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The Power of Shaka

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by vormuir, Dec 14, 2007.

  1. vormuir

    vormuir Prince

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    Halfway through my first game with Shaka (Warlords). Wow, what a great leader. I wasn't impressed at first' I'm a builder, not a monger, and Aggressive/Expansive didn't seem like much of a combo. But...

    1) Killer UU. I posted on this yesterday.

    2) One of the better UBs. I think this is the only UB that's useful through the entire game! The Ikhanda lets you have a somewhat bigger empire in the early game, and then it saves you a ridiculous amount of money in the later game (when you're getting 70% instead of 50% off on your city maintenance costs). I lack the Worldbuilder skillz to check this, but I suspect that a mature Zulu empire with Ikhandas in every city is about equal to a similar empire that has the Organized trait. IOW, the Ikhanda is almost like having a third trait. That's good.

    And as icing on the cake, the Ikhanda is cheap -- Shaka's Aggressive trait makes it half cost.

    3) The UU synergizes with the UB; early Ikhandas (and you can build them early because they're cheap) mean you can start your Impis with CR I, Medic I, Shock or Cover. This means your Impis can pick off lightly defended AI cities with ease, or -- if you build enough of them quickly -- can swarm-rush an enemy capital.

    4) Shaka's starting techs are Agriculture and Hunting. I suppose giving him Mining would have been too overpowered... but anyway, Agriculture plus cheap Granaries is good for early growth (and whipping...), while Hunting is the prerequisite for your UU. Hunting also means you start with a Scout, which means you'll probably find more of the map faster, which is good because you'll be figuring out who to hit first.

    5) Finally, while Aggressive and Expansive may not synergize directly, cheap Granaries /and/ cheap Ikhandas are pretty nice... with a couple of quick whips, you can have a new or conquered city up and running, ready to crank out more units for your conquering horde.

    So, the obvious strategy for Shaka: ignore early religions, and let the other civs waste their hammers on wonders. Beeline for Bronze Working and grab copper. Build Ikhandas. Start cranking out Impis and Axes. Attack, attack, attack.

    Potential weaknesses... well, I wouldn't care to play Shaka on an archipelago map. He's not a research monster, so he'll need to do a lot of pointy stick research and swapping loot for slider percentages. If he doesn't have copper within reach, half his early advantage is lost. And he's vulnerable to unhappiness; he'll be whipping a lot, he has no happiness advantages, and he probably won't get a religion for the first couple of thousand years.

    Still, all in all he's a very well-rounded warmonger, and I've enjoyed playing him much more than I expected.


    Waldo
     
  2. vormuir

    vormuir Prince

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    [sfx: crickets]

    I guess that means everyone agrees...

    Two last thoughts. One, Shaka is probably one of the three best civs for mongering. (I'd say the other two were the Romans and Persians. IMO Shaka just pips Huayna, mostly because his UB is better.)

    Two, Shaka may have the most overdetermined early teching of any leader. When playing Shaka, there's a pretty clear best path:

    Mining
    Bronze Working (find the Bronze for Impis)
    Wheel (for hooking up same)
    Pottery (cheap Granaries, leverage Agriculture, better whipping)

    You might throw Fishing in there if you start near coastal resources, or Animal Husbandry if you have animals in your BFC. But otherwise, it's pretty fixed.

    If this seems a little rigid, consider the other early techs.

    • Mysticism? Dude. Shaka doesn't found religions... Shaka takes religions. No Mysticism until after you've got your second city, and then only if you need to chop a Monument for a border pop.
    • Masonry? Maybe if you have Stone or Marble in the BFC, but otherwise forget it. You're not going to build expensive early Wonders -- you're going to take them from the people who do.
    • If you beeline Bronze Working and the Wheel, you'll have Impis before barb archers start showing up, so Archery isn't a priority.
    • Polytheism, Meditation, Sailing? Don't think so.

    I don't think this is a bad thing, BTW. It might make playing Shaka a bit boring after a while, but most of us don't play the same leader over and over. And there's something sort of liberating about ignoring early Wonders and religions and just going for early rush and REX.

    Thoughts?


    Waldo
     
  3. Guardian_PL

    Guardian_PL Emperor

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    Zulu are a great nation, but it really cannot be better than Incas in my opinion.
    Incan UB bad? +2:culture: to the granary, so like (I think) KMadCandy wrote somewhere -You conquer a city around 1AD and if it has a granary older than millenium (I guess) it gives double culture, so it's +4:culture: as soon as the anarchy ends.

    But Zulu are definitely close to being best civ to play, if there is such thing.
     
  4. TM Moot

    TM Moot King

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    haven't played Zulu yet, but i have learnt the hard when that when Shaka is a close neighbour you had better get rid of him quick or it'll get messy before long..!!
     
  5. Morgrad

    Morgrad Attack Rodent

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    I do!

    Shaka is a great warmonger. Think of how sad Persia or Egypt is stuck next to this guy.

    "MUAHAHAHHAHA!! My Chariots/Immortals will destroy you all! MUAHAHAHAHAH!!"

    "WTF are those little things?"

    "ACK! Impis!"

    /die /die /die /dead
     
  6. volfan37132

    volfan37132 Chieftain

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    Shaka is great fun. I like the uu and ub, but he does play differently.
    He's the best pillaging civ in the game with chariot / impi combo. Maybe this
    is more valuable in multiplayer. Oh only if impis could beat axemen.
    No doubt his ub is good.
     
  7. Monkeyfinger

    Monkeyfinger Deity

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    Copying and pasting a post of mine from a 2 month old topic:

    I'll also throw in a pre-emptive counter to Impi pillaging hype since some idiot responded to me with that in the other topic: Any 2 move unit can do that to the AI.
     
  8. Gooblah

    Gooblah Heh...

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    Yes! Finished up a Tiny Noble Pangaea map as Shaka. Impi-rushed Charlemagne and Justinian by 2000 BC, before they set up additional cities.
     
  9. Levgre

    Levgre King

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    he is very annoying in MP, the greater speed of impis means he is often basically a deathblow unless you have copper to defend. Even then if, if you don't connect and build quick enough, they have more impis and can overpower your axemen with shock, and then easily get rid of your copper.

    Chariots, useless. Archers, useless(impis can be upgraded with cover, or 4.4 base is still near impossible to beat). With regular spearmen at least, your archers could be fighting a somewhat slower stream of units.

    Just furthers my distaste of very early warfare, little strategy, just have and have not.
     
  10. King of Town

    King of Town Adventuring

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    there is are a number fo civs that counter shaka very well, so much in fact I look forward to seeing him. Native americans for one, dog soldiers eat up any melee unit, and the archers. When you start with cg3 there isn't much else to say. Babylons archers are good against them as well. If I am going for a spearman I prefer holkans by far. The best thing about impi's is that the mobility bonus is upgradeable. besides that holkans rule. but as a leader shaka is nice.
     
  11. vormuir

    vormuir Prince

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    Any 2 move unit with Mobility, you mean.

    Oh, wait... there aren't any.


    Waldo
     
  12. Roxlimn

    Roxlimn Deity

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    Impi have 2 move and mobility. ;)
     
  13. vormuir

    vormuir Prince

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    Well, I doubt I'm going to convince you that Shaka is good. Still...

    "pity the boost to troop strength is one measly, fixed promotion that only works on 2 unit classes,"

    ...the two most common unit classes. Basically what you're saying here is that the Aggressive trait sucks. Most people disagree.


    "the UU can't actually kill any city defenders even with the aggressive boost"

    Killing city defenders is not what the Impi is for. (Although they do just fine if you build enough of them.)


    "has its movement wasted on its role as a stack protector,"

    Do what? That's very much a secondary role for the Impi.

    The point of the Impi is to pillage. Pillage fast early. Get to the enemy's metals and shut him down. If you take out his resources, he can't build any counter units; Impis with Cover, fortified on his copper and horses, mean he'll never have anything but Archers. You may then build Axes and Swords and dismember him at your leisure.

    Unless you're isolated, the Impi pretty much guarantees you can kill one neighbor early, before he gets Iron Working, never mind Construction for cats. Move quickly, and you've got a decent chance of pulling the same trick on a second neighbor. If you don't care whether anyone likes you, you can also pillage distant civs and cripple their development -- the Impi can cross a continent quickly and kneecap civs that have barely heard of you.


    "the building's savings are 40% of what you'd get from a courthouse"

    Yeah, and the cost is 25% of a Courthouse -- 30 hammers vs. 120.

    And you can build the Ikhanda from day one, rather than waiting a hundred turns until you have Code of Laws.

    And then you have the Ikhanda/as well as/ the Courthouse, meaning you get a total of 70% off maintenance in the middle and late game.

    As noted, this is so good it's almost like having a third trait -- in the late game, Shaka feels like an Organized civ.

    [shrug] If you don't like Shaka, you don't like Shaka. But it's hard to see how you can say he doesn't have synergy. He's got terrific synergy.


    Waldo
     
  14. NubianMercenary

    NubianMercenary Warlord

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    ..SHAKA..IMPI..WIN.. - The Big Three! :)

     
  15. Innawerkz

    Innawerkz I'm the other white meat.

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    @ Monkeyfinger

    Play a MP game with Shaka and fail to adapt your strategy to him being a neighbour, you will lose. EVERY time. The only civs that can ignore Shaka and get away with it are the Babylonians and the Native Americans - everyone else will suffer a slow strangled death - sometimes not even that slow.

    The formula really is simple. Granaries & Ikhandas in every city. Impis out as fast as possible to cut or deny any metals. Expansive-enhanced workers out chopping new cities, more Impis & laying cottages will very quickly outpace you in terms of city size, tech rate and production.

    Everything you own will be pillaged. Your Archer every 4 or 5 turns won't turn the tide against the Impi per turn rate a competent Shaka player is at this point. If he can't slam a stack of Impis against your Archers and take the city, it is only a matter of time before his REAL Aggressive-enhanced stack shows up to claim your land.

    Shaka, in MP, is broken if he pops Copper in his first or second city. Persia is broken, in MP, if they pop horses in their first city.
     
  16. Monkeyfinger

    Monkeyfinger Deity

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    Innawerks, thanks for yet another post to which I can respond by copying and pasting an older post of mine that's appropriate.

     
  17. fuzzynutz

    fuzzynutz Chieftain

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    ^^ Is something wrong with you?

    I just beat the game for the first time with Shaka just now and I did basically what you said except I had trouble getting copper and iron for my Impis, and by that time I had Swordsman, which actually worked out REALLY good.

    The Impis played perfectly pillaging the lands of the enemy. I basically shut down Hannibal who was in first place at the time (still early in the game 50th-100th turn or so) with about 7 Impis while My Swordsman/Axeman stacks slowly took down his 4-5 cities. After beating his initial Army which was War Elephants and friends, he was no longer able to sustain this due to lack of resources.

    It worked really well. Thumbs up. I ended up getting a Space Race victory after taking out one more AI Opponent (Ghenghis Khan).
     
  18. Innawerkz

    Innawerkz I'm the other white meat.

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    There. I fixed it for you.
     
  19. Monkeyfinger

    Monkeyfinger Deity

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    I could in fact do that, but I speak for every intelligent person when I say it's beneath me to put the time into learning how to do it.

    If you want to play against thinking, skilled humans, do so in a genre of games that actually holds together at a multiplayer level, like FPSes or fighters. Turn based multiplayer = ultimate fail.
     
  20. fuzzynutz

    fuzzynutz Chieftain

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    Fixing your posts is so much fun.
    Only been here about a week and already seen you post this crap in more than a couple threads.
     

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