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Tips For Small Empires:

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

  1. jauggy

    jauggy Warlord

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    What size map are you playing? Try winning a huge map with 7 cities is a lot harder than on a normal map. If you go to the demographics screen, what is your land compared to the leader?

    I'm just curious because I'm currently playing a huge map/10civs right now and am finding it a lot harder than usual because the AI has so much land. I should have started the game with 18 civs so they couldn't expand so much.
     
  2. Bruin.Bound

    Bruin.Bound Chieftain

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    Sep 6, 2009
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    I love playing with a small empire. Being successful depends on your opponents however. If one is carving out a huge empire you are gonna have problems. However, if it remains relatively peaceful, you can win with a 6 city empire. I had a game as Darius on Immortal where I had 6 cities, and 2 got culturally pressured beyond belief, one had already flipped early, and I won a space race. I had cottaged up my empire and I had taken the Khmer capital also, so I had two really good spots. As long as your competitors are relatively close on technology, and there is no breakaway AI in that regard, then the Internet almost always guarantees a space race victory. You just have to be clever in your tech choice and space-ship build order.

    I'm not sure how successful a small empire can be on deity, I hope to try it out one day, but for now all I can say in confidence is that as long as there is no breakaway AI, a 6 city victory is very possible on any difficulty through Immortal.


    Oh you wanted tips let me add... I'm more of a cottage person so I know this strategy works. I usually cottage most cities that I can and save maybe one good production city. The production will be low during the game, so I usually stick in slavery for quite a while and almost never hit caste system. My late game civics are all those bottom liners, minus environmentalism (free market instead). Late game, your towns will give ok production, if you are on a river the levees will be a huge help. If you plan to win late I'd try to settle on rivers as much as you can as levees are a pretty big deal (and fresh water health bonus!). Also, those customs houses and harbors really help the coastal cities, adding the extra trade route with free market is huge here. You definitely want to save a great engineer for Mining Inc, and if you can get Sid Sushi thats great too. Put this in your Wall Street city of course, you will most likely have your slider at 90-100% the entire endgame unless your diplomacy isnt good enough to keep you out of a war, or if one is just inevitable.

    If you are going for space, the important thing is to beeline right to Internet. The late game techs you care about are corporation for Wall Street, then the one for Mining Inc (I believe railroad?). After that, go straight to computers. On the path, you will also have a shot at the Three Gorges Dam, its very nice if you get it, but not at all crucial. It only takes two-four turns to build a power plant, and if the health is really killing you then maybe you could switch to environmentalism. However, there is another way, more on this later. Once you get Internet you will probably get things up through rocketry at least. This is of course if there is parity at the top, otherwise it can be a problem. If you are getting blown away by one strong competitor with GNP much higher than yours, then you should have probably made a move to cripple them earlier. So back to the techs, after you get computers, go for robotics. If you are lucky, the Internet will have given you the other technology for the Space Elevator, if not, research it yourself, I'm pretty sure its Satellites. After this, get superconductors to get your laboratories up. Now you are all set. Its perfectly fine if you haven't even began Apollo yet, even if other teams are beginning to build parts. With the Space Elevator and laboratories, you will catch up in no time (hopefully you got aluminum, otherwise found the corporation... granted you have coal... if not, its still very doable so don't panic). Now you can make your decision, if health is now crippling your empire, grab genetics after superconductors. This will give +3 health per city which is a huge help. Otherwise, go straight after fusion and get the engine(s) built. Usually you can easily build both, I don't think I've ever launched in a small empire with just one engine. You will most likely be producing faster than you are teching through the tree, even with a cottaged empire. You only really need two legit production site, and a town/ levee/ US city is perfectly fine for this as the second best production city. Now, just pick up whatever pieces you still need and launch. Also, you would be wise to put a spy and a security bereau in any city building spaceship parts, as they will be targetted.
     
  3. jauggy

    jauggy Warlord

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    What GNP ratio relative to the leader is acceptable? Could you win with say 70% of the leader's GNP?

    Do you absolutely need the highest GNP to win the space race?
     
  4. Silu

    Silu Deity

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    Don't pay much heed to that. You can win with less than half of the highest.
     
  5. Bruin.Bound

    Bruin.Bound Chieftain

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    Agreed, what I mean is something like you have 1000 GNP and you have one strong competitor who has something like 4500. I've been in this situation before and I wasn't able to keep up when it came to late game tech'ing. However, a lot of their GNP goes to waste as they don't specialize their cities enough, but you should be able to get a feel of weather or not you can beat a single competitor on your own depending on how they've been teching after the medieval period.
     
  6. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    If their GNP looks too high to you, take their cities. That tends to decrease it.
     
  7. jauggy

    jauggy Warlord

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    I'm talking specifically about space race here and no wars to extend land.

    But does that mean you catch up due to tech trading and also better production for space parts? Even with 50% GNP? I'm surprised about that.
     
  8. Grashopa

    Grashopa Emperor

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    blitz look at delayed caste thread last page - artichoker and my games posted there. Though mine had especially good land. Choke had 6 cities and tundra i think. Well his game comes from his vassalage thread.
     
  9. Silu

    Silu Deity

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    Certainly possible. Jimmying the diplo situation with bribes, the Internet, nukes, taking capital with a kamikaze force after enemy launch, sucky AI tech path neglecting Fusion - all examples of great equalizers. The AI sucks at going to space TBH. Though you'll never win lategame AI in production on high levels.

    Anyway, why are you specifically talking about a single win condition with restrictions? If others are more viable then shouldn't you pursue those instead?
     
  10. jauggy

    jauggy Warlord

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    I've never won space victory on Marathon before and wanted to try it. I've won the other victory conditions several times - except Time victory. Just wanted to try out other victory paths for fun.
     
  11. noto2

    noto2 Emperor

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    small empires can definitely win the game, I've done it many times. You can wonderspam, GP spam, use a specialist economy, use representation, bureaucracy, religions, corporations, vassals, to increase your power without increasing your land.
     
  12. blitzkrieg1980

    blitzkrieg1980 Octobrist

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    Thanks everyone for your great advice!

    I attempted to implement a war-without-capture methodology last night. Granted, I already had a rather large empire (started playing before this thread), but the tactic can be used with any sized empire. I sent a decent stack overseas to invade the next powerful neighbor. I had beelined steel and had combat 3 and combat 1/Guerrilla 2 muskets along with some combat 1/CR3 berzerkers.

    I didn't have enough troops to capture and keep cities as Surya (my enemy) had a larger army. So I implemented what I thought would work for a small empire that I don't want to expand.

    Cannons survived almost every attack (as he was still operating off of longbows and was just getting muskets online). I invaded and razed 5 cities. I acted just like Vikings should! Landed the stack, took and razed the city, loaded stack back onto the fleet, moved onto next target. I was able to eliminate all 3 of his huge stacks. His power dropped from 0.9 to 1.9 and after I took and kept the Hindu holy city and another adjacent to it, he dropped to 2.4 and was ready to capitulate. I had also pillaged about 10 towns down to nothing around these razed cities.

    This was awesome. I was able to capitulate my most powerful rival (in both power AND land) and only needed to take 2 cities. I didn't even need to beeline Communism for State Property and was able to stay in free market. I tried it again on a less powerful opponent and was able to capitulate him after only 2 city razings and 1 capture.

    Obviously, maintaining a tech advanced and large military would be necessary for a smaller civ since the capitulates would be able to break free more easily. This is only on Monarch, so I'm not sure if it would work for high levels where the AI gets such incredible production bonuses that you kinda HAVE to keep their production cities.
     
  13. VexTheSane

    VexTheSane Chieftain

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    Cool! I was just going to ask you how things were progressing. Actually, in regards to monarch (BTS), I'm finding that small empires are proving more effective than in noble.

    The AI seem more capable of stalemating one another, so no single enemy civ is taking off wildly out of control, actually letting me focus more on early defense without compromising an espionage / raiding strategy.

    Noble has ironically been a greater challenge for me (in a small empire game), since warmongers tend to steamroll the peaceful and become unbalanced for their era. On monarch, everybody is putting up a decent enough fight thanks to them all starting with archery.

    In monarch, the warmongers often try an early rush and go home embarrassed. Its part of what I love about this game. The increased difficulty often makes things as bad or worse for your rivals. (Although, no more civs are getting wiped out in the first few turns by goody hut barbarians anymore. That was always worth a laugh.)
     
  14. blitzkrieg1980

    blitzkrieg1980 Octobrist

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    My ultimate goal is to play an Earth 18 map as English / Elizabeth, settle the English isles, early capture Paris and maybe settle 1 or 2 more culture buffer cities (from Germany/Rome) for a total of 6-7 cities. To use this and, like in real life, dominate the planet from that small area.

    I figure Paris would be the military production-house as it has copper, iron, marble, and stone(? i think) as well as plenty of food and a few workshopable tiles. London would serve as an early scientist pump followed by cottage/merchant pump (plenty of food for specialists and green tiles for cottages). Second settler would settle to the north of London for the awesome cottage/production space (might switch capital to there later). Ireland settled for cottage spam / FIN coastal waters. Definitely going for Great Lighthouse as the only Wonder and MAYBE Colossus if I can time it right (prolly not). The buffer cities in Europe are mostly green and so would serve as further cottage spam. ADDED: With a FIN/PHI leader using this kind of approach, I can imagine tech domination quickly followed by military domination once Redcoats are beelined. Especially since Earth 18 is easy to manipulate the AI into warring with each other to kill tech pace.
     

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