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Traditional Progress: An Alternative Opening

Discussion in 'Strategy Section' started by CrazyG, Jul 22, 2020.

  1. CrazyG

    CrazyG Deity

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    Hello everyone.

    I've been trying some out of the box openings, and I want to share something I've had moderate success with.

    Ideally your capital has 4 population at your first social policy. Take tradition. Your second policy is progress, and then your next 4 go into progress as well. Basically you skip the happiness, since it's crap in the early game anyways. Let's call it T1P5.

    :c5culture:T1P5 has great early culture. You can potentially claim 3 social policies before the first settler plots down (which saves a lot culture by not increasing the cost). You can reach 6 policies faster than P6 would, and thus can get medieval trees faster. This is especially notable with the faith price reductions of Fealty.

    :c5science: Science is one yield that is actually weaker in this approach. You delay the 3 per city connection. Overall I find this is a relatively small loss.

    :c5food: is overall way ahead. 2 free pop and 2 food in the capital. Your extra two citizens can collect a lot of :c5food::c5gold::c5production: too. It means faster settlers, and opens up the option to build a wonder or two.

    :c5faith: Faith is higher largely due to faster expansions.

    Towards the mid-game, T1P5 has these weaknesses compared to P6.
    • No gold for citizen births
    • No 1 happy per 10 people in a city, no -10% need
    • No faith buying great writers.
    Overall, I think that a stronger start is often worth losing a bit of mid-game strength. Furthermore, you have the option to take the last progress policy later on (and I think in general I would take it at some point).

    What does the community think? Have you had any successful but unusual social policy openings?
     
  2. crdvis16

    crdvis16 Emperor

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    I guess this also delays your early worker a bit? Maybe a loss if you have a lot of tiles to improve early on (mining or trapping starts, or freshwater farms perhaps) but maybe less of a problem if you're a forested plantation start or something.
     
  3. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    My usual note is... I think Glory of God would be a key with this combination. Loss of faith buying great writers in Industrial is a big loss, its worth a lot of culture. Also the gold lost from citizen births is a big deal. One area I actually struggle with in progress is border expansion, my border just never seem to move fast enough, so I wind up buying borders. Without the extra gold (or the extra border boost from Tradition 2), that can hurt you....so I would guess this would be a better strategy in a less wooded area where your borders can scale out more naturally. Or use culture religion like inspiration to compensate.

    Now the other option as you said, is to go ahead and finish the tree later in the game. That would remove the need for Glory, and you would at least get the gold for births later in the game. So when to take it? My thought would be skip Statecraft 6 if your not really going a WC heavy game and thinking more SV compared to DV. Under that scenario, the finisher is not all that great, and so you could sacrifice the slot to finish off progress. Then you would likely leave that open for the rest of the game

    I always like split policy strategies, so I'll give this a 100 turns and see what I think!
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2020
  4. CrazyG

    CrazyG Deity

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    This didn't feel like a major downside when I played. It does delay the free worker a few turns, but not that many. You should gain more than enough food/production/gold from having two extra population to compensate.

    This is by far the downside that I felt the most. I didn't play late enough to buy great writers, I would probably try to find a way to finish progress before ideologies. Maybe by mixing with imperialism or rationalism?
     
  5. kawyua

    kawyua Warlord

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    huh when i think about it taking tradition first and then progress that makes a lot more sense than the other way around as the 10 extra science isn't that worthwhile compared to the addition production/food/gold from the extra citizens in the beginning. but i guess going progress first then tradition could still make sense if I don't get 4 pop by the first policy/

    progress really does have an issue with early food in the capital, so this makes a lot of sense! I've tried a couple of times to take an extra policy like justice before going into progress but that was terrible. the difference of 5 policies in progress to 4 is too big to go for more policies in other trees.

    huh in your T1 P5 approach, are you going progress left or right first? progress left first seems like the only way to go in this strategy because delaying expertise even later is quite bad for culture output. edit* oh youre going progress right still with this still since you said that the delay on worker is only a bit later
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2020
  6. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    Are you thinking Martial Law to compensate for your gold? Eh...I mean Imperalism 4 / Rationalism 2 I still think is a pretty strong combo with the right monopolies...but I don't think it particularly offsets the weakness of your build. In other words I think that combo stands on its own, but doesn't have any special synergy with your build.

    Theoretically the right answer could be Industry. Its purchase reductions will compensate for the lack of the progress wonder, and you will then have plenty of gold from that tree. I however remain soured on Industry, it just never feels like its pushing me towards a victory like Imperalism/Rationalism do.

    Of course there is always Cathedral/Tithe play and compensate for gold that way...but your always giving up something else in the trade off. And I imagine with Deity play you can't count on your beliefs as easily as lower difficulties.
     
  7. CrazyG

    CrazyG Deity

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    Something I noticed is that when you take tradition, you only get bonus yields for a single population growth, not two. Which means you get more science for tradition -> progress than for progress ->tradition. I suppose this is a bug.

    I view this as flexible. Even going left side first my culture felt great, but I did have some culture from my luxuries (furs and jade). The test game I went right side first did have good culture but I didn't like how low my science was. The free worker is a lot less good if he is your 5th policy.

    Yes, you do give up mid game strength for a better start. That won't always be a good move, but I think there are plenty of cases where it is. I think it depends on your civ, I tested three times with random civs (Babylon, Morocco and Ottomans), and it felt good with those three. But I would recommend this for Carthage.
     
  8. kawyua

    kawyua Warlord

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    okay I double checked with ingameditor, you definitely get 40 science after taking tradition rather than 20. it is only 1 yield notification but the game properly notices 2 pop growths in the cap. so its not a problem
     
  9. CrazyG

    CrazyG Deity

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    Just to confirm, this is the most recent patch? Because I checked it and found the opposite.
     
  10. kawyua

    kawyua Warlord

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    in 6-19-2 this is what i did earlier today on the contrast poland save, i used IGE to get progress tree in Turn 1 than in turn 2 i got tradition through ige.

    (Did you maybe get progress then tradition at the same turn? That will not give any science for the new citizens from tradition)
    Screenshot (30).png
     
  11. Rhys DeAnno

    Rhys DeAnno Prince

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    It's very tempting to mashup the next six policies. Imagine like, Sovereignty + Burghers + Progress 6. Then you have super-fast borders spreading to give you the Progress gold in the lategame, as well as any other border spam you can manage. It's a shame the timing of the Sov policy is really awkward for the Expanse pantheon to found with, though.
     
  12. CrazyG

    CrazyG Deity

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    This is what I was thinking. Take the fealty opener to help missionary discounts, then finish progress. This is still early enough to get Forbidden Palace, and the happiness does nothing until you have 10 pop anyways.

    Then you have 4 policies to either take good Fealty policies, open statecraft/artistry, or take tradition's policy for that powerful border growth.

    I also noticed that his approach made Oracle easier to get. This approach got my 3rd social policy much faster than pure tradition or pure progress does, and taking 3 social policies before raising your social policy cost via placing a settler is a really nice early game bonus.
     
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  13. Rhys DeAnno

    Rhys DeAnno Prince

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    I was sick of the wretchedness of Deity, and also didn't want to experience nerfed University Jungles, so I decided to have a relaxing meme Immortal game of the Inca on the standard 6/19 patch (with Siam and Morocco banned), and I happened into this strategy.

    Spoiler Start :




    Spoiler long story :

    I actually started a bit to the north between the two small ranges, next to wheat and decided to come south and settle here. It's quite an interesting start as it's very low food to begin with, but can ramp up later as the floodplains get exposed and farmed. Four total mountains in this city and 6 in the range to the north feels like a "fair" start for Inca. As you can see I got the rare Pathfinder from Sofia, adding to the memes of the run.

    I got to 2 pop pretty fast, but then decided to embrace the stall and worked Dye+Jade alternating with Dye+Plains, going Monument->Stonehenge. Eventually I got my first policy around the time the floodplain became available and picked Tradition to get to 4 immediately while still working my productive tiles to Stonehenge quicker. Kind of inefficient I know but it was a very convenient feeling action. I ended up getting Stonehenge, and even though I could've picked Expanse or Nature, in the spirit of the memes I picked the Quarry+Stoneworks Pantheon to have fun with all these Jade tiles I was using.

    At this point I realized Traditional Progress was perfect. It let me get out workers more quickly, let me get to Construction+Pottery+Trapping more quickly (that first Progress policy really gives you a zoom to your first couple techs, even if you slow down after), the pantheon even gave me a bonus culture to get to the third policy more quickly. I did indeed end up settling the city to the north after the third policy.

    Rome actually forward settled me there and stole that northern Jade (with obnoxious culture on settle I think), so angrily rushed his forward settle with 2 pathfinders, 3 slingers, and a warrior. He only had a warrior near the city at the time, and I caught it out of position with my declare and killed it. Then I hilariously surrounded the city with my 6 garbage units and knocked it down.



    The Rome war kept going as I rushed Math and I was really impressed with Slingers and upgraded CompSlingers actually, that daze effect is stronger than one might give it credit for. Eventually with a bogus army of 5 CompSlingers I puppeted his other expansion and even Rome, surprisingly.

    Meanwhile the memes of Traditional Progress and Craftsmen pantheon were running at full strength as I settled wide to the south of the warzone. The fourth policy does take a while to come, but the first three are quite strong. I ended up on 4 old settled cities + 3 puppets + 2 newly settled cities (post-founding) and Founded last on turn 96, went a little further and things are still going pretty swimmingly.



    The main thing I noticed about Traditional Progress is it really let me use all the powerful low food tiles around my capital well in a way you sort of can't if you stick with Tradition, the 3 Jade + 1 Dye really can't coexist with 2-4 specialists in a developing capital. At the same time I benefited a ton from the early boost in pop from Tradition 1 to get me past a tricky threshold, and I think going only Progress I would've either had to miss Stonehenge or not had enough oomph to knock over Rome. At the same time I did kill a ridiculous amount of Roman units so Authority might've actually been the best, but it was hard to know to go Authority 1 with a tiny capital before Rome had even decided to forward settle me so obnoxiously.

    I think one strength of this opening is you can go Tradition 1 half-intending normal Tradition, and delay your decision to go Progress if the circumstances fit. In this case I could've probably guessed my path from the start had I thought about it, but sometimes the extra time to gain information is quite helpful.

    Another thing I realized in this game is holy moly Immortal is a lot easier than Deity right now. The timings are still aggressive and the AI has lots of units but the game doesn't just randomly decide to screw you over for no reason about once every 15 turns (I am kind of tilted by the hyper aggressive Deity horseman barbs, they've eaten my internal trade as Portugal before coming out of the shadows a turn after spawning.) For wonders I ended up getting HG successfully, then going for RF and missing as well as TCA and missing, but they felt like fair misses, I was preoccupied with other things.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2020
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  14. CrazyG

    CrazyG Deity

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    I'm playing a game on deity right now where I just banned all the civs who pick tradition. The AI are much closer together in tech and culture with a all civs having a few wonders. So much more fun to play than just desperately trying to catch Siam all game.
     
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  15. Rhys DeAnno

    Rhys DeAnno Prince

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    I'm starting to come around to the belief that the strength of the whole Tradition tree is secretly its opener. The AIs take it and get off to amazing starts, and if you stick it at the start of Progress, Progress suddenly becomes kind of good instead of a painful slow mess. I wonder if Tradition should be reorganized to have a weaker opener but better policies from the science policy on, to make it more bottom-heavy, and if that would depress these amazing Tradition AI starts.
     
  16. Gizmoman

    Gizmoman Chieftain

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    Couldn't you just remove the tradition tree from the game?

    Seems to me that it's both the opener as well as the finishing (not the actual finisher, but the combination of the last 3 policies)
    On the other hand Progress feels like it should catch up, but it just doesn't.
     
  17. CrazyG

    CrazyG Deity

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    It was easier to just hand pick 7 civs who don't take tradition.

    If you have 4 pop when choosing your social policy, then you get about 120 food instantly. Progress by comparison gets 60~ science.

    It seems that deity AI get about the same amount of culture from the progress opener as us humans, maybe slightly more since they have a tech lead.

    With the authority opener I think the Deity AI actually gets a bit less than a human, because they often clear camps they find in the first 10 turns.

    With a decent start I'm usually just a little bit behind the progress and authority AI in culture.

    But tradition, 1:c5culture: per 2 :c5citizen: is really AI friendly. As a human you can get 3:c5culture: from this but only on a good start (you need a 3 food tile, or a pop ruin, or a gift of food from a CS). My tradition capital always either sits at 6 pop, or drops due to settlers. I'm usually in the classical era by the time I get to 7 pop. The AI though, they start growing and stay big, consistently getting 3 or 4 from the opener. They just blow out me (and the other AI) in culture, and as a result science.
     
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  18. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    I remember the good old days when not every strategy thread inevitably fell into a balance discussion.

    Actually no I don't, because its always been this way:)

    I don't think the answer is as simple as a better opener. Progress for example, the AI builds much quicker than the human, so in theory should just be milking culture after culture bonus from buildings.

    My speculation (as we don't have any hard facts) comes down to a couple of areas:

    1) The power of GP. GS for example are just stupidly good late game, even with the nerf we did on them a few versions ago. Tradition's advantage in GP provides both early and late game advantages, pretty major ones. Also, remember one of the AI bonus mechanics relies on GP production. Perhaps the fact that Tradition players tend to pick up a couple of GP early (artist and engineer), gives them an initial shot in the arm that helps begin the snowball.

    2) Wonder snowballs remain too strong. While we nerfed the bonuses here, is the problem simply that Tradition AIs still grab all the wonders, get more bonuses, and begin their snowball? Part of this may be compounded by the AI production bonuses. For a human, it takes a lot of work to make a second city production capable enough to compete with a capital... therefore generally you build your wonders in one city. The AI however with its production advantages, maybe able to afford building wonders in two different cities more often, which would also help explain how you sometimes see AI grab 2 wonders 1 turn after the other.
     
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  19. CrazyG

    CrazyG Deity

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    I think there are two aspects for the AI snowballing. Starting ahead, and staying ahead. The AI with tradition start ahead because it gives them them the most culture. Fast early culture becomes high science, by getting the later policies earlier.

    This means they get their faith bonus really early too. Let's say they take this policy second, that's 3 faith a turn starting early (turn 30 for their second policy isn't uncommon). If religion races end turn 90, that's 180 faith towards that race.

    I think they just unlock the wonders before the other AI do, and that's how they stay ahead. The production bonuses are definitely part of it, but also it's the strong science + culture.
     
  20. Cokolwiek

    Cokolwiek Prince

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    I'm not sure about this initial culture being responsible for disappearances in AI performance. In my experience during the first turns there are usually no differences in policies number among AI players. When I am at two for example all AIs, tradition or authority, will usually be on three, when I am on four, all of them will have five or six. I think tradition snowballing potential has more to do with this initial population bonus which usually means faster settlers and more of them, then stronger yields at the capital and earlier specialists and tile improvements also more early wonders (but that's less important and tends to hinder more than help AI who lost Pyramids by one turn). Especially those early culture specialists and an engineer, other policies trees are devoid of, coupled with AI bonuses to growth build tradition consistency at being the best for the AIs. I rarely see discrepancies of more than one policy among the AIs before first one or two policies into second tree.
     

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