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Tips For Small Empires:

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by blitzkrieg1980, Oct 27, 2009.

  1. blitzkrieg1980

    blitzkrieg1980 Octobrist

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    We all know the credo: "Land is power." and it is obviously true as it is rare for a player who has a large empire to fall behind in any aspects of the game. I've never really played a game where I maintained a small empire and was able to pull a win (besides a rare AP win and a couple culture/diplo wins).

    Having said that, is there a way to dominate the game in military or science with a small empire? I've seen the AI Wang Kong (when not attacked) have an empire of 7 cities and skyrocket ahead in techs. If the AI can do it on Monarch level, obviously the human player can as well.

    So, to all you advanced players, how does one go about having a small land empire that can dominate the science or military game? I'd like to have a game where MY empire is one of the smaller ones and my vassals are many (kinda like Britain) :D Is it possible?
     
  2. kossin

    kossin Deity

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    As long as you get 6 cities... you can get a tech lead via bulbing/early Oxford. The advantage here is you need less workers/settlers/garrison etc and have less maintenance... meaning your slider is higher.

    Usually a Cuirassier/Cavalry/Rifles war will allow you to gobble up a nation when at which point you'll have enough land to really make a big push forward.

    I couldn't really show you, but here's an example from Rusten.
    http://forums.civfanatics.com/showpost.php?p=8388401&postcount=6
     
  3. Silu

    Silu Deity

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    The most usual case for effective small empires is the "pseudo-OCC" WE/SSE strategy. The juice is in the capital, other cities are there sometimes just to open up Oxford. Though as long as you reach that national wonder threshold (with any kind of strategy), it's usually possible to expand with firearms vs arrows.
     
  4. blitzkrieg1980

    blitzkrieg1980 Octobrist

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    Cool. Thanks guys.
     
  5. pi-r8

    pi-r8 Luddite

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    With having a small empire you can reach the renaissance/industrial era much faster, since you don't have to pay maintenence for a bunch of cities/units that will take a long time to be productive. You can also still get a whole lot of GPs with a small empire, almost as many as with a large one. But, sooner or later the small empire is going to fall behind in tech and production, so I think most people just try and use it to make a midgame military push when they've outteched a nearby civ.
     
  6. blitzkrieg1980

    blitzkrieg1980 Octobrist

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    Sounds stupendous. For some reason, my usual path (map permitting which it usually does) is to war early even if I have room for 6 - 7 cities. I don't really know why. I feel uncomfortable with small land mass. However, now that I think of it, I used to fall behind on Monarch because I wasn't micro-ing properly because of the large city #. With a smaller empire = easier micro up until micro matters less (late renaissance - industrial era)
     
  7. roberteriksson

    roberteriksson Chieftain

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    Obviously the circumstances need to be right; i.e. when you only have a small piece of land, it better be good land! ;)
     
  8. blitzkrieg1980

    blitzkrieg1980 Octobrist

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    Granted! LoL. I've seen plenty of games where wide expansion was desperately necessary.
     
  9. Silu

    Silu Deity

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    Alternatively the land needs to be pretty bad except for the capital which needs to be pristine.
     
  10. blitzkrieg1980

    blitzkrieg1980 Octobrist

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    That'd work for an OCC type of deal, though. I would think that pre-bureaucracy, you'd be having it hard with 6 cities and only 1 any good (capital). If I'm to keep a small 6-7 city empire until rifles, I'm gonna want green green green. Lots of food for a GP farm and lots of nice cottagable land along with a decent production center for garrison and defense stack troops.
     
  11. Grashopa

    Grashopa Emperor

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    In my game in the PYL I had to put out 3 blocking cities for a total of 4 cities. I would much rather have stayed at 3 cities early to keep down the cost. I now have 11 and would rather have 6. You just want to be able to get the production you need out of the fewer cities. For example:

    - Unlock the Heroic Epic from barbs and workshop your HE city at cannons.

    - Build your army slowly during the game and upgrade it with gold once you reach an advantage at cannons/rifles.

    - If you've got a city with a lot of surplus food, get the globe theatre out for whipping/drafting.

    Check out my Monarch Willem game. I peacefully blocked off room for more than 22 cities. That just meant I was behind in tech most of the game. And should have went for space instead of fighting at nukes :)
     
  12. VexTheSane

    VexTheSane Chieftain

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    It can be done, but it really depends on your starting neighbors more than anything. I won an espionage game with 5 junk cities at the end. (it was only on noble to test it out, so don't get too excited).

    I seem to recall playing as the Dutch. I think it was Frederick and Washington who popped next to me, and they treated me as harmless. I kept a barebones but highly advanced military, founded the continent's religion, and stole from them ruthlessly with spies and privateers.

    I played the game with the mindset of an organized crime syndicate rather than an empire. But I kept them supplied with techs to keep them both friendly and thanks to our mutual defense, they were my watchdogs against the New World.

    It was a strange game, and I haven't been able to duplicate it as subsequent tries have all featured neighbors like Montezuma and Ragnar, making defense a priority.

    If you have good natured neighbors, you can accrue a crippling tech lead on your competitors, limit your "friends", and annihilate the other continent through aggressive trading and by keeping them locked in perpetual war through bribery.

    You have so much money coming in at any time that with the pyramids, you can just buy your production outright at a fairly early point in the game.

    I eventually won a cultural victory through a massive combination of sabotage and poisoning water supplies over 1000 years to make my tiny empire relevent population wise.

    I've tried duplicating the gameplay since I did it the first time, and never even get close. It was the most fun game of civ I've ever played but its starting to look like it was just meant to be that time.
     
  13. blitzkrieg1980

    blitzkrieg1980 Octobrist

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    Yeah, cultural victories aren't too difficult with a small empire as long as you have well meaning neighbors and good diplo skills.

    It's the British victory type that I'm interested in. Small land mass, lots of vassals, good tech speed (better than parity), and fearsome military.
     
  14. Kadazzle

    Kadazzle Emperor

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    Pre-bureaucracy is when your science slider doesn't really matter too much, as you'll be bulbing. If you cottage your capital and get an Academy in there somewhere around 500bc-ish, you should have no problem getting Philo at around 200AD or before, at which point Civil Service (if you don't already have it) is very close by. Considering you're then going to bulb Education, your science output only increase from there on.
     
  15. Rittmeyer

    Rittmeyer Prince

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    Just to point that the comparison may not be valid, since the AI has a ton of bonuses, depending on difficulty level... so a decent AI techer, (Wang may be the best) with all those bonuses, can certainly do that with few cities if unnoposed.
     
  16. blitzkrieg1980

    blitzkrieg1980 Octobrist

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    Aha! So small empires are in need of an early SE sort of standpoint. IE as soon as libraries online, 2 scientists per econ city? Should caste system be prioritized, then? After all, 2 scientists per city isn't going to net many Great People for bulbing in that time span. Maybe 2 or 3. The slider still has to matter at that point unless mass Great People until Bureau.
     
  17. VexTheSane

    VexTheSane Chieftain

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    Just tried again with the Incan empire. They seem like a natural fit, just crank out money and wonders.

    Then Portugal, Julius, and Korea all showed up and they all managed to start their own religions. That went over about as well as you can imagine. :lol: (Julius was the last to get into the jihad with Judaism, but he decided to win it.)

    It was nice getting mowed down by Caesar's chariots and catapults instead of Prets for a change. I had the misfortune of popping on the only iron on our little island. Oh well. That's life.
     
  18. VexTheSane

    VexTheSane Chieftain

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    Its sound reasoning, but like all games balance it against your neighbors. My Julius steamrolling came from adopting caste system before establishing a more solid defense. Holding onto slavery a bit longer might have sent him home in shame and given me some much needed breathing room.

    On that topic, Portugal is a lousy friend. He wouldn't close Caesar's invasion route despite being friendly to me after adopting his state religion (for ease of theft). :mad:
     
  19. Silu

    Silu Deity

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    No GPs are needed by default except for the Oxford place Academy (usually capital)... Caste is counterintuitive since you will usually want Oxford ASAP, which means the whip.

    Extensive bulbing or not can never be decided before seeing the map...
     
  20. blitzkrieg1980

    blitzkrieg1980 Octobrist

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    Understood. I imagine a very green map with rivers would entice one to use a lot of cottages right off the bat instead of relying on bulbing. However, it never hurts to have a food heavy city pump out scientists in the early eras.
     

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