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Tips/guide to tech trading?

Discussion in 'Civ4 - General Discussions' started by jmas, Jun 6, 2011.

  1. jmas

    jmas I Can Has Imperium?

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    Can anyone point me to a guide to tech trading? I tried several searches but found only scattered bits of info & some discussions of No Tech Trading / Brokering. I have little experience trading; I'm on my 2nd Monarch game currently, and in the past, when it's come down to it, usually I've shied away from giving AIs anything (even in trade) when what I really want is to take that AI's land and/or extort tech. :hammer:

    Does anyone have some guidelines? I understand IW is poor trade bait, Alpha (besides enabling trades) is good (though some threads say not to trade it early to AIs, so they can't do their own trades), Aesth is good with most AIs. Beyond that, I don't know too much. I've read AIs will never give you an equal-:science: trade, but I'm curious, do people follow a general rule ("they need to offer me at least 70% of what I give them, or no deal (absent unusual circumstances)")?

    Many people advocate not following the religious tech path early, but when you go to trade for some of it, do you research the early techs so you can get better :science:-value trades on the later, more costly ones?

    And any other info you think would be helpful...
     
  2. Kid R

    Kid R Emperor

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    Sorry I have no comprehensive guide but would be happy to make some kneejerk comments about your specific questions :)

    Most importantly trade is nearly always good if you can do it! Every tech you get in trade helps you against all your opponents. Every tech you give in trade helps one opponent only.

    Re. alphabet, so long as one side has alphabet, trades are possible. So sometimes you won't have it but can still trade with all the AIs, so you can leave it for quite a while then. Conversely if there's only one AI who doesn't have it there's no harm giving it to them because they can already trade with everybody anyway.

    The best trade bait techs are the ones the AIs don't tend to research themselves, so you should watch what they tend to go for and spot trends. The reason for aiming at the less popular techs is that when you have it you can then trade it to more AIs who need it, and effectively you end up with more techs for the beakers you spent on the one tech.

    Aesthetics is usually quite good, because as you say they are all going for ironworking/alphabet/math/monotheism around that time. Compass is often good, also philosophy because it's easy to bulb. Biology is a powerful tech the AIs often delay getting in preference to bang sticks. Late on they tend to avoid ecology. Lots of people will no doubt have their own trends they've spotted.

    As for how much you want in return for techs, the amount the AIs will offer is fixed, they will never negotiate after you say "what will you give me for this", except if you ask for a different package adding up to the same or less value in their eyes. It's always a bit less than a fair deal, but that just compensates them for the fact that humans are not bound by so many rules when trading techs and will therefore do it more often, hence multiplying our beakers as mentioned above.

    Sometimes if tech trading goes well in a particular game you can give them even better deals than they want really, like free techs even, and that gives you good diplo with them ("our trade has been fair and forthright"). If AIs are really lagging behind it's often good to do that too, because it gets them back in the tech race and makes them a potential tech trade partner again. Presumably that's the reason AIs will give us techs.

    You seemed to have answered this yourself, but yes, when tech trading, take small numbers of high value techs rather than large numbers of low value techs. This is because each leader has a number of techs they'll trade, after which they get much more stingy ("we fear you are becoming too advanced", or WFYABTA). Best of all take cash - it's a good idea to watch out for turns where any AI has tons of cash, and get it off them quick - give them a great deal, just get it. Then you can buy tech from somebody else and it won't have counted towards the WFYABTA limits. Also getting an AI to friendly is very helpful because then they will trade anything with you regardless of WFYABTA.

    That's a quick brain dump - I'm sure others will add lots more :)
     
  3. Danelius90

    Danelius90 Hunter (of vegetables)

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    Do some tech trades in game and you'll get a better feel for it, needless to say.
    I think watching a "lets play" by TMIT or some others on youtube will give you good direction on how and what to trade (and they are usually explaining the steps as they go through so very helpful)
    As you said (on higher levels especially) you won't get a beaker for beaker exchange. Bear in mind though that if you get to aesthetics first for example, and trade 3 or 4 techs to different AIs for it, you will almost certainly exceed the :science: value. And each AI thinks "we got a good deal, what a sucker" and you get +4 diplo bonus. But you're the one laughing ;)
     
  4. jmas

    jmas I Can Has Imperium?

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    Thanks all for the replies.
     
  5. Tristan_C

    Tristan_C Emperor

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    AIs appear to value cash and beakers at the same rate, which speaks well of trading for cash (and poorly of trading it away). That is, we wind up with more beakers if our trades cover city maintenance, than if we traded for techs directly, owing to the existence of libraries and academies.
     
  6. jmas

    jmas I Can Has Imperium?

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    ^^Helpful, thx!
     
  7. alexman

    alexman King

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    Not sure I follow this. Trading for cash has the same issue as trading for techs, due to markets, banks, etc. I guess it depends on whether your total gold, or total science modifier is greater, right?
     
  8. Ataxerxes

    Ataxerxes Deity

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    That isn't quite what he's saying. If you're trading, the AI will pay more for the tech than it costs to research it. And the AI will demand more than it costs to research the tech if you want to purchase it. Also, even if the AI won't trade techs with you, they will still buy techs from you.

    This is also part of researching a tech and trading it to everybody on your turn before they trade it away. If they don't have a tech you want to buy, see how much gold they'll give you. Them giving you some gold for a tech they'll get anyway is a good deal (assumes tech brokering is on).

    I think this was to counter the "tech broker" abuse of Civ3. Buy the tech from somebody and sell it to everybody else. Keep economy at zero research and build up cash for mass upgrade of soldiers and kill the world.
     
  9. alexman

    alexman King

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    Hmm, the AI will pay more gold than the commerce you need to spend to research it, if you have libraries, etc. However, you can also get that same amount of gold with less commerce, if you have markets, etc, so it evens out...
     
  10. Tristan_C

    Tristan_C Emperor

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    Yes... I was assuming that beaker modifiers exceed gold modifiers. Trade for gold, and use deficit research to leverage the libraries and academies.


    Is that a typo? I haven't known the AI to pay more gold than the beaker cost. I guess if they do, that reinforces the point...
     
  11. h0ncho

    h0ncho Chieftain

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    I've googled like mad, haven't found any tech trading guide. I'm playing on emperor, I'm behind on tech but not extremely much so, so I wonder which tech is most obscure and likely to be tradeable. But no help from the internet :'(
     
  12. Seraiel

    Seraiel If you want anything from I please ask in German

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    You havn't posted a screenshot of the tech situation so Idk. ;) .

    Generally the AIs research according towards their flavours and prefer techs with militaric value and ones that unlock Wonders and especially Civics. See CIV Illusted #1 to know about AIs flavours (signature) .
     
  13. Pangaea

    Pangaea Rock N Roller

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    Quite a bump :D It would help to know where you are in the tech tree, how advanced your game is.

    Some typical trade bait techs are: Aesthetics, Literature, Music (if you get there first), Drama, Compass. Later on it's a little more tricky, I suppose, and a lot depends on what the AIs are doing. Get techs they don't have, which you can get a pretty good impression of by watching the Tech screen, and seeing what techs the AIs have and which they can research.

    If you're ahead in the race, it's often good to trade away Civil Service and Paper too, and Philo. Try to keep an Education monopoly if you can, so there is more time to Lib something good. Once AIs have Education, they will often go straight for Liberalism.

    Some techs the AIs usually go for, which are therefore quite easy to get in trade, are: Alpha, Monarchy, Iron Working, Metal Casting, Machinery, Engineering, Guilds.
     
  14. Tatran

    Tatran Deity

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    Techs which will give a free Great Person (Economics, Physics, etc.) have a high priority to the AI.
     
  15. Lexicus

    Lexicus Deity

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    I always try to maintain a monopoly on important military techs so I can carry out effective rushes. CS/Machinery, Military Tradition, Rifling, Assembly Line, etc. There are also specific points where certain techs are good to have a monopoly on. If playing on a low difficulty for instance, you can easily be the first to Alphabet which gives you the huge advantage of being the only one able to conduct tech trades. It is good not to trade Paper away because that can keep the AI from researching Education and competing for Liberalism. Obviously if you're going for a wonder you shouldn't trade the tech away.

    As a general point, you should always try to trade with multiple AIs on the same turn, so that for instance you research Currency and then trade it to 3 AIs for 4 different techs, instead of trading it to 1 AI which then trades it to the other 2 leaving you with way fewer beakers than you could otherwise have gotten.

    I believe it was lymond who said to think of trading with the AI like this: don't be afraid to make "bad" trades, because you can always leverage your resources (techs or gold, though Tristan_C makes a good point why it's generally better not to trade away gold) better than the AI can. The stuff the AI is trading to you, is always worth more to you than the stuff you're trading to the AI is worth to it.
     
  16. lindsay40k

    lindsay40k Emperor

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    My general rules of thumb:

    - currency is great trade bait, can often trade it to one AI Monotheism & Priesthood & gp100's and next turn to another for Monarchy. Also enables you to get loads of gold whilst backfilling.

    - don't help the AI to catch up to your military advantages

    - don't bother researching Construction unless you have Elephants, are Korea, or your PRO neighbour has an amazing hilltop holy city

    - research Music, get the GA, trade the tech to your weak neighbour with marble

    - Liberalism is the Alphabet & Currency of the Renaissance, enabling a lot of backfilling - notably of Replaceable Parts prereqs. Can often trade for Banking and then win race to Econ's free GM

    - If Oracling CoL, get a GS to bulb Phil ASAP and trade CoL without slingshotting anyone towards Lib. If building GLH economy, bulb Currency with GM and head for Compass (also good tradebait).
     
  17. s.bernbaum

    s.bernbaum Mostly lurking

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    General rule: If you can trade one expensive Tech to several AIs for a variety of cheap ones on the same turn, do it. You may "lose" value on each trade but you will gain overall.
     
  18. Pangaea

    Pangaea Rock N Roller

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    Definitely. In a recent game I got Civil Service in decent time, but lacked many others behind it. In the same turn I got Metal Casting, Calendar and Construction from 3 different AIs. Each deal gives "poor value", but combined it's not at all bad. You get something like 50% more :science: than CS is worth.

    Technology trading is extremely powerful, so use it to your advantage. Most likely you can put the techs you get to better use faster than the one(s) you give the AIs anyway. Case in point: Often the AIs take their sweet time to switch to Buro after getting CS.
     
  19. jmas

    jmas I Can Has Imperium?

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    I was surprised to see new replies in a thread I didn't even remember starting. Thanks everybody, this was very helpful and I hope it helped h0ncho as well.
     
  20. whitelaughter

    whitelaughter Warlord

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    Something I learned a long time ago the hard way:

    the AI doesn't like trading techs that allow the construction of wonders, but if a wonder requires two techs, and the AI only has one, it'll do the trade. Thus if the AI has Sailing but not Masonry, it'll happily trade Sailing - but if you trade it Masonry beforehand, it will then refuse to trade Sailing because it can now built the Great Lighthouse.
     

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