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Thoughts on Pyramids? And Other Wonder Discussion

Discussion in 'Civ4 - General Discussions' started by The Civs 6, Jun 17, 2020.

  1. The Civs 6

    The Civs 6 King

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    I know this is a really specific thing, but boy don't pyramids kind of suck? Unless you have stone/are industrious they are really expensive. What do they do? They unlock all the government civics. In practice, since you probably want monarchy anyway (well at least I do, I'm ready to be learned by deity players who think police state is better), it just means that you get it... a little earlier. By the time you complete pyramids, you are probably pretty close to monarchy. Maybe if it was a little less expensive it would be good kind of functioning like Oracle and allowing you to skip the monarchy tech. But it's 500 hammers! For context, Oracle is 150 hammers...

    What other wonders do you find yourself thinking about? I often think about whether or not Stonehenge is worth it. +1 culture from turn 1 is really good if you aren't creative, but it's a huge investment of time and resources. I wouldn't grab it unless stone was available and I couldn't get a religion. On the other hand, for me Pentagon is the best wonder in the game except that it comes really late. It's on a great spot in the tech tree that I'd rush anyway. I always make sure to take a shot at it. That extra promotion is just so huge.
     
  2. lymond

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

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    On the contrary, Mids is the most powerful wonder in the game next to the Great Lighthouse (which is map specific). First, with the exception of Hereditary Rule (Monarch), Mids provides access to government civics which one cannot access until at least Constitution (late Ren) and all 2000+ beaker techs. Foremost among these civics is Representation, which is really what building Mids is all about. Being able to adopt this civic early is huge for the boost to research not to mention the happiness. This is what advanced players of Civ IV shoot for when building Mids. Police State though can also have value as well in certain games and can be used temporarily at least during mass army build-ups. If you are Spiritual, you are golden.

    Granted, Mids is indeed expensive early but with any kind of bonus on it is is def worth prioritizing with chops and whip OF. It can be built faster than you think if you know how. Oh, also of note is that it provides GP points early on a great person that is rather hard to achieve but quite valuable if you get one.

    Rarely ever build Stonehenge. At minimum, I use it for some early fail gold regardless of any bonus. Pentagon? I don't think I've bothered building it in my 12 years + playing the game and feel pretty secure in calling it one of the most meaningless wonders in the game.

    Wonders of value:

    Mids
    GLH (on certain maps)
    Great Library with marble or IND or maybe a lucky GE
    Mauso
    Taj

    Oracle is nice but situational. You have to factor a) ability to complete it..it is rather cheap b) diversion of that tech path with risk of failure. And really only worth it IMO if you can get enough tech and PH path and get free tech like Code of Laws or Metal Casting at least. Monarchy ok though. Civil Service sling is common ploy on lower levels. Anyway, Oracle can be hard to achieve on IMM+ games.

    Hanging Gardens also a good wonder in the right situation. Stone and at least enough cities to make worth the investment. Especially nice if you can build it in the city with the Mids. Does require investment in an Aqueduct though.

    All other wonders are merely fail gold opportunities except in case of culture victories.

    I'd close here by saying that as you get more experience with the game you will realize how important early bonuses and ...well...strong early gameplay is to real success. Your perspective will change and what you value will change.
     
  3. FlyinJohnnyL

    FlyinJohnnyL You need more workers....

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    I basically never build wonders, other than national wonders, and even then, I have plenty of games where I don't build those, either.

    If I do build a wonder, it's either because I accidentally finished it when trying to get failgold, or it was pyramids. They're that good. And I STILL don't build them in probably 80% of my games.
     
  4. Fippy

    Fippy Mycro Junkie Queen

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    Pyras are 250 or 375:hammers:, nobody builds them without stone or Ind.
    Oracle isn't close in value (like..it's not even 40% of Pyras :)).

    To fully understand them (and why Rep is so powerful early), you need full knowledge of what great scientists can do.
    Rep scientists give 6 beakers, same as gems we could say.
    But unlike with gems or gold you are not limited by map randomness.
    No :food: or :hammers: on them, but gpp are actually better than :hammers:.

    Once you see why those boosted scientists are better than gold mines, and you can get many of them, your view on Pyras might change.
    Ofc there are not suited maps, and on lower settings you might have so much land that wonders aren't needed, but i can tell on deity Pyras are game changers.
    A real winning build, which other wonders (cept GLH) will never be, and yup i rate Oracle low there. Very low. Only if there are zero better options kind of low ;)
     
  5. The Civs 6

    The Civs 6 King

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    Thanks everyone, what this really did was open my eyes to the power of early game representation. I tried building pyramids out, and while the game was kind of a flop in other ways, I was super advanced on science despite not really succeeding in building my empire. I should also say that I'm playing vanilla so that kind of changes a lot of things about the gameplay. But boy this game is a challenge for me even at Monarch!
     
  6. drewisfat

    drewisfat King

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    DrewShiHuang is filled with despair at the lack of mention of the truly *Great* wonder. Must be the Mongolian propaganda.

    TGW should be close to an automatic build with capital stone + non-isolation. Stone brings it down from 150 hammers to 75 hammers. Don't listen to the false prophets on "early hammers are so important". You build GW with the hammers you'd already put on fogbusters, and save some unit cost. Then you get security. Consistency.
    - NO WANDERING ESKIMOS.
    - Minimal tech investment / risk of losing race. Masonry pretty basic, not exactly a big deviation if you start with stone/IND because of quarries/mids. Compared to the Myst->Buddhism->Priesthood indefensible waste of early beakers that is the Oracle. And GLH, if you're rushing not just Masonry but sailing and an early lighthouse and you don't get GLH you've basically lost the game.
    - Barbs get rerouted to the AI slowing them down further.
    - Intentionally not fogbusting further increases burden on AI.
    - If you're CRE the lack of fogbusting means barbs will get some cities. Which is great! Settle new creative cities unprotected in their face. Conquer barb cities and associated goodies with 0 investment.
    - Early great spy can scout your whole continent quickly while you wait for Alphabet. 0 risk 0 cost 100% map vision.
    - 3000 espionage points, which easily turns into 4000 + beakers of tech after you build a couple spies. These beakers aren't tech traded, so the AI gets nothing, nadda, zippo.
    - The above is most common, but it can be possible to fully invest in an EE, instead spamming multiple Scotland Yards generating +100% esp points in your chosen cities. Really powerful in AW/NTT games.
    - +100% GG generation in your borders. Turtle up behind your walls for fun and profit.
    - +2 culture is technically something I can also make as a bullet point. If you don't like culture, then you're probably a barbarian who belongs on the other side of the wall.
    - +10,000 soldiers. That's how the AI evaluates your power spike, for what that's worth. And building a Scotland Yard is another 8,000. This totally shouldn't matter in normal play, but I just don't want to hear "but then you look super vulnerable cuz you skipped out on barb defense". Exact opposite. And I'd say it actually matters a heck of a lot in KMOD.
    - I cannot stress enough how nice the lack of wandering barbs is.

    With stone this literally costs less than a settler. The bulk of the hammers if not all the hammers can be built in 1 turn using whip OF / prechops. This means you can take a risk-free stab at the wonder far past what would be considered a "safe date".
     
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  7. 6K Man

    6K Man Bureaucrat

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    On oversize maps and Epic, Great Wall is practically a must-have.
     
  8. ArchGhost

    ArchGhost Prince

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    Heh, mids are actually probably the best wonder in terms of time-frame and pay off.

    They are accessible at Masonry, a tech some civs can tech on T0

    They grant access to Representation as early as the T60s or 70s, depending on how hard you push. Normally requiring a mid-game tech, you get +3 happy in 5 cities and it basically doubles the value of Libraries and scientist specialists. Extremely powerful bonus that early.

    Can be used to farm Engineer points. Said GE can be used for bulb (such as Machinery), used on another good wonder (Taj would be first choice) or held onto for anything else like Mining Inc.

    Lets you actually use Police State in an acceptable time frame instead of waiting for fricken' Fascism. While not that useful IMO for later war like whipping Cuirs where you will already have/be quickly gaining cities, I've done some sick Elepult attacks with it before, especially if combined with a good HE city. It's like a catapult per turn or elephant per chop then.

    And lets you swap to US without ever needing to bother with Democracy. Pretty nice if you went to Communism fast and want to swap into SP + Caste.




    All that said, it's not a wonder I'd consider a must (try to) build. If it's feasible, Mids are fantastic, sure. But they are expensive enough to really cause one to weigh the merits of trying for them or just focusing on more standard play. I've chopped them without IND or stone. Wouldn't really recommend it though.

    Only wonder I will try for (or at least evaluate if it's possible to get) in every game is Taj...and maybe the NE, but that doesn't really count as you can't be beaten to that. The free GA is so handy, especially properly timed to coincide with a civic swap over or to extend a previous GA. (plus 1 free turn of GA if chaining them with Taj). I love to swap into GPP mode with a 1GP golden age, (Music GA, GW spy, Mids GE, or just random GS/other GP lying around) start up Taj, finish it for a second round of GPP farming and then end it by swapping into war mode civics.

    Other wonders that are situationally very powerful are GLH and Great Wall. Island heavy maps with GLH is like printing free commerce with every city you settle. Huge maps with large landmasses, or if isolated with a lot of land, GW can change the entire dynamic of your game.

    And then the "it's a nice thought" wonders. All great but not really all that necessary whatsoever:
    MoM
    GLib
    Notre Dame
    Statue of Liberty
    Colossus
    Kremlin

    MoM is a really great wonder, too bad it's so highly sought by the AI and there's often little reason to rush Calendar (often a trade back tech).

    Great Library is really cool to have, especially as a PHI leader, but it doesn't really achieve anything you can't with good use of starving GP in a golden age. Also really like to have Marble for it, especially because pairing it with NE in a high food spot really compounds the boon it grants.

    Unless you Engineering rush good luck beating the AI to Notre Dame in the first place. Global +2 happy is a tasty boon though

    SoL is in the same vein. Nice wonder, bad placement in the tech tree and AI really likes going for it. It's also like, crazy expensive, and without a dedicated build effort the AI can catch up and overtake in the race for it.

    Colossus is a nice little wonder for FIN or IND civs if you have a lot of water around. Metal Casting is a tech needed on the way if you are planning to put a bulb in Lib and forges are nice buildings anyway, so it's not such a detour. It rarely seems to work out that way for me though as at least one AI in the field tends to go MC early and get the jump on it.

    Kremlin has a really nice effect for sustained war, especially so if in US and rush buying (like with Tanks in late game...awesome) It's my 2nd favorite wonder in the game, and tied to an excellent tech. Highly dependent on what the AI is doing though, Communism gets teched with a lot of preference because of the GS bonus for 1st to research.
     
  9. Michkov

    Michkov Emperor

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    Can you explain these two in a bit more detail?
     
  10. drewisfat

    drewisfat King

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    Sure. The Great Wall is the only source of gspy points early in the game. Great spies are the most powerful early great people. They can be used to infiltrate other civs when placed in their cities. This generates 3000 espionage points against that person and is how you should use early great spies if you're only planning on getting 1-2 of them. This can be recouped as beakers with your own spies with "Steal Technology". There are a bunch of modifiers that both reduce and increase the cost of this action, but by far the most trivial one is simply having your spy wait in the city for 5 turns for a 50% reduction in cost. That's a lot more free techs than bulbing or anything else can give you. The downside is you can't beeline those techs and will get minimal trade value out of them, because you need to wait for that AI to have the tech. But the plus side is you're also not boosting the AI like you do in tech trading because you're simply stealing the tech. This is an especially efficient way to maintain tech parity even if you're bogged in a costly slow war in the midgame.

    The game evaluates your "military strength" (as in the power tab) by giving everything associated with military (units but also some buildings) a value. Great Wall actually does the best in terms of hammer / military power. I'm not an expert on AI behavior and the extent this matters, this is mostly a preemptive point that you won't appear weaker to the AI because you built the great wall instead of a bunch of initial warriors. In general though, this isn't really a consideration in BTS. That's because the AI is already limited with possible war declarations by other factors, most notably opinion. Most AIs can't attack you at Pleased and none can attack you at Friendly. Further, the ratio of your power to their power required to deter an attack is not feasibly attainable, because it's quite high and will drain your economy more than is justifiable in peacetime. While even if you can't get your relationship high enough to prevent a possible war declaration, you can still survive a war declaration even with like 1/3 of their power given defender's advantage and a big leap in tactical ability over an AI. However, KMOD makes the AI more willing to attack you in spite of diplomatic relations, and makes the AI more opportunistic in attacking and dogpiling weaklings, so this may actually be a selling point for TGW in that mod.
     
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  11. Max Duke

    Max Duke Chieftain

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    I adopt Representation with Pyramids. But remember that you need buildings to have Specialists: so you need Religion for temples and Writing for libraries. Plus unimproved land, so you need also abundant food. So it's not only a matter of one Wonder: with Pyramids you need other things done. But the GE bonus is great.
    With a large kingdom the best Wonders are the holy palaces, but for them you need a Prophet, that makes Stonehenge and Oracle good wonders, for the Prophet
    The +3 happiness in 6 cities is also awesome of course, that might spare you a rush for Monarchy.

    I'd always try Pyramids if IND and/or with stone. But also if you're not FIN going ot develop a large kingdom you will like the gold reward for not finishing it: it's all hammers gone in gold (however I don't remember the ratio of hammers spent/gold). When in terrible need of gold, you might consider to build a wonder you won't complete.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2020
  12. SnipedSoul

    SnipedSoul Warlord

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    I like pyramids, but almost never build them unless I have stone and a lot of forests.

    If I have any wonder spammer AI near me, I like to gift them stone/marble and even techs so they will build wonders for me.
     
  13. Max Duke

    Max Duke Chieftain

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    A very good thing of Pyramids is the Engeneer generation. But that can prevent the birth of the Prophet, which is the best Great Person you can have - imho, if you have religion and you're spreading it. I've been already in trouble generating a Prophet because of Pyramids.
     
  14. Orion Pax

    Orion Pax Warlord

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    Wow @drewisfat has convinced me Great Wall is truly great. I tend never to build it, in part cuz I don't want GSpy points to slow down my GSci points. But am also just so focused on REXing I just can't seem to spare time to build an early wonder at the expense of missing out on a city site? Perhaps on hardest difficulties sites go so quick an early wonder makes sense? Pyramids usually don't go as quick, so can usually time them after a few cities have been built, key sites secured. Also playing KMod, you really do have to build units to defend yourself from the AI, which is prone to early DOW. So preventing barbs ends up kinda moot?

    Couple additional things I like about early Rep:
    1. Obvious synergy with Great Library: 6 extra :science: for the two GL scientists. If in your city with an academy (+50%) that's 3 more :science:. All in addition to your other specialists, there and empire-wide.
    2. It frees up your mid-game tech path by not having to pursue Constitution, until you are ready for Corp / Assemblly Line. Can more efficiently beeline military techs for a real advantage or Sci Method for Comm/State Property or whatever you want. Plus cities on rivers will be even better prepared to build their Factories if you tech Steam Power first (before Const) and get your levies built. :strength:
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2020
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  15. 6K Man

    6K Man Bureaucrat

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    Prophets are very niche IMO. If you don't have an unshrined holy city, they're pretty much the worst. And even if you do have a holy city, a Shrine might not pay off much unless it's a big map with lots of cities for the religion to spread to, or if you are Iso or semi-Iso with no competing religions around. Building multiple 30 - :hammers: Missionaries isn't a good use of resources.
     
  16. Max Duke

    Max Duke Chieftain

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    Of course it's good in large empire and if you have the holy city. Religion spreads also if you have Temples, and then from the holy palace, dont need always missionaries. Then one other civ might spread and/or adopt your religion.
    Religion spread makes Org Religion effective, or Theocracy.
    And religion gives +1 happiness.

    That's why Oracle and Stonehenge are of great value, for the generation of the Prophet. So I think Pyramids are secondary.
     
  17. lymond

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

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    Shrines are meant to be captured. Focus on producing prophets is a huge waste.
     
  18. Fippy

    Fippy Mycro Junkie Queen

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    But i want to play like Survivor AIs :banana:
    They left such an impression on me.
     
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  19. dankok8

    dankok8 Elected World Leader

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    I think Kremlin deserves an honorable mention as a useful wonder. Two-pop whipping Cannons and Rifles in Industrial with Forges and Kremlin is insane. Adding Police State is an option too. You can get huge overflow so that you can pump out the second unit right after. Borderline OP stuff although it does come late.
     
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  20. sampsa

    sampsa Ghost

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    Strong :gp: GS,GM edit: +GSpy :)
    Mediocre :gp: GE
    Weak :gp: GP,GA

    Of course, weak types should be close to always used to run golden ages.

    On the actual subject: Mids is a strong wonder. Way too expensive to be built without stone, but maybe a case can be made if isolated. IND makes a huge difference (334:hammers: instead of 500:hammers:).
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2020

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