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the road to Diplomatic Victory

Discussion in 'Civ3 Strategy Articles' started by satchel, Dec 24, 2002.

  1. satchel

    satchel Chieftain

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    This article began as a post in a Strategy & Tips forum
    discussion on diplomatic victory. I owe my thanks to some of the forumers who commented on my post with refinements of their own, notably pdescobar and Yndy.

    I play at Monarch level, and nearly every game I win is a diplomacy victory. Many players here at CFC have commented that diplomacy victories are "easy" or "cheap." I disagree. While there are exploits involving MPP entanglements that can make a diplomacy victory easy, playing a game from the start with the intention of developing your civilization toward a diplomatic victory poses some interesting challenges.

    The challenges of working toward diplomatic victory generally reward a peaceful builder approach, but war is not oout of the question. Indeed, war is often necessary, either to weaken a key opponent, grab desirable territory, or secure a vital resource. But there is a reputation cost to declaring war, so limit your agression and when you can, provoke another civ into declaring war on you.

    I am extremely careful with my reputation. This is the first and foremost thing, because if you trash your reputation no amount of gifts and bribery can fix it. Taking care with your reputation tricky. Some of things I do include

    *never, ever razing an AI city. Ever. When at war I use artillery to bomb the population down and after I take them I starve them down to 1 pop point; with strong culture and a strong garrison I never lose captured cities to culture flip this way. The AI doesn't mind me bombing and starving them to death, but razing an AI city will destroy your reputation.

    * never, ever engaging in RoP-rape, or the other actions that the AI treats as RoP-rape. That means making sure you have no units in their territory when you declare war - not even a lone ship a few squares away from one of their cities. I declare war on the diplomacy screen either by choosing "prepare for war" or by calling up the peace treaty from "active" agreements and canceling it.

    * never turning down a deal without offering something else in return. When the AI offers me a deal I do not want to take (like "World Map" for "World Map and Combustion" ) I say no, but then give them the world map for free (for example). This is the only time I use gifts. Trading is key to maintaining strong healthy relations with your neighbors. It is important to have many active trades, and be generous. If I have traded a technology to two or three large civs for a lot of money, but a weak civ can only offer me 10 gold and a world map for it, I make that deal. There's no reason not to - the weak civ can't use the technology to harm me, and their vote counts.

    *never, ever, break an existing deal. If I want to wage war, I wait until active trades with the target civ expire. Then I call up that trade and cancel it. Then, and only then, will I declare war, again making sure there's no RoP-rape.

    *a corrollary to the above is, never entering MPPs. I want control over when and with whom I go to war, because breaking deals trashes my reputation. So I simply do not enter MPPs. I will grant RoPs to civs that ask for them, but I take MPP off the table. I will also use military alliances when I want to draw another AI into the conflict to force my enemy to fight on two fronts. When I do that, though, I always wait 20 turns and end the military alliance before making peace, in order to avoid breaking a deal.

    *Finally, understanding that not every civilization will like me. I usually wage two or three large wars a game where I cripple my nearest neighbor or strongest rival, to get their resources or just to make sure I am the leading civ. The civs that I fight with will never like me, no matter how honorably I conduct the war. That's okay - I don't need every vote, just a majority.

    As you see, it takes some work and care to maintain your reputation. But when I follow the above steps, I will nearly always win a UN election. (I have never lost one, although they are sometimes inconclusive.)

    As I mentioned above, I generally follow a peaceful builder type of strategy with a few strategic wars sprinkled in. By doing so, I develop a rich economy and a healthy tech lead by the middle of the industrial age. When aiming for diplomatic victory, there is no harm in trading technology to your rivals if it can keep you wealthy and popular. I trade nearly every technology, generally maintaining only a one or two tech lead. Thus it is never a problem for me to build the UN soon after entering the modern age.
     
  2. DaveMcW

    DaveMcW Chieftain

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    Great guide!

    Ironically, your simple checklist makes diplomatic victories cheap and easy to achieve. ;) :lol:
     
  3. Favorius

    Favorius I am not a Chief!

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    A cool thread.Thanx but it would be better to send before I lost in the UN elections.:)
     
  4. 12ozProphets

    12ozProphets Chieftain

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    If you take over a city, and then abandon it, does it count the same as razing it?
     
  5. Bamspeedy

    Bamspeedy We'll dig up the road!

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    12ozProphets-If there are more foreigners in the city than citizens of your nationality (for example if you are the Zulu and there are 3 Babylonians, and 1 Zulu in the city), then Yes-it is the same as razing.

    Firaxis informed us about this about a month or so ago about this. I don't know if we ever got an answer on whether it is a rep hit if the foreigners and nationals are equal, though (2 Babylonians, 2 Zulu for example).

    Best to join workers or let the citizens grow with your own citizens, then abandon when the majority of the city is of your nationality.
     
  6. 12ozProphets

    12ozProphets Chieftain

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    Thanks Bamspeedy,

    I sometimes abandon cities I capture and resettle them because I don't like the spacing. No wonder everyone always hates me!
     
  7. Lynx

    Lynx Chieftain

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    i cant do this, i just feel the need to kill people...
     
  8. Niz02

    Niz02 Chieftain

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    Very often, I win by diplomacy on Emperor level
    although never aim at this type of victory, except
    maybe for the very first time. Usually, I try to engage
    the most advanced AI civs in war conflicts, whenever
    possible and whenever reasonable.

    About reputation... Many times once furious on me AI
    civs later voted for me in UN. The keys to a victory by
    diplomacy are a common enemy and the trade.

    Yet, there is no victory by trade and for me a victory by
    diplomacy is in fact victory by trade and diplomacy.

    I completely agree with satchel about not breaking a
    deal however not for a reason of reputation but
    because after a trade deal is broken then later some
    types of deals are no more available, like lump sums
    for gpts for instance. And I never forget that peace
    after war is also a trade deal.

    The common enemy might be any AI civ and if this is
    the rival in the next UN elections the better, however
    that is not important. What is important is to unite the
    majority of AI civs against one or two other AI civs,
    that is to bribe them to fight.

    Well, a victory by diplomacy is a challenge but it is
    annoying when the game is over too early. I have
    never reached the last branches of the techs tree.
    Robotics, stealth, integrated defense are these from
    the same game?

    I would like to be able to mod the game so that a
    victory by diplomacy is achieved whenever a player
    has the majority of votes from 3 UN elections, that is
    not earlier than 40 turns after the first UN session.
    Has anyone an idea how to do this? Any hints and
    comments are welcome.
     
  9. Aggie

    Aggie Chieftain

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    Satchel, I think this is a great article and I live by these rules most of my games. 70% of my victories is diplomatic.

    But what I miss in your article is related to what Niz02 pointed out. You spend much time on improving your reputation, but not on ruining the reputation of your opponents.

    When I feel it's time to wage a war, I get military alliances with the other CIVs at almost any cost. Here's why:

    1. Some civs may have trade deals with my enemy which they break at that moment, resulting in a bad rep.
    2. A couple of civs will break the military alliance with me and make peace before the end of the deal, thus also resulting in a bad rep for them, but no grudge against me.
    3. It's sets of a domino-effect. My world war is the trigger for many wars to come in which I may or may not take part. The others civs however will and will undoubtably brake one our two deals in the process. Again resulting in a bad rep for one or more civs.

    These all in the end give me a huge advantage against the AI civs, since I stuck to the rules of good diplomacy.

    I play on monarch level and always won the votes using your tactics combined with mine.
     
  10. satchel

    satchel Chieftain

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    Niz and Aggie: excellent comments, thank you.

    Thinking about your comments, I believe that your suggestions are implicit in my play style, but you are correct that I hadn't brought them to the surface as valuable elements of a diplomatic victory in their own right.

    I use military alliances (as my article says) to encourage my neighbors to fight with one another, diverting their resources away from infrastructure and science. This typically helps me gain and maintain technological superiority. I had not thought of the other benefits of such alliances, namely inducing AI civs to RoP-rape and break their ongoing trades with one another. This is an excellent point which I'll keep in mind in my next game.

    I would reiterate that when making military alliances in a game in which you are trying to maintain a sterling reputation, you have to remember not to make peace before 20 turns have lapsed and the alliance has been cancelled. I'll also stress my preference for miliatary alliances over MPPs, in order to maintain control over when and with whom I go to war.
     
  11. Aggie

    Aggie Chieftain

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    Thank you...

    I fully agree with your addition to our comments. MPP's are poison for your reputation and a military alliance must expire before peace can be made. Regardless of the war weariness that may occur. If you go for the diplomatic victory.
     
  12. Aggie

    Aggie Chieftain

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    @Satchel: In your article you point out that the MPP just before voting is an exploit.

    I agree with you. It takes all the fun out of this victory type and I consider it to be as bad an exploit as a ROP-rape.

    Is this the place to discuss all actions that can be considered as an exploit for the diplomatic victory? If so, I want to add that a worldwide military alliance against your biggest opponent in the UN vote one or two turns before the voting is also an exploit.
     
  13. satchel

    satchel Chieftain

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    Yes, I suppose it can be considered an exploit. I don't play competitively, so I don't really care how others approach their games.

    However, I do feel that those who say "Diplomatic victory is cheap and easy because all you have to do is set up a worldwide chain of mutual protection pacts the turn before you build the UN" are somewhat missing the point of the diplomatic victory condition.

    Diplomatic victory is cheap and easy if you take advantage of the simplicity of the AI programming to trick the AI's into handing you victory. But it can also be an entertaining challenge to a certain kind of player, and that's the aspect of it that I sought to highlight in my article. I know that there are many naysayers out there who won't change their minds about diplomatic victory, but chances are they aren't reading this thread anyway. :) At any rate, I am glad that it the full richness of diplomatic strategy is appreciated by some.
     
  14. Angmar

    Angmar Chieftain

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    I have a few questions that are not answered here.

    90% of the time that I go for an Alliance vs a Civ is when I am not ready to fight that civ on my own. Now and again this one civ will need more than two of us to beat them down.

    Civ A attacks me. I get Civ B and Civ C into the war vs Civ A. Now I know about not taking the last city. But what happens if Civ B takes the last city before the 20 turns. Does Civ B fault me for not completing the 20 turn alliance? What about Civ C? What about the rest of the world?

    My other question is.. What is expected of another Civ when they sign an alliance? Can you be faulted ( reputation hit ) if you dont contribute to the war? In my current game I have the great lighthouse and managed to explore a great deal of war. Even introducing a few civs to each other that would normally not have the ability to meet. I beleive the Aztecs joined an alliance to fight a war on another continent that they couldnt get to. And in turn that continents Civ's couldnt reach the Aztec homeland.

    This means that the Aztecs joined a war in which they will never see battle. I have been known to do this. Form an alliance at a key moment that will ensure that enemy troops never reach my borders. Say if we have a layout of Civs.

    A needs to pass to B to get to me C. A declares war on me, I wait till I see A's troops about to finish crossing B's soil then I get B into the battle against A. Net effect all of A's troops in B's land will either get smashed by B's army or A will be distracted and try to take their cities.

    This means that hopefully no troops will get onto my soil. I often will not counter attack. So I make an alliance with B against A. I kill none of As troops, take none of As cities. Will B take offence to this? How about the rest of the world?

    Rarely do the wars amount to this extreme... usually there is a always a fight. However now and again I have fought wars were I never engage the enemy. Sometimes in an alliance?

    One other example I had in a game was an utterly botched sea based invasion. I have tweaked the movement rate of troops to fit better with a larger world. I built a huge navy filled with troops. Parked it outside of Japan's waters and waited for the RoP to expire. It did.. I waited a few turns, declared war and landed my troops on a hill. During Japan's turn his entire collection of swordsmen ( or atleast all that it took to destroy my force ) ran up that hill and chopped at my musketmen. One by one they fell. I know I did atleast 2:5 damage to them. But in the end I was defeated in one turn. My navy sailed home dejected. I let Japan sit there and stew till they decided to make peace they did. Now down the road I was able to actually get Japan less than furious with me? Is their anger affected by how much damage you do to them?

    Cheers,
     
  15. steviejay

    steviejay Now in Black and White!!

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    does that mean Alliances? I was at war with the Mongolians and I decided to take some of the heat off me by paying pretty big (like 1500 gold) to get the Koreans (biggest Civ) to attack them. but a few turns later the Mongolians offered me a juicy peace treaty which I couldn't turn down. After that the Koreans were less than pleased and the other Civ's seem to be pretty p***** as well. Is it cause I broke an alliance or am I just a bad person ;)
     
  16. Aggie

    Aggie Chieftain

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    Yes. A Military Alliance is also a 20 turn deal. If you break it, you get a rep hit. Not good for a cultural victory path...
     
  17. Yndy

    Yndy Chieftain

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    Satchel thanks for acknowledging my contribution. I think this is a reference article. I am happy that you agree that MPP and war triggered diplomatic victories are an exploit because you can disregard half of the tips you quoted if you do a MPP or alliance network just before the UN and still win.

    Edit: On a review two more tips are needed:

    1. Never engage in .per turn trade or ROPs with dying civs. If you see that a civ is going to be destroyed you should stop trading because you will get the rep hit when they die.

    2. Consider the luxury, resource deals in the ancient times and early middle ages. The trade routes are fragile and wars can break them and guess who takes the hit...

    I discovered the latter the hard way. I was happy that I could trade with the Zulu on a different continent even if the trade route went through Persian territory. At some point the Persians declared war. Oddly enough the route did not break but 3 turns later when the Zulu declared war to the Persians I got a rep hit

    Edit: Changed point no.1 to reflect TNO's comment below
     
  18. TheNiceOne

    TheNiceOne Chieftain

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    Yndy: I'd like to add a bit to your point 1.

    You're entirely correct that you must avoid deals that involve you giving them something for 20 turns (ROP, GPT, resources), but other deals are fine.

    In my last game (huge map, emperor), 5 or so other civs ganged up on America. I stayed away from the war, but happily traded with America. Since America lost city after city, they fell far behind in the tech race, so I sold them the old techs for what they could pay. They gave me a lot of workers since they moved the workers into the cities when threathened (and workers in the capital can be traded).

    When America was emliminated, there was no Rep hit for me.
     
  19. Aggie

    Aggie Chieftain

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    Yndy, great addition to the article and the other comments! It's common practice for me to think about that (no 20-turn deals with dying civs), but it's good to mention it, since it's illogical to most people. You should be praised for dealing with a civ in distress, but it's just not designed like that by Firaxis :p

    By the way: I try to save dying civ if it really likes me. That includes blocking the last city for the aggressors. I only have to get a ROP deal with the potential victimv and peace with the aggressors. They won't attack my units. A small civ is great to make deals with. I trade old techs for almost nothing and in return it will vote for me... :lol:

    Satchel's article and all other hints given in this thread give the human player an huge advantadge in the UN vote. The AI is not smart enough to understand gpt deals as humans do... Difficulty is to avoid the situations you can't control. Like a culture flip in which you lose the coal source you were trading with another civ...

    NOTE: be sure to actually build the UN wonder! It's all very well to have a super reputation, but if you don't have control of the UN vote, all is for nothing.... ;) Use a palace pre-build if needed... That's always been my tactic. I pre-build the palace and if you get Fission one turn before the palace is built, it takes 1 to 3 turns more to finish the UN wonder.
     
  20. Aggie

    Aggie Chieftain

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    @Angmar: I try to answer your questions, but some of them are tricky...

    First question: You get alliances with B and C to got to war with A. If B destroys A, I THINK you get a rep hit. But I also THINK it will give B and C a rep hit. This is a difficult issue though... I'm not sure... EDIT: I tested this and I found that you DON't get a reputation hit when you or an other civ destroys the common enemy. I was still able to make gold per turn deals (where I payed gpt). Don't know about the influence on the UN vote however...

    Second question: You are not expected to actually fight during the war. You must just finish the 20 turn MA-deal. This is great in the following situation: A, B, C and D are on a continent. You are on another. If you declare war to A and get MA's with B, C and D you will be kept out of the war, profit and they all get war weariness, etc....

    Third question: I don't know if a civ gets angrier depending on the damage.... But as a rule, the civ you had war with will not vote for you. This one vote normally doesn't matter much, as long as there are 5 or more civs left during the vote.
     

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