PONDEROUS PACHYDERM'S TIPS AND TRICKS FOR NEW CIV2 PLAYERS 1. PLAN AHEAd... The first rule of any successful game - PLAN! You have the only human mind in the game (assuming you are playing Single Player...) - use it! Pick a "Strategic Objective": Spaceship Victory, Conquest Victory, High Score, Learning, Experimenting or Just For Fun - and stick to it! Think ahead about what techs you will be needing soon, what government you are preparing to switch to, which AI civ you are preparing to do away with. Before you settle, think about how a new city location will grow, what the corruption level will likely be, and whether it will need extra defenses. Before the key tech for that desired Wonder gets there, start gathering caravans or prebuilding another Wonder in the city you want it in. Who was it who said: "Failure to plan is like planning to fail"? Wise words. 2. TRADE! Trade is the single greatest advantage the human player has over the AI. Consider making the discovery of Trade your first priority after getting out of Despotism. Upon delivery of a caravan or freight there is both a one-time bonus payment (in gold AND beakers) and an ongoing trade route between the two cities. The delivery bonus payment is doubled in that an equal number of research beakers are added to current research as well as gold to the treasury. The bonus payment is mostly based on distance between the cities, but there are a host of multipliers such as tech age, "critical-path" Road/Rail links, city improvements, demand for delivered commodity, domestic vs. import and home-island vs. off-island. Trade routes are multiplied by "critical-path" Road/Rail links and some city improvements (SuperHighways and Airports), but are halved for domestic routes. A group of trade routes to a Super Science/Trade City (SSC/STC) with 3-4 trade special terrains and Colossus can be enough to reap more than one tech per turn from city research alone! 3. MULTIPURPOSE CARAVANS/FREIGHTS Other uses for camels and trucks besides delivery for bonuses and trade routes: upon arrival at a city building a Wonder a caravan or freight can be "contributed" toward the building project, adding 50 shields each. This contrasts with disbanding any other unit, which will contribute only half of the build shields toward the current construction. Another trick is to use caravans or freights to build SpaceShip parts, as long as at least one Wonder is still unbuilt. Start a Wonder, add the camels or trucks, then switch directly to a SpaceShip part. This is the only type of production switch that is permitted without losing 50% of the accumulated shields. 4. BOOSTED DELIVERY BONUS A trick to boost the bonus payment is to halt the caravan or freight just outside the destination city while you temporarily rearrange all the source city's workers to maximize the number of trade arrows. At the same time, make sure that the destination still demands the commodity you are about to deliver (things have a nasty habit of changing at the last minute...). Don't worry about having zero or negative food or production while you maximize trade arrows in the source city. Right after the delivery is made, go back to the source city and rearrange the workers back to their previous priorities. A quick way to do this is to click once on the center tile, which reorganizes the workers the way the AI assigns them: food first, then shields, then trade. Then just tweak them to maximize your current priority. Another way of boosting the bonus applies to the situation where your government is not either Republic or Democracy. If you can adjust trade arrows and/or Luxuries rates to force the source city (or cities; this works best if several cities are delivering the same turn) into "We Love The King/HighPriest/Chairman Day" celebration (see next tip), the next turn the city/ies will have one extra trade arrow for each tile being worked that already has at least one trade arrow. Combined with the previous trick this can sometimes more than double the size of the bonus payment! 5. WE LOVE THE (current leader) DAY When cities are especially happy they go into a state called "celebration" or "We Love..." which has extra benefits. Celebration requires at least three citizens, at least half or more of which are happy (dark blue rather than light blue), and no unhappy or really unhappy citizens (red or black). A celebrating city under Despotic government will get the full benefits from terrain specials (like Monarchy); under Monarchy, Fundy or Commy will get an extra trade arrow for each worked tile that has at least one (ie, trade arrows like Rep or Dem); and under Republic or Democracy, as long as there is at least one surplus food sheaf, will grow by one citizen each turn until the food is exhausted or unhappy citizens cancel the celebration. If your city is experiencing celebration growth under Rep/Dem, be sure to check it at the end of each turn to make sure none of your tweaking has left an unhappy citizen around to mess things up! 6. SUPER SCIENCE/TRADE CITY (SSC/STC) These cities are so powerful because of the multiplicative effect of a combination of high-trade terrain and Wonders that benefit only one city. The idea is to use your other cities (if you have them; the One City Challenge is another way to play this) to help build up this one special city, which will then generate tons of beakers or gold. The key Wonders are Colossus, Copernicus, Shakespeare and Newtons; Hanging Gardens and King Richards are also valuable in certain situations. Quick growth of the city is vital - other cities (if present) contribute Settlers to improve the land and caravans to speed the building of Wonders. Three large Trade Routes are also important - try to trade with the largest AI city available, and if the AI is still on your "continent" consider building "critical path" Road/Rail connections to get extra trade. 7. UNBLOCKING COMMODITIES - THE "WONDER BREAD" TRICK When you build a commodity (non-food) caravan or freight, the commodity is "blocked" (cannot be built again, denoted by parenthesis around it) unless it is Hides (which has unlimited resupply, but peters out as the city grows). If a trade route is established with another city the supply will stay blocked; sometimes even when the trade route is not established (already had 3 routes, or others are larger) it will still be blocked. On a regular cycle of every 16 turns (the "Solo Cycle") each city is "re-processed" to see if the Supply/Demand list might change or unblocked supplies can be released. If the list changes, the new commodities will not be blocked; same for if the delivery did not establish a route. You can force a re-processing of the list by starting a Wonder in the city and contributing a caravan or freight to it (using food preserves other commodities for delivery - hence the name...). If the supply is successfully unblocked, switch production to a caravan or freight and finish it as soon as possible. 8. "HIDDEN" TECHS If you are not playing a "Scenario" game, each time you get a choice of tech to research approximately one third of the available techs are "hidden". This is why you cannot research Alphabet - CodeLaws - Ceremonial Burial - Monarchy from the start without having at least one "off-path" tech (assuming you start with no "freebie" techs, and get none from huts or exchange with AI). There is a pattern to the groups of techs that are "hidden", based on their alphabetical order in the RULES.TXT file. Every third tech is in the same group, and all but the first will be "hidden" once every three tech choice rounds. There are several lists and planning tools on-line to help you plan ahead for future tech choices. Note that techs from huts, trades, theft and capturing a city will count as "rounds" - everything except techs you start the game with. 9. TECH "COSTS" Each time you get a tech, the cost (in "beakers") to research the next one will increase (subject to the "KeyCiv" rule explained next). The first research is usually 10 beakers; the second can be between 18 and 24; the third between 28 and 36; and so on. The variation is usually due to the size of the map, with larger maps requiring more beakers. A good rule of thumb is that the next research "cost" will be: -First 10 techs: (Number of Techs You Have) times (10 to 12) -Next 9 techs: (Number of Techs You Have) times (14 to 16) -20th and following: (Number or Techs You Have) times (MapSizeFactor) Standard Map Sizes: Small=20; Medium=23; Large=30 Note that there can be a LARGE jump in cost between tech number 19 and 20! 10. "KEY" CIV There is a mechanism in the game called the KeyCiv that tries to adjust a player's beaker costs as the gap in techs between players grows larger. A brilliant player called Samson discovered that your KeyCiv is based on cross-referencing your PowerRating with the colors of the Player List. Here are the two lists: #1/White=Pathetic #2/Green=Weak #3/Blue(dark)=Inadequate #4/Yellow=Moderate #5/Cyan(light blue)=Strong #6/Orange=Mighty #7/Purple=Supreme So if your PowerRating is Mighty (see top line of F3), your KeyCiv is whatever player is Orange. If that is not you, your beaker "cost" for the current research will be adjusted by a factor based on the difference in number of techs each of you has acquired since the beginning (starting techs don't count). If you have less than your KeyCiv your beaker cost will be lowered somewhat. If you have more, it will increase. Each "jump" in cost happens for every three techs difference, so you don't have to worry every time you get a tech, just every three. 11. ABUSING THE KEY CIV Of course, what is a discovery without a way to abuse it! This trick is called "Tech Bombing", and requires a willingness to part with techs in order to (A) lower your own research costs, or (B) increase another player's research costs. The basic idea is that you "gift" a bunch of techs to another player. To achieve (A), gift your KeyCiv every tech you have. If absolutely necessary you can withhold 1 tech (NucFission is my favorite, followed by FusionPower!). Hopefully the KeyCiv has one or two techs that you do not (and are not interested in, otherwise do an exchange rather than a gift), and maybe one or two less starting techs than you. This has two benefits: your beaker cost for the current and future techs will be reduced, and your KeyCiv will start worshipping the ground you walk on (a good time to swap maps or ask for a gift, if you are so inclined)! To achieve (B), gift a player whose research you want to slow down (like if they are researching Communism and you have Marco Polo and want to keep it going a while longer, or they are researching NucFission...) as much tech as you can. Every three techs you give them will shift them another notch in the tech cost equation relative to whomever is their KeyCiv. Note that this does not work if you also gift THEIR KeyCiv! 12. TECH "SLAVERY" Another trick you can play with techs and a little knowledge is "Tech Slavery". This requires an embassy with another player or ownership of Marco Polo's Embassy (or later, the UN). You need to know what techs they have and what they are working on. The general idea is to give them what they are working on if you have it, in order to steer them to research something else that you may need in the future. With some advanced knowledge of AI characteristics and preferences you might be able to determine what they will decide to switch their research to. The really good news is that when a player is given a tech they are researching, their beaker box is carried over to the next tech. The same works for you, by the way. Trading for or acquiring a tech from a hut preserves the number of beakers you have in the box for the next tech, although the tech "cost" will go up a bit. Be careful not to turn "Slavery" into "Bombing", though... 13. TRACKING RESEARCH BEAKERS This is more a "Good Habit" than a trick. At the beginning of each turn, hit F5 to see how many beakers you put into the box that turn, and add any beakers from caravans or freights you delivered last turn. If you discovered a tech that turn you may know roughly what city was the trigger; cities above that one on the list contribute toward the next tech. Record the number before you make any changes to worker arrangements or Tax/Lux/Sci rates, which will change the starting value. Keeping a running total is one number you cannot get from any of the game's summary screens. Once the beaker box gets above 100 the beakers blend together so you cannot count them individually either. You can get a value for how much a full box represents by setting your Science to 0% and switching all Scientists to something else (temporarily). The "number of turns" for the next tech now represents the total number of beakers needed.