Traits or Starting Techs?

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by dankok8, Jun 24, 2020.

  1. AcaMetis

    AcaMetis Emperor

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    You can only build any given wonder in the game in one city at a time, if you want to build a wonder in a different city you have to completely remove it out of the first city's build list. But you can put hammers into it in multiple cities by having different cities build it on different turns. Then when the wonder completes any city that's invested hammers into it and didn't complete it will generate failgold.
     
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  2. migalhone

    migalhone Monarch wannabe

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    Do the hammers put into world wonders never expire?
     
  3. AcaMetis

    AcaMetis Emperor

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    Hammers put into any build will start to decay after a certain amount of turns, but wonders have the longest delay before that starts to happen. I'm not sure if that amount changes depending on gamespeed, but either way on Normal speed you shouldn't ever have to worry about production put into fail builds decaying. Unless you're playing on a really low difficulty or you super rushed to a wonder tech on a board with no better techers than Toku, but even than you always have the option of just completing the wonder yourself.
     
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  4. Snowbird

    Snowbird Prince

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    IIRC, it is 10 turns for units and 50 for buildings before decay.

    World Wonders is just a fancy type of buildings. If you play something like Noble Marathon I imagine failgold might decay, yes.
     
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  5. shakabrade

    shakabrade Praise Vivec!

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    For the consistent winrate, techs are more important, especially Agriculture (in 15T you pretty much have all the food techs), followed by Mining. To take the most out of the map, traits are more important.
    Failgold is more important when in iso or semi-iso, and not relevant on Pangaea when it is better to tech trade baits and take AIs failgold.
    Ind in iso often outperforms Financial. I am not sure about Phi as you can get to know the other continents much sooner, but you cant go wide with the empire.

    All of this is totally IMO.
     
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  6. Fippy

    Fippy Mycro Junkie Queen

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    I would still rather have Peri than Mao on a difficult Iso map ;)
    Cre alone makes up for starting techs in the settling phase imo.

    We actually have a great example, Lain's favorite map..infamous Mao.
    Peri should win this easily.
     
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  7. Lennier

    Lennier Emperor

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    The latter. But the hammers put into the wonder in the first city are saved while putting hammers into the wonder in the second city. (After a certain number of turns of not building the wonder, the hammers start to decay, but I don't remember the hammer-decay formula.) One failgold strategy (the "Wonderbread Economy") is to whip something and put the overflow into a wonder you have the bonus-resource for. Then the next turn whip something in another city and put the overflow into the wonder, etc. Generally you prefer to have an AI complete the wonder so you get all the :hammers: converted into :gold:, but in a pinch you can complete it yourself and get the wonder with the other cities giving fail gold. (For national wonders, you need to complete the wonder to get the gold.)
     
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  8. shakabrade

    shakabrade Praise Vivec!

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    I'll try to have a look and see if I played that map as it seems like some kind of a benchmark by the number of mentions. But if the map turned out to be winnable, maybe Agri did amount to something. Those early techs will make a difference in terms of surviving the barbs which can be incredibly painful on some maps and avoiding to get boxed in on others. These things can end the games. If you have managed to get to T60 in an okay spot, traits probably take over.
    But all things considered, there are synnergistic trait combosi like Cre + Phi. No early tech beats that.
     
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  9. ArchGhost

    ArchGhost Prince

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    Traits are tools that can (or can't) be leveraged to expand your control on the game. You either gain their advantage...or you don't, and just play standard as if you didn't have it. Not necessarily that impactful if viewed that way. The situations where they apply are more within the realm of player agency too (such as AGG for axe-rushing, using PHI to go faster to Lib/Astro, fail-gold abuse with IND, etc) rather than dumb luck of the map. You can see why I don't really place much merit in SPI trait with this mindset...and yes, I do understand how to use it.

    Starting techs are set and are either great, mediocre, or terrible depending on your start location. There is no changing that. Given that certain techs themselves are more powerful or offer more utility (Agriculture vs Hunting, or Mining vs. Mysticism, etc) than others, and starting locations tend to follow the same basic rules (food resource, 3 hills, and so on) certain techs combos are definitely more powerful than others. The main factor is start up speed. Worse tech combos lead to slower starts than better tech combos, even if the start is generous. Then combined with the snowball effect the outcome is real, and can be felt. Also, map scripts can interact in a more meaningful way with techs this way...starting without Fishing is likely to be objectively worse on Archipelago than on Pangaea due to the way the maps roll.

    So yeah, techs by a mile. You can abuse more powerful traits like PHI to a considerable degree....but you can always do that, and the stage of the game it's relevant comes along later anyway. You can't always start quickly with crap techs.

    Heh, nice. Basically the exact opposite opinion of mine on the merits of traits vs. techs :D
     
  10. Fippy

    Fippy Mycro Junkie Queen

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    Techs > Traits will not be something i ever agree on, if Willy had worse starting techs he would still beat Mao by a mile on maps where we can struggle.
    Some traits are really important early, give me Cre over Agri on basically any game :)

    Techs like hunting or fishing still remain useful (can get to AH if animals are food instead, or coastal starts for workboat).
    But protective will always be useless, i can just make up for those 75 Agri beakers so easily with some traits..
     
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  11. dankok8

    dankok8 Elected World Leader

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    @Fippy

    Traits definitely win over the entire game but techs can give you a major head start which snowballs very dramatically. For example say you have a typical inland capital with wet Corn and lots of forests. If you start with Fishing and Hunting it will take you a long time to develop. With China's Agri and Mining, I can start shopping from turn 20 latest after improving Corn which means everything comes out earlier and it snowballs from there.

    Fishing is of course great if you roll a coastal start with seafood but we also know that coastal starts are very slow and it's often better to move the Settler inland anyways.

    I'm not saying techs > traits but I think it's a worthy question which is more important and there is lots of disagreement. I'm kind of torn to answer either way to be honest which is why I started the thread. In your Peri vs. Mao example, Peri will be stronger by turn 200 but I think Mao will be stronger at turn 50 which he can leverage into a win through an early rush or something else.
     
  12. Fippy

    Fippy Mycro Junkie Queen

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    Hold on..by turn 200?
    Now Peri is very very upset and puts his helmet back on ;)
     
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  13. dankok8

    dankok8 Elected World Leader

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    Ok maybe turn 100 but still.. an edge at turn 50 can be decisive.
     
  14. drewisfat

    drewisfat King

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    Imo, it's rare to be unable to get up and running purely because you have bad techs. In a perfect game I'd want agri + mining (I do love China), so I can farm food and have the option for a very quick BW. But does that mean I think that's the best starting tech combo? Not necessarily.

    The only way you really get in trouble is if you can't make immediate use of a first-build worker. These are seafood = only food, and pastures = only food. Obviously with fishing we can workboat first and this salvages an F tier start to a D tier one. And with either agri or hunting we can tech AH immediately. So for consistency, I'd say Fishing + Agri is the best follow by Fishing + Hunting, which is pretty counterintuitive given that in many games you'll tech neither hunting nor fishing early.
     
  15. elmurcis

    elmurcis Emperor

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    Any leader is good as long as have CRE+FIN and start with Fishing+Agriculture :mischief:
     
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  16. DigitalBoy

    DigitalBoy Emperor

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    Traits are more important. Good starting techs help but as long as your first worker isn't sitting around idle then it doesn't really matter that much. That generally means the worst you'll ever be hurt by bad starting techs is not being able to improve cow/sheep/pigs right away, and about two-thirds of the civilizations start with either Agriculture or Hunting.
     
  17. dankok8

    dankok8 Elected World Leader

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    This game is a perfect example of how starting techs can be so important:

    https://forums.civfanatics.com/threads/very-awkward-justinian-start.660375/

    Worker has nothing to do until Agri + AH is researched then he finally improves the Cows around turn 20. Then he waits another long while with nothing to do (building roads...) until Mining + BW are finished before he can chop around turn 38. With China (Agri/Mining) instead of Byzantine (Wheel/Mysticism), the Worker would be ready to improve the Cows at turn 15 and by turn 23 or so we already have BW and can start chopping. A 15-turn headstart on chopping is MASSIVE plus we will have a larger capital from working the improved Cows sooner.
     
  18. drewisfat

    drewisfat King

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    When you don't have agri/hunting or anything farms/pastures benefit, and the only thing AH benefits is plains cow, you do not beeline AH. (And this is coming from a guy who hates skipping AW). Fortunately in that start, assuming SIP, there are a whopping 12 BFC forests. Worker first, tech mining->BW. Use worker to build mine on the workable hill while city grows on FP. Then start chopping/roading and when size 2 start building settler. Justinian is IMP so traits actually bail us out here :). Depending on where we want to go for 2nd city, we then would be teching agri -> AH, or possibly fishing. It's not a bad start - it's a low food forest start, and since it bucks the usual rule of "improve food first", there's some hesitancy to give advice on it that could end up being over-applied.
     
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  19. dankok8

    dankok8 Elected World Leader

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    Well yea I agree... plains Cow is a horrible source of food. But say if it was Pigs and there was no FP or there was a Pig and a Cow. AH only food isn't that rare...

    My point was just that China would do a lot better than Byzantines with this start to the point of a totally superior game after 50 or so turns which is huge. Probably not a 15-turn head start if you play most optimally using your strategy... But even then you're gonna have a capital city whose best food is an unfarmed FP 30+ turns into the game.

    EDIT: With my suggested (suboptimal) tech path for Byzantine Agri then AH, you can farm the FP while waiting for AH to hook up Cows. 4F 1C isn't such a bad tile...
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2020
  20. drewisfat

    drewisfat King

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    But the FP are out of the way of the cow and improvements take longer to build on FPs, so you'd actually be delaying improving the cow by several turns.

    And now you've backed off that being a perfect example and more into the generic "it's good to have agri or hunting in case you need AH" which is what I said in #34.

    Ultimately I would not agree even in this example (where we have the slowest starter techs AND no farm/camp resources) that better starting techs would put you in a totally superior position that could not be more than equalized by having good traits as opposed to poor traits. We'd have to go even further and knock out the forests, or at least the one workable hill. You'd have a huge food advantage, but I'd have some compensation in the form of a small commerce advantage even with a fast 2nd city. The Wheel and an early road gives me +2 :commerce: from connected cities. The FP and PH are both riverside for another +2:commerce:. Lastly, when I do tech AH I'll get a discount on it from AIs having it that's impossible to get if you pick AH first tech. Even Myst gives me the option to put a chop into SH for 20:gold:. I'd certainly prefer this position if it came with better traits, especially FIN in this instance.

    Consider this topic as: Player 1 gets to pick his preferred starting techs and sabotage Player 2 with the worst starting techs. Player 2 can do the same but with traits. Who has the advantage?
    We're considering a somewhat cherrypicked map here and I'd still prefer Player 2's position. On an average sampling of random maps I'd say the advantage would be huge for Player 2.
     

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