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[BTS] The Worst Leader and Civilization

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by Hesha, Dec 13, 2019.

  1. Hesha

    Hesha Prince

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    Hey guys (and gals)!

    This is not just out of curiosity, but also as forward planning for me.

    Is there a consensus on who is the weakest leader in Civ4? Not as AI, which might factor in their behavior, but as a human player. I have noticed that some leadership traits are considered clearly superior to others, so I'd like to know, who is the worst leader?

    Likewise, I'd be interested in who is the worst civilization. I guess this comes to starting techs, UU and UB - did I forget something?

    In case the worst leader is also from the worst civilization: Great. In case not, what would be the worst possible combination?

    In case there is no consensus on these questions, just give me your personal opinion or you top 3 (or should I say "bottom" 3?^^)

    One of the reasons I'm asking, is that I would like to try the harder difficulties in the future and I'd like to make it as hard as possible. Nothing worse than thinking you're able for a higher difficulty after one game, only to realise that you were playing with safety wheels on the whole time because you had a super strong leader/civ.
     
  2. krikav

    krikav Theorycrafter

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    If you start with myst or hunting you are at a disadvantage.
    Likewise with fishing if you don't happen to find yourself at a coastal start.

    Then the PRO trait is bad in almost all situations.
    So, Toku, Charly, Saladin comes to mind.

    Regarding what traits are good, I have more and more come to the realization that it's very much dependant on playing style and ability to leverage the traits.
     
  3. AcaMetis

    AcaMetis Prince

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    The name I always hear when this topic comes up is Tokugawa, followed closely by Charlemagne.
     
  4. lymond

    lymond Rise Up! (Phoenix Style!) Hall of Fame Staff

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    Yep, Toku is considered worst as far as traits (He can be fun though in the right situation)..and pretty much most PRO leaders except those with a great partner trait - Philo/Fin/IND and Gilgamesh is pretty solid with Creative, a nice early UU and great starting techs.. . When it comes to worst civs I base it primarily on the starting tech - and a little bit holistically on the respective leaders. Unique stuff doesn't mean that much to me in the assessment, although there are certainly some good unique stuff. I'd go with HRE being the bottom civ. Aztec would be close. Just really tuff starting with those civs even if they have some other aspects that are okay or potentially fun.

    I think Toku is your man. I often recommend him as a leader for learner/shadow games simply as it focuses that new player on important stuff as opposed to traits and uniques.
     
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  5. Kaitzilla

    Kaitzilla Lord Croissant

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    Charlemagne is the worst leader to play in my opinion.
    Garbage starting techs like Mysticism and Hunting makes it feel like you start with -200:science:.
    He can expand fast, but that just crashes the economy even more!


    Tokugawa has Fishing and The Wheel, which isn't bad.
    Plus, starting with a Warrior is better than a Scout.
    That Combat 1 Warrior can quickly get a healing promotion and get some good early-game scouting done quickly.
    The Scout Charlemagne starts with just dies to barbs unless it moves 1 tile at a time.

    Samurai isn't too shabby.
    And the Shale Plant means the player does not need coal to provide power.
    Even better, if coal is present, just don't hook it up.
    That means Factory + Shale Plant only gives +3 :yuck: if both coal and oil are not connected with roads. (Having both means Factory + Coal Plant gives +7:yuck:)
    An industrial revolution with no unhealthiness problems. :)
    A bummer for IronWorks though.
     
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  6. Fippy

    Fippy Micro Junkie Queen

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    I actually like starting with scouts, can get a land overview quicker and then they can often stay in useful fogbust posis.
    But starting with hunting has one major disadvantage, after connecting metals we cannot build warriors anymore.

    Aggressive sometimes gets underrated, for harder maps where stronger warriors (can be combined with cheap barracks too) help in the beginning there's imo no reason why Toku should be rated lower than Charly.
     
  7. Hesha

    Hesha Prince

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    Thank you all! Another question, it should probably have its own topic, but I don't want to spam the forum (or should Ii start a "bunch of n00b questions"-thread?)...

    When you start on an Island with one or two "neighbours" I usually try to annihilate them as quickly as possible, especially if I happen to have bronze in my capital. Is that a mistake? Obviusly it takes several turns of production to make that stack of axmen...
     
  8. AcaMetis

    AcaMetis Prince

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    It depends, really, some AIs you are better off tossing into the ocean sooner or later. Mind you that on Deity you're not going to be able to axe-rush two neighbours like that, especially if you end up on an island with AIs like Shaka and Genghis Khan.
     
  9. krikav

    krikav Theorycrafter

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    As someone who loves the AGG trait and early warfare I heartly endorse anyone who takes advantage of an early axerush. :D

    However, as @AcaMetis mention, it really depends.
    What it depends on most, is how good land you yourself can settle.
    If you can't settle that much good land, war is the answer and the sooner the better.
    Sometimes it involves workerstealing and sometimes "choking" (lingering with warriors and/or archers in the AIs land to slow them down.)
    Sometimes axes are the answer, sometimes HAs, and in some very rare situations chariots might even be the tool one grabs.
    But often enough, it's construction and catapults one has to resort to.

    If you have good land, it usually makes sense to just develop your own empire first, and letting the AI develop their land themselves and build up their cities, which usually are ripe for picking around the time you reach cuirs/rifles/cannons. ;)

    It's worth keeping in mind that changing the balance from 2 AIs + you to 1AI+you is almost certainly a mistake, as it makes tech trading much more difficult.
     
  10. ArchGhost

    ArchGhost Prince

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    IMO, leader is less important than civ as all they determine are traits. Civ determines uniques and most importantly, starting techs.

    Traits are boons, with no downsides. They are only better than each other when comparing. They never make things work less, or impact the basic core of the game in a negative manner, only positively.

    Unique Units and Unique Buildings are a grab bag. Most are improvements, but either the base unit/building they replace is too inconsequential (example:Masoleums or any Monument replacement) or comes too late (example: Mall/SEAL). They tend to end up only affecting gameplay in a positive manner as well, as few uniques are (arguably) worse than what they replace but the ones that improve significant units are AMAZING (Quecha, Fast Worker, Conquistadors, Cossacks and more), and the good UBs can be surprisingly helpful if it's an early enough building with a significant bonus like the Hammam or Ball Court.

    Starting techs, however, can actually hurt you. Quite a lot, depending on the map start. If you are swamped in forests with only pasture resources for food, and you start with Fishing/Myst, you're in a bit of a pickle and will be quite slowed, being far from Bronze Working and AH. There's a reason there's a bit of a hierarchy for the 6 starting techs and it has to do with how fast you can develop moving forward based on which ones you have. Mining/Agriculture/Wheel are higher and Fishing/Hunting/Mysticism are lower.

    it helps to know what each tech actually does for you too:
    Spoiler :
    Fishing: The obvious one is that it unlocks working water tiles, and building workboats to improve Fish/Crab/Clam. Not so obvious is that this means you can micromanage a little extra commerce early on if needed, or gain a fast scouting unit on water maps. More obscure, it also immediately unlocks Sailing which is one half of what you need for an attempt at The Great Lighthouse, so on leaders like Roosevelt and Augustus, this tech makes them the fastest to get it combined with their IND trait. It's one of the two potential paths to Pottery. Finally, it screws up the GS bulb for Engineering, so this tech actually has a potential con to it besides just the tradeoff of not having Agriculture or Mining instead.

    The Wheel: Unlocks road building to hook up cities to each other, lessening economic impact by adding trade routes, and access resources for their boons/unit building. Bronze won't help much if you don't hook it up! Roads can also be placed preemptively to save worker turns later (such as in forests to be chopped), always gives your workers something to do instead of being idle, and can be critical for assembling fast attacks or defending internally. The Wheel is also hard required for Pottery, necessary for Granaries and cottages, meaning starting with this tech along with either Fishing or Agriculture gives the fastest access to those, a definite boon for FIN leaders, commerce poor starts, or anybody that wants to develop more quickly.

    Agriculture: Immediately improve grain resources, some of the most common food in the game and if it;s naturally irrigated, comparable to AH resources (wet Corn and wet Wheat are both 6 yield tiles). Allows building farms on any naturally irrigated tile, including on floodplains or resources like wet Banana, especially nice in food poor starts with little other option. One of the two paths to Pottery, and also lets one tech AH immediately if you need it for your only food resources; AH resources are always powerful if they are accessible and AH is a path to/cheapens Writing. Agriculture is a just a speedier development tech in general.

    Hunting: Can immediately improve Deer, Fur and Ivory. More niche, as 2 resources spawn only near the poles/on cold map types and Ivory is more common in the middle, or not on the map at all. It can allow some quick access to more happiness or better salvaging of a polar start, but it's situational. Allows building of Scouts immediately, and replaces the starting Warrior with a Scout. This can be a sort of double-edged sword; one can see the map more quickly and make decisions faster, but Scouts are even worse barb defenders that a lowly Warrior (which almost always hurts you, losing that initial defender if you need it) and cannot steal workers (may not even matter if you don't want to steal, but still). Allows immediate teching of AH like Agriculture, but also of Archery. IMO the "best" part of Hunting is that it allows you fall back on Archers very quickly on any map and that part gets overlooked a bit as you don't really want to have to do that. But it's a defensive tech in that way, and could save your bacon with grumpy neighbors or bad barb situations. Again though, one can see the strengths of the tech are more situational than others, which makes it weaker. A final strike against it would be that as Hunting unlocks Spears, having it and Bronze Working together with Copper means you then lose the ability to build Warriors for cheap garrisons.

    Mysticism: Can build Monuments to pop borders for cities immediately. Obviously not that great if you settle for first ring or have access to other methods of Border pop (AI spreading its religon to you, etc.). You wouldn't need to do this as CRE leader either, though none of them start with Myst. Allows access to teching Meditation or Polytheism to found a religion...which isn't that great honestly, and you can be easily beaten by the AIs to both on high difficulty unless you get lucky with/pick the field of rivals. One of the two tech paths to Masonry, which has implications for attempts on Great Wall, Mids, and GLH. At the same time, allows a quicker path to Priesthood, for Oracle shenanigans. Mysticism is largely a boon to early wonder play for the player, though in some instances being able to reliably pop city borders early on can be quite welcome for the player (cultural border wars and snagging offshore fishing resources comes to mind), especially after BW comes in and chopping/whipping are available.

    Mining: Allows immediate improvement of naked hills, Gems, Gold or Silver resources. Mines can also be placed on top of hills with a currently inaccessible resource for an improved mine tile (notably Pig/Grassland/Hill). Mines are the best source of raw hammers before food conversion through the whip, and are always 4f+h yield tiles for settler/worker production; the mining resources are all sources of significant early commerce and some of the earliest happiness you can reliably find. Fast tracks to Bronze Working, which unlocks chopping and whipping, the most powerful mechanic in the game. Even if you have nothing to chop and no copper, Slavery alone is worth BW and the situations where delaying BW is "better" are quite rare. Combined with this and being a path to Masonry, it's the best tech to start with if you wanna make a run on Mids/Great Wall or GLH. IMO Mining is the strongest starting tech overall just because of faster slavery.


    Tokugawa gets a knee-jerk reaction from a lot of people, presumably from his trait combo. He's quite a bit better than Charlie though, AGG is better than either of Charlie's traits and a bit underrated for use on early anti-barb warriors or Axe rushing, Wheel is a very good tech to start with, and Fishing is at least as good as Hunting or Myst if not better. There are other leaders I can think of that don't have "economic help" trait combos that do just fine.

    Just because of starting techs alone, I tend to see the worst civs something like:
    Holy Rome
    Celts
    Greece
    Aztec
    Viking
    Spain

    It's a bit muddied, considering things like Pericles/Alex both having great trait combos, Izzy's amazing uniques and decent traits elevate her quite a bit, and the fact that there are other not-so-hot outliers like Saladin or Genghis who didn't make this shortlist based on starting techs alone. There's also quite a lot of SPI trait in here if you include Saladin, for whatever that's worth. But definite bottom of the barrel for me is HRE and Celtia, especially Brennus.
     
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  11. Fippy

    Fippy Micro Junkie Queen

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    Umm "especially Brennus", i like him as above average leader ;)
    SPI and CHA are a very strong traits combo, sure starting techs matter too but imo no leader with such helpful traits can be less than above average.
     
  12. lymond

    lymond Rise Up! (Phoenix Style!) Hall of Fame Staff

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    Ha..I like Brennus a lot too and GWs. Celts starting techs are horrid though
     
  13. pi-r8

    pi-r8 Luddite

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    The worst leader is simply anyone protective. That trait is garbage for humans. I think it was put in as a hack to help the AI in wars, since so often they default to "sit in their cities with a bunch of longbows and don't move". For an AI that gives them a good bonus, but for human players it's almost like not having a trait at all.

    Other than protective, the traits are more or less balanced. It just depends on what kind of situation you're in, and how you want to play.

    And yeah, the starting techs are usually the most important part of a civ. Sometimes that's map dependent... if you start nearby fish then fishing is good, but on land fishing is a bad tech. Agriculture is almost always a good tech to start with, and mysticism almost never is. The worst is when you start with only animal resources so you have to tech Animal Husbandry, but you don't have Agriculture or Hunting... then it's like you lose 4 or 5 turns right at the start.
     
  14. Hesha

    Hesha Prince

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    Thanks again everybody. So far, it seems, everybode has been treating leaders and civs as inseperably linked. I take away from that the assumption, that it's basically unheard of to mix leaders with other civs than their own, even though the game permits it? While it's certainly cheesy so combine more powerful combinations, if you are looking for the worst, I'm sure there must be another option, right?

    I mean, if we combine the worst leader with the worst civ - especially if they make each other worse on top of it!
     
  15. AcaMetis

    AcaMetis Prince

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    Unrestricted Leaders isn't the standard way to play, so most people here will assume the option isn't used. It certainly can be, but the assumption is that it isn't.
     
  16. krikav

    krikav Theorycrafter

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    I'm sure it's possible to modify somehow, so you can play Sid as a leader (No traits) a play a civ with no UU or UB and no starting techs.

    I remember I had some weird obsession of finding leaders that didn't "skew" the game many years ago.
    I think I ended up with Hammurabi as my choice, can't remember the reasoning though and the reasoning was probably full of holes anyway.

    This game is much about looking at what you have, traits, UU/UB, techs and most importantly, the map and then figuring out what actions to take and in what order, to properly utilize that.
    If you are looking for a tougher challenge, I instead just pick the leader/civ/trait combo that you are finding interesting and want to learn more about, and then ensure toughness by rolling a tougher map, such as poor food (plains sheep/cow, lone clam, etc) and no rivers, no early commerce or happines resources.
     
  17. floydmcw

    floydmcw Warlord

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    Gilgamesh and Qin are not "the worst leaders". Wang Kon is an average leader.

    I don't agree with this either ... any trait (even PRO) can be helpful but traits like AGG, IMP and ORG are not as useful as IND or CRE.

    My stack ranking of traits is

    CRE, IND
    FIN, PHI, SPI
    ORG
    CHA, EXP, IMP
    AGG, PRO

    I mostly play Emperor games on standard speed fractal maps.
     
  18. floydmcw

    floydmcw Warlord

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    I'm really not so sure about this list. There's no way a CRE/PHI leader can be a worst civ. You could give Pericles one starting tech and he'd still be better than a lot of other leaders.

    Monty has SPI and one of the very best UBs in the game. It might be the second best after the Terrace.

    Spain admittedly has the second worst tech combo (Fishing/Myst) but Izzy's traits are solid and her uniques are fabulous.

    Brennus has SPI and CHA. He's a really good warrior. Everything else probably makes him below average but certainly not bottom tier.

    As for Rags, Fishing/Hunting is a little weak but not the hot garbage that is Hunting/Myst. FIN is good and Rags has decent uniques (assuming the map has some use for a navy).

    My list of laggards is something like

    Charlemagne (this guy sucks)
    Boudicca
    Tokugawa
    Genghis Khan (only one good tech, lackluster traits, Keshiks not that much better than stock HA)
    Sitting Bull (unless playing low difficulty levels where he's as abusive as Huyna :):) )
    Saladin
     
  19. lymond

    lymond Rise Up! (Phoenix Style!) Hall of Fame Staff

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    Sitting Bull is a very good high level leader
     
  20. FlyinJohnnyL

    FlyinJohnnyL You need more workers....

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    Toku is fun on the earth 18 civs map. Then again I guess pretty much every civ is fun on that map...
     
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