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[BTS] Trouble with non-copper starts

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by scheines, Feb 18, 2020.

  1. scheines

    scheines Chieftain

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    EDIT: the post should say non-copper, but I can’t edit the title

    Moderator Action: Thread title edited. leif

    So as I make the push from monarch -> emperor I’m having a lot of barb troubles in games where I don’t start with (or very near) copper.

    I typically would tech necessary food techs, mining, BW, hunting / mysticism if needed, then push up the wheel, pottery, writing tree. Obviously this is varied when you’re near water, or want Stonehenge / the pyramids / great lighthouse.

    I assume the natural answer is that I should tech archery or IW, but I hear some here say they don’t often touch archery since it’s a dead end. Similarly, nobody seems to self tech IW because you can trade for it. So, what am I supposed to do in these scenarios? I can post the first ~100 turns of a game if it would help (and probably catch some other dumb tendencies)?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 18, 2020
  2. krikav

    krikav Theorycrafter

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    How to not die against barbarians? Thats a question that is highly relevant and will be relevant to you each step along the way, if you choose to move up in difficulties. :)
    If you tech BW early on, and pop copper that is easy to access then all problems are solved.

    The other (that I'm aware of) early defenses consist of:
    * No defense (Either by proper fogbusting or by building TGW)
    TGW is a very special case, but fogbusting is very common, do you know the techniques? Barbs cant spawn in a 5x5 square around any unit.
    * Warrior defense
    Often abit risky, but doable in most cases with the right mindset and abit of experience, especially with AGG leaders. Make sure to have good production so you can wage a war of attrition against the barbs if you get a few unlucky rolls.

    * Archery defense
    If you want to feel safe, or if you have some early commerce but pretty low production.
    Getting archery is never bad really, it's just that the early cost makes you lose something other that you might need.

    * Chariot defense
    If you get easy access to horses, and since you almost always go TW somewhat early anyway, this is a natural way to defend.
    Nice and flexible, and allows for scouting and the units you build stay relevant for a longe time afterwards, but it's weak spot is the possibility of barb spears spawning, and you need to have a plan to handle them. (Likely sacrificing a warrior or two per spear).

    Teching IW for barb defense is something I have never done. It just comes waaay to late to be relevant for that.
     
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  3. Hesha

    Hesha Prince

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    Plus this is where the likes of SB, Pacal, etc. really shine...
     
  4. sampsa

    sampsa Ghost

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    On immortal, most games don't require archery. Well placed warriors will get you very far.
     
  5. Fippy

    Fippy Micro Junkie Queen

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    I made a fogbust example screenie, using questionable paint skills :lol:

    Yellow lines lead to fogbusted tiles (no barbs can spawn there), red indicates still danger zones.
    3 units keep a larger area south of our city secure here.

    Sometimes you will get easier to secure maps, sometimes areas might be large (like here), but you have plenty turns of warning time if you place some fogbusters. Big advantage: Only 1 warrior sitting in cities (if they need happy police) will do, defending in cities should be a last resort only. Warriors sitting on forest or jungle hills are especially efficient (100% def bonus with fortify).
     

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  6. scheines

    scheines Chieftain

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    Oh, so even if there is fog nothing can spawn? That is good to know!

    What’re the mechanics around the city here? I assume they can’t spawn in your LOS either?
     
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  7. krikav

    krikav Theorycrafter

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    Yepp, barbarians can't spawn on visible tiles either, so anything a city uncovers is fogbust.
    Also, barbarians themselves also fogbust, so sometimes it can be worthwhile letting that barb warrior be, so that no nasty spears spawn in his stead.
     
  8. scheines

    scheines Chieftain

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    So if I’m in a scenario where a fractal map gives me a nice peninsula to block off early, should I just make a handful (say 3-5) of warriors to fog bust in a ring behind me?

    I feel like in this situation (again, still no copper), I become pretty prone to archers / axes spawning, which is definitely a losing battle over time with only warriors. Obviously in a perfect world you should “just” settle it faster, but that isn’t always viable (expansion limits, unit supply cost, etc).

    Does it make sense in these more (contrived and particular) scenarios to tech archery / IW? Is that ever a necessity? A similar conundrum more often presents itself when I am copper-less and adjacent to Shaka / Monty, but that’s a whole other topic of its own.
     
  9. lymond

    lymond Rise Up! (Phoenix Style!) Hall of Fame Staff

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    (for clarification, cities - barb or otherwise - do not bust barbs...nor does the cultural borders. LoS ..yes...but strictly visible tiles)

    We may need to know what settings you play as well. I see folks pop up on here with barbs concerns and they are playing huge/mara maps with tons of open land. Even on levels like monarch>emperor this can create some big problems if you don't have early access to horses or copper, if playing huge maps.

    I'm the one who harps a lot on not teching archery, but sometimes you just have to tech archery. It just happens, especially on Deity. I would do that before considering teching IW myself. IW is just a very expensive tech early that has no trade value cause AIs always tech it early.

    You mention copper, but you should be fine with horses.

    As for warriors, 2 or 3 should do at first. Whatever your starting unit is - scout or warrior - will help bust too after initial scouting. Adjust your units as borders pop and cities are settled to make sure you get the most coverage.

    "Expansion limits"...we are kinda speaking in a vacuum here. We may have a completely different viewpoint on what you might consider expansion limits and costs. Have to see one of your games to really know.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2020
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  10. scheines

    scheines Chieftain

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    Yep lymond I think one of your YT let’s plays or forum posts was where I heard it first. It can be tough to know what to believe for sure cause I never know if some random post from early 2010s is still good advice.

    Expansion limits is a definitely a vague and context specific term. Maybe I’ll pick up a game tonight from scratch and see if I can post here.
     
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  11. Fippy

    Fippy Micro Junkie Queen

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    Archery can be annoying early cos you want so many other basic techs like BW or Pottery.
    If you use fogbusting on Emperor, there should always be time to get those first, barbs should not enter earlier than maybe T60.
    (3 cities average / Civ).

    As with protection against aggressive AIs, good play includes either delaying or rushing military, and bad would be teching Archery very early and building rather expensive Archers that sit around.
    Much better to only get such defenders if you see problems (barbs breaking thru a fogbust line i.e.).
     
  12. scheines

    scheines Chieftain

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    What do you mean by delaying? As in, delay their DoW via diplomacy? Is that really possible so early? At this stage of the game you can’t trade pretty much anything so I don’t know what I’d do to avoid DoWs until you can bribe / appease them somehow.
     
  13. Fippy

    Fippy Micro Junkie Queen

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    Maybe not clear sowy, i mean let's say Shaka is your closest AI.
    You might be tempted to sit several Archers in border cities, just in case.
    But i recommend scouting instead (writing before Archery, if needed), watching with 1 unit (ideally scout) if there's stack movement in his lands, and then reacting by getting several defenders quickly (i.e. with chops).

    Early defenders can cost gold per turn, hammers, and beakers.
    But on Emp AIs are very rarely attacking that early. So you should delay defensive units in favor of expansion and overall progress,
    training how to get them quickly when needed can also only be achieved this way.

    This same playstyle can also be applied to barb defense :)
     
  14. Gumbolt

    Gumbolt Phoenix Rising

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    I would say fogbust is your main answer. No need to go out of way to build too many warriors. I normally try to build a warrior before my capital gets to size 3. Then I spam 2 settlers. New cities also help to fogbust. Then you can build new warriors as you need them. Barbs rarely enter borders before 2000bc up to immortal. Deity much sooner.
     
  15. Tobiyogi

    Tobiyogi King

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    What kind of games do you play? For me, it's like birthday and christmas on the same day when I roll a start with copper in the capitol or nearby. Not only it makes barb defense easy, it also enhances failgold, produces trait-related buildings even faster, and last but not least, you are more unlikely to be DoWed. So all in all some good reasons not to rely on copper and to learn it the "hard way". I would add that it is never a shame to go archery, if you have good commerce, maybe already start with hunting. W/o hunting and with bad commerce, I would do the utmost to avoid it... Otherwise you can lose track of the game very easily. But when commerce is ok, archery is also an option when barbs seem to be tamed, because having only warriors makes you appear extremely weak in the eyes of others (not that I would care about that, but AI opponents do :)
     
  16. scheines

    scheines Chieftain

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    Great point Tobi... maybe I should exclusively play maps like this until I can figure out barb defense.


    Anyways, I sat down and did about 90 turns worth of a game. This will be probably a 3 part post due to attachment limits, but I wanted to try and be detailed since I know a vague screenshot every 20 turns doesn't help much.

    OK, below is 4000 BC to 1600 BC or so (T60, give or take). Map details are right at the top of the spoiler, just an FYI for anyone who wishes to play blindly.

    Spoiler :


    First, the start:
    DeGaulleT0A.png

    I regenerated maps to meet a few criteria for this run (see below), so I knew a little about the map, but took care to really only pay attention to checking what I needed. I also waited a few hours to start so I didn't have anything fresh in my head. So, hopefully a relatively blind play through.

    I have a feeling this will quickly derail into a thread about a few other dozen of things I’m doing wrong, but hey any help is good help?

    Spoiler Map details :

    • No copper within a reachable distance.
    • Initial settlements are such that we have a lot of open space. No AI boxing us in, but barbs can come from basically 3 directions.
    • No outrageously nice starts. I think I turned down a double clam, fish, wet corn start, as well as some gold, etc. in the BFC.

    This map is fractal, emperor difficulty, no huts / events, low sea level, temperate climate, standard size, and normal speed. Only thing that changes for my other games is map type (pangaea / continents) and maybe random sea / climate.



    OK, so back to the start. We're De Gaulle (CHR / IND) of France (Musketman, Salon). CHR is a little bit of a comfort pick for me due to the higher happy cap, and IND is solid all around for failgold if nothing else. I figured I'd avoid FIN because I think it's a little bit of a crutch for me.

    First turn: I saw the coast to the north, and wanted to leave space for a city that NNE hill to share the food. I moved my warrior SW since that would reveal the most tiles. I decided to settle to get all 3 food sources in the BFC. Plus the clams can both be shared this way.

    DeGaulleT0B.png


    I meet my first AI around T10, but not from the direction I expected?
    DeGaulleT10.png
    For early build order, I went worker, warriors until size 3, settler, then finishing the warrior as seen below. From here I pump out work boats and then cycling between workers, warriors and settlers.

    For early techs, I did AH, fishing, mining, BW, mysticism, masonry, wheel, pottery, then writing. IMO I maybe jumped the gun on fishing, since I didn't make work boats til about when I got BW, but it did help with commerce, as seen below.

    DeGaulleT30~A.png

    For early worker improvements, I went pig, farm, mine, then roaded stuff up. I know roads early aren't usually a great investment, but I didn't have anything else to do (probably my fault for doing fishing early?). I also planned to settle to the west, and this helped speed that up a bit.

    I picked here for the food + stone + horse. Need a monument, but as you'll see in wider screenshots, I couldn't think of a better way to settle for all 3. The more I look at it, maybe I should've settled it differently, since I end up getting neither quickly this way?

    Here I kind of enter "let's build the pyramids" mode because of stone and IND.


    DeGaulleT30~B.png


    Lose my first warrior here :(. This is around where the attrition really kicks in, especially once you start seeing archers. I should've been in forest, but was trying to finish scouting.

    I also am teching mysticism around here for the monuments. Needed for the border pop, but also has some synergy with CHR.

    DeGaulleT50.png

    More hostilities. Only animals but I lose another warrior to the panther. I'm not quite making use of the 5x5 box rule here... I think I do a better job later.

    DeGaulleT51.png


    Can't quite remember why I took this one... I think it was to show my attempts at fogbusting? I am again not really staggering warriors quite right, but I was struggling to fortify them in forests / hills.

    DeGaulleT55.png

    OK, 4000 BC and 2560 BC saves are below, and onto part 2!


     

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  17. scheines

    scheines Chieftain

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    Spoiler Part II :



    The action continues! I make way for the gold I discover. I plan to settle 2W of the settler to share the corn. Again, need a monument. Maybe I need to rethink my placement criteria if I always need monuments?

    Also pictured: first barbarian archer! :eek:
    DeGaulleT59.png


    Here is the empire after settling. As I said, lots of monuments, but I'd make them anyway as a CHR leader. I realized I goofed up my timing so I whip the monument in Orleans, planning to build a quarry, and a (late) pyramids.
    DeGaulleT60.png

    I took a brief moment to plan ahead, so I figured I'd share my thinking. Tentatively, I planned to settle red (share food with cap), orange (has food), yellow (share food with cap), then green (shown in next image).

    I did see the FP in the SW, but the distance deterred me. Thoughts on that?

    DeGaulleT65A.png

    More settling strategery; I considered green for the sheer value of having 3 extra of something to trade (i.e. 25 - 30 gold per turn). I end up not getting here during the first 90 turns, but I'll probably play it out from here, so it was worth the planning.

    I'll also admit I am not doing a great job scouting with the un-scouted tiles here, but as you'll see shortly, I really start having barb troubles here, and feel I can't afford to make so many warriors.

    DeGaulleT65B.png



    I pull the trigger on the pyramids because of stone and IND. In hindsight... I do not have the hammers or forest left to do it; I chopped too much to get settlers going. But, the failgold is always nice, and really bails me out later on. I'm not so sure about these tiles... it maximizes hammers, and I am close to happy cap for now.

    DeGaulleT70.png


    Barb troubles hit red alert (ok not really, but this part was brutal for me :cry:). I have 1 warrior for the guy up north, and 2 for the archer out west. Again, I'm not far enough out because at this point I think I had lost 4 warriors and was getting behind everywhere else. I pretty much knew trying to get a guy out there would cause me to lose him, so I fortify closer to Lyons.

    The archer actually wins both battles and razes Lyons afterwards. On the ensuing reload (yeah yeah :D), I get both guys in Lyons for the longer fortify + city bonus and lose only 1. This is a prime example of what I'm asking about in the thread. In hindsight, I can catch some mistakes (should've settled horse in inner ring, should've somehow gotten further out to fog bust, etc.), but in the moment I am thinking about the pyramids and 6 cities by 1 AD I guess :lol:. Sure, a chariot probably stops this, but now we're talking about picking between surviving the first 100 turns, and having other valuable resources (stone, marble, etc.). I feel like I shouldn't have to pick between 2 basics like this, so maybe the underlying problem is maybe city placement (so I can have my stone and horse 15+ turns sooner?)

    For instance, maybe I should've settled Orleans 2S of where it is, and Lyons 1E of the stone? No food this way, but I can share that farm at least. This also avoids monuments, but as a CHR leader I would usually build them anyways.

    Anyways, enough of this tangent and back to the rest!

    DeGaulleT73A.png

    1280 BC save is below, and I'll do a quick part 3 to wrap up since I am this far.


     

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  18. scheines

    scheines Chieftain

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    Spoiler Part III and some analysis / hindsight :



    OK, so after the barb-pocalypse, I (finally) get my Orleans border pop and hook up stone + horse. Next, I start to chop for the pyramids, and gear up for (at least) 3 more cities quickly after.

    Also, I really have to lean on binary research at this point. It feels bad, was maybe -10 gold at 100% research? I think this was before I optimized my capital for commerce a bit, but here I really felt like I was crawling along in tech. Maybe fishing + masonry + mysticism is overdoing early techs? I definitely see how hunting + archery would exacerbate this problem though.

    DeGaulleT76.png



    Here's my tile arrangement... had to fiddle with it to maximize hammers, stagnate at pop 5, and still get decent commerce. I noticed now I have the citizen, and I should've worked a 1F2C coast an d the river plains. Or, maybe there is something totally better?

    DeGaulleT85.png


    Welp, I saw it coming because of how slow I felt. The fail gold helps me finish writing, and I take a few turns to plan ahead. Honestly, I'll admit I arbitrarily pick one of alphabet, aesthetics, or CoL (via priesthood), unless I have marble in which case aesthetics -> literature for the NE makes lots of sense.


    I also meet elizabeth here, courtesy of my chariot finally getting out.

    DeGaulleT88.png

    Last screenshot-

    I held onto settlers a bit to help tech to writing faster, and my worker shortage couldn't keep up with improvements. I can't remember why I deviated from my plan on Rheims and Tours... Most likely I wanted some of that FP, at least for Tours. Marseilles I quite like as a city site - shares the food, stone, and I can still cram a city on the NE hill to share the clam if I wanted.

    From here, I would probably settle the green BFC from the prior post. The hill behind the great general's head also had a fish for a double food city. I could also do the river tile below the clam + horse.

    City placement thoughts aside, I stopped here as barb troubles drop off a lot. Zara is creeping in from the south. Thanks to him and new cities' LOS, I actually have warriors to spare, so I delete a few to lower unit supply + costs.

    If you made it this far thanks for reading!


    DeGaulleT91.png

    Final save (575 BC) is below.

     

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  19. earthy

    earthy Warlord

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    you really should aim for 1st ring food in a lot of those cities. waiting 10 turns for a monument border pop is no fun. Lyons especially seems like a bad candidate for a 3rd city, stealing food from Orleans and not contributing anything for ages.

    I gave this a shot to t55 as well:

    Spoiler regarding game :

    I'm no expert on fogbusting, but this seemed like an interesting start so I gave it a shot.

    I settled the capital the same, and went AH, then mining - BW - fishing - pottery. worker first and then warrior.

    Improved the pigs, farm, and then mine. First warrior fortified by the corn/horse after making a small circle around the capital. That'll be my next spot, so no need to explore more for the time being, especially if it means leaving the forest.



    As I'm about to hit size 3 I still need 3 hammers for the warrior. Instead of waiting 3 turns and growing halfway to size 4, I work the plains forest for one turn and grow/get out the warrior at the same time.

    growth1.png



    The second warrior heads towards the pigs and fortifies on the hill for my third city. The red is everything fogbusted so far There's some gaps, but we still have some time before they'll enter our culture.


    t30.png


    After the first settler I built another worker and one more warrior in the capital. Again I switched to hammer tiles to get the warrior out quickly. After settling Orleans the starting warrior moves north, and Orleans begins on a new warrior which then moves east(4 warriors total so far). With overflow from the warrior + a chop, the capital got a workboat out in 1 turn. In Orleans just to be extra safe I pre-built a chariot after improving the horse + roading, with the idea being that if my warriors encounter some trouble I can always get it out in one turn. Kind of screwed up the roads here though, won't have a connection until that tile is covered in culture or I get sailing.

    t55:
    t55.png


    With Lyons settled the warriors can again push out a little more, and with horse secured they can even take some risks and travel on flatland if necessary to get more information. From here mids is probably the obvious play, but I hate how awful that stone city is going to be. I would much rather settle the clam/crabs next for a nice double food city with a bit of commerce, and then maybe 1S of the sheep + chop a monument for the gold. Could even go for the FP's,. With Ind + stone it does seem a bit too good to pass up on mids though.

    Regarding barb pressure, we should be pretty safe now as long as we're careful not to leave any openings for barbs to sneak in.. Each additional city we settle will fogbust a bit more, allowing us to move our warriors out further until we find Zara. If we run into some bad luck with our warriors, chariots should be able to save the day.
     
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  20. lymond

    lymond Rise Up! (Phoenix Style!) Hall of Fame Staff

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    Well, I think it is a good derail to get help. You have a few things down..some experience, but your city placement is a real head scratcher, schienes. Orleans was ok, but the rest was not good at all. Rheims, Lyons, Tours and Marseilles are very poor.

    On the topic of barb busting, seems you did not progressively move out your busters as cities were settled. Guess you did not have much troubles though. As earthy showed, you get horses online asap anyway.

    Overall, you need to work on placement and you are expanding too slowly. Way too many roads instead of chopping.

    With that nice island across the way and two gimme cities 3 tiles N and S of Paris, GLH would be good here.

    I saw you stalling growth on Mids in Paris, instead 3 pop settlers at size 6 or 7 into Mids..turn your food into hammers
     

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