build units, then your net commerce reduces further. In the end you may be forced to put production into wealth. While you have the opportunity to lose units in war, the trap can easily be avoided(here i ignore war weariness as it can be overcome by making peace). But if a nation lacks the ability to lose units in war, then it can easily fall into the "net commerce trap". An isolated AI on an island can therefore reach a state of stagnation.

    If rebuilding happens slowly, then disbanding should occur at slow rate, too.

    That is unless you want to provoke a war. But there are probably better ways to achieve that.
     
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  7. Kirejara

    Kirejara King

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    My highest difficulty is Emperor. And since I play only for fun and to relax, I have no intention to go higher (yet? ;) ).

    Also I have that strange intention to win. ;)


    I am aware, that You did not intend to disband all units at once. ;)

    I prefer the submarine bug for provoking a war (after taking the gold of my designated victim of course ;) ).
     
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  8. SuedecivIII

    SuedecivIII Chieftain

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    No one's mentioned this so far, but it's pretty easy to spend 100% of your income (through the science and luxury slider) without running out of gold through diplomacy. Selling techs and resources can bring in hundreds of gold per turn that the game won't let you spend through the sliders. And also, as mentioned above, you get extra gold by micromanaging the slider when the tech is almost done to prevent overflow.

    I'd be happy to spend that money on upgrades if I need them, given the game physically won't let me spend it on tech.

    If it's a trade-off, where upgrades mean turning down my science slider? The answer is a hard "it depends". Right now do I need more shields, or gold? If I'm gearing up for a war, or if I have a bunch of city improvements to build that generate good returns, I'll say shields. If I'm approaching a key tech which will generate returns (like steam power), I might be more inclined to say gold.
     
  9. justanick

    justanick King

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    This may work while you are ahead in tech or (maybe more precisely) once you are ahead in tech. This is not so easy to achieve at the higher difficulty settings. And once you have achieved it, the game tends to be won already in the sense that you are so strong that your victory is hardly in any danger.

    A different aspect can be that in the middle age you may still be able to achieve a net surplus of gold prior to one time expenses such as upgrades. But as you build up more buildings the picture changes. Universities cost 2 gtp. Factories and power plants cost 3 gtp, each. As such expenses or those for mere unit support pile up it may be wise to have decently filled treasury. This is less true while your are still militarily inferior and may be forced to cave in to demands of tribute by militarily superior nations.

    Also it can easily occur that is sensible to have net expenses in diplomacy. Buying luxuries tends to pay off as it increases your research rate. Also paying with gtp for a military alliance is one of best ways to ensure victory in war. There the return on investment is much higher than in case of upgrades.

    In the end i feel that it is unlikely to run out of more sensible expenses than upgrades.
     
  10. Lanzelot

    Lanzelot Moderator Moderator

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    It all depends on what kind of game you are playing. For a fast UN or Space victory, research is indeed the most important (though there is usually some surplus cash available from trading out-dated techs to the AI, so I upgrade some units nevertheless).

    But for a fast Conquest/Domination victory, you can stop research early. It depends on the map and on the difficulty level: sometimes Horsemen are sufficient for ending the game, but if it takes longer to reach all enemies or if the difficulty level is higher, you may need better units like Knights. And for Deity and Sid (or Demigod on a bad map) Cavalry is necessary.

    Anyway, in most cases I go with Knights, so research can be stopped after Chivalry. Then you have lots of gold that is no longer needed, and the best way is to use it for upgrades. In these games I voluntarily pillage my iron, so I can build Horsemen again, and then reconnect the iron and upgrade the Horsemen. Rinse & repeat. This is the best way to build a big army quickly, as it uses both, the shields and the gold for creating units.

    In my Asterix game I even stopped research after only four techs and then used this "disconnect-reconnect strategy" to win the game with Gallic Swordsmen instead of Knights. The order of research was something like Alphabet --> Writing --> CoL --> Philosophy --> pick Republic for free, trade Iron Working from the AI and then turn research off for the rest of the game.

    Of course I got some more techs from the AI via trades, especially Currency for Marketplaces and Map Making for building Galleys to reach the other continent. On Emperor you can usually rely on the AI to research the remaining Ancient Age techs for you, if you can wait a while and don't need them urgently. Republic will buy you any tech you need.

    So after researching exactly four techs, I set science to 0%, pillaged my iron, built Warriors for 10s a piece, reconnected iron and used the cash to upgrade them to Gallic Swordsmen. How strong this strategy is, can be seen from the fact that it was an Emperor level game with only a "medium" start location, and Domination was reached in 10 AD. I doubt that avoiding upgrades and spending the gold on research instead would have resulted in a faster victory.
     

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