Trying to sprawl always dumps me into happiness hole?

Discussion in 'Civ5 - Strategy & Tips' started by dslartoo, Nov 7, 2012.

  1. dslartoo

    dslartoo Chieftain

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    Hey folks.

    So I've been reading some of the Sprawl and Wall / Sprawl and Maul / ICS strategies in the Empire Management article. They all sound really cool, particularly since they talk about tons of gold and science flowing in. I'd like to try some of them, but I need some recommendations first, and here's why: every time I try building more than about three or four cities, my happiness drops into the negative and never recovers. I can't figure out how people can have civs that have twenty or thirty cities, because I can't even manage five or six!

    I frequently play Tall and Wall since I prefer a peaceful playstyle, but I'd like to go on the world conquest warpath once in a while -- or even be able to spread out over seven, eight, ten, twenty cities like I see the AI doing. What do I need to be doing to keep happiness under control? Use the "Avoid Growth" option to keep all cities below size 4 (or something) to keep happiness managed? Spend all my money on colosseums and theatres? Raze every single city I take from the AI (or sell them to another civ instead)? Spend all my spare cash on allying CSs that have luxuries I don't?

    I do, of course, improve all luxuries I have near my cities. I try to found new cities on or near luxuries I don't already have, but that isn't always possible. I have the feeling I am trying to expand too fast, but I know that it must be possible to expand fast from the frequent discussion of the "4 cities before turn 50" strategy. I just can't fathom HOW.

    I typically play on Prince difficulty, standard speed (although I've been experimenting some with Epic and Marathon speeds). I'll be happy to answer any questions about my play style if you folks can give me some tips on learning to sprawl out without dropping into ridiculous negative numbers on happiness.

    (Another question I just thought of -- if you're playing a sprawling style, do you just have to accept that you'll only get a few social policies here and there since the cost of new policies keeps going up with every new city you found or annex? I know that puppetting cities you capture doesn't add to new policy costs, but even if I puppet cities I take via warfare, the happiness problem gets out of control and then we're back to my original problem. I can only handle it if I annex and rush buy courthouses, and that of course *does* increase policy costs).

    Oh, one more thing -- I use the vanilla version of Civ. Not sure I want to jump into the G&K pool just yet as I can't even master difficulties above Prince with vanilla. :)

    Thanks!

    cheers,
    Phil
     
  2. Gamewizard

    Gamewizard Emperor

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    Make sure you are selling excess luxuries away. You can also sell strategics (horse, iron) if you don't plan on using all of them right away. Use the excess cash to ally with CS that have luxuries that you don't have.

    Also, you should consider G+K if you are having happiness problems. The addition of religion and mercantile CS makes acquiring happiness ALOT easier.
     
  3. manu-fan

    manu-fan Emperor

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    Look to the the Social Policies for any that can improve your happiness, and go for those first. Get your cities connected by roads and get the -1 unhappiness for each, for example. Also, try to time any free Great Person (Great Engineer) with a wonder (like Notre Dame) that can increase happiness.

    So, go for:

    Monarchy: +1 Gold and -1 Unhappiness for every 2 Citizens in the Capital. (requires Legalism)
    Meritocracy: +1 Happiness for each City you own connected to the Capital and -5% Unhappiness from Citizens in non-occupied Cities. (requires Citizenship)
    and then:
    Organized Religion: +1 Happiness from every Monument, Temple and Monastery. (In Vanilla)

    And, what I do is to puppet non-capital opposing cities, and puppet, and then annex and buy a courthouse for any Capital I capture.

    Hope this helps some. I've been playing on Warlord my whole Civ 5 career, but moved up to Prince for my latest game, and now have a continent and a half full of cities, and am moving in for the domination kill. I do play on G&K, and would highly recommend it. BTW: I never restrict growth. Just manage the increased un-happiness with the social policies, or by building happiness buildings.

    Cheers.
     
  4. WeaselSlapper

    WeaselSlapper Prince

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    I wrote the war article guide to happiness and there are some tips there that I'm sure will help you. http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=436022

    It's designed for vanilla and is a few patches old, but with current G&K it should be even easier since happiness is easier to come by. Pay special attention the sections on a wide empire and a wide puppet empire.

    But one quick time for an ICS game is you have to make sure you stop a city's growth (in all but 1-2 cities) when it gets to the highest point that can be supported by local happiness. If you do not do this one simple step you will not be able to have an ICS empire.
     
  5. dslartoo

    dslartoo Chieftain

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    Monarchy I've only found useful if I have a sizable capital. If you're going with a wide empire, aren't you usually going to have a large number of small cities? Or is it possible to still have a large capital, say, with plenty of other tiny cities? Tradition in general I thought was better aimed for tall empires.

    I do tend to use Meritocracy quite a bit, but often the unhappiness from puppetting the city (if I conquered it) seems to greatly outweigh the puny 1 happiness from the road built to it. Still, I suppose every little bit helps.

    Organized Religion is useful if you're being Pious, but I tend to ignore Piety unless I'm going for a cultural victory. Maybe I should rethink that.

    Notre Dame does frequently pull me out of a hole (I try to use the Hagia Sophia / Great Engineer / Notre Dame slingshot quite often) but that's a fair ways down the road. I have more trouble trying to keep happiness positive when expanding initially.

    I do sell open borders (and excess luxuries when I'm lucky enough to get them) but allying CSs tends not to work so well for me unless I have TONS of excess cash (unlikely very early in the game). If you spend 250 initially, that's only enough to get you to "friend" status and then the very next turn you drop out of friend status again. If you spend 500, that gets you to Friend status but is still short of Ally status (or gets you to Ally status and then you drop out of Ally the very next turn -- I can't recall). Only if you have the 1000 does it get you to Ally status and keep you there for any length of time, and who has 1000 excess gold in the initial expansion part of the game?

    I do have some luck with parking a unit near a barbarian camp that is also near a CS and then killing off the units it spawns, but they have an annoying habit of staying too far away from the CS to affect it when I kill them.

    I've heard from several sources already that G&K does make it easier to acquire happiness. Also that it gives you plenty of other ways to make friends with CSs instead of having to buy them at $1000 a pop.

    I have been over most of the War Academy articles but I somehow overlooked that one until now. Thanks for the reminder!

    I think that last step is the one I've been missing. I just figured it was best to let cities grow at their own rate, but apparently I should be limiting their growth until I have excess happiness to play with.

    Also, a lot of the tips that people mention include using social policies to control unhappiness. I do use the ones like Meritocracy when possible, but some of the social policies mentioned are deep into their tree or require policies you don't unlock for quite a while. If you're going with a wide empire with lots of cities, it seems to me that the increased social policy costs from founding new cities would put most social policies out of reach. Is that not the case?

    Thanks to everybody for the replies and suggestions!

    cheers,
    Phil
     
  6. manu-fan

    manu-fan Emperor

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    Just one point. Don't ignore Tradition just because it says it's for Tall Empires. It is very useful for sprawling ones also. And yes, I do always grow my Capital as big as possible.

    Cheers.
     
  7. Tachii

    Tachii Procrastinator

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    I would jump into G&K. If you do get used to vanilla it takes a while to adapt to G&K. You might as well start with G&K at the beginning. G&K has more CS quests, more happiness, huge combat changes, and so on.

    Also, don't puppet every city. You're not the AI and cannot possibly control that many cities/population like they do. Raze cities that lack luxuries unless it's a key strategic spot.

    ICS in vanilla was less effective than G&K just because happiness is always an issue. I never once attempted ICS and don't really see a reason to. ICS in G&K is more than plausible so that's another reason to get G&K.
     
  8. WeaselSlapper

    WeaselSlapper Prince

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    Basically there are two types of unhappiness, global and local. Local is caused by population and global is caused by cities. Local unhappiness can be countered by buildings (when a building grants happiness with a SP it's still local happiness), while global unhappiness can only be countered with SP/Lux/Wonders/Religion (with G&K).

    If you want a true ICS you need to select SP and religions that can counter the 3 unhappiness per city. I'm not going to include luxuries, wonders, and SP/religions that contribute to local happiness or only give a fixed amount of global happiness in this because they have a fixed value that will quickly eat into your happiness in an ICS strategy.

    Policies to look at (assuming you have G&K):
    Meritocracy - 1 happiness per city for doing something you're going to do anyway - a must have for ICS, probably the best policy in the game for a true ICS game. The extra 1 happiness for every 20 citizens won't really help with ICS but it will allow you to grow your capital larger
    Democracy - 1 happiness for every 2 specialists in a city. Can get you the other 2 global happiness you need, but it's 2 or 3 deep in the tree so it will be hard to get to because it opens up so late and you will have likely already sprawled by then
    Order Opener - 1 happiness per city. While not as effective as Democracy it's the opener so it's much easier to get to.

    Overall you can really only expect 1 happiness per city out of SP because Democracy and Order come too late and if you're going to ICS you need to before this policies open.

    Religions
    Pantheon Beliefs
    Sacred Waters - 1 happiness from cities on a river. Good, but when ICSing most of your cities will not wind up on a river
    Goddess of Love - 1 happiness from cities with a pop of 6+. Alright, but unless you pick policies that add local happiness from buildings/garrisons you will not be able to get to enough local happiness to have 6 pop in all cities until you get Stadiums. But with a Colosseum and a theater you get 5 so you will only need 1 more per city from SP.

    Founder Beliefs
    Ceremonial Burial - 1 happiness from every city with this religion. Assuming you can keep other religions out this is a great policy. Religion spread naturally so this should be your founder pick every time.
     
  9. Stolen Rutters

    Stolen Rutters Deity

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    Although nobody has mentioned it yet, keep in mind that only the first luxury tile of each type contributes to your happiness... One truffle tile gives you four happiness, but so do three truffle tiles! What you can do is trade the extra truffles with someone who might give you a silver if you don't have it, for example, and trade the other truffle for something else, another luxury or for cash.

    The 4 cities by 50 turns talks about trading your first luxuries to the highest bidder for enough early cash to buy the third and/or fourth settlers (and, possibly, workers and archers)... Later in the game, you probably should be keeping one of each luxury for yourself for more happiness later in the game, trading the excess for luxuries you can't get from friendly city states.
     
  10. dslartoo

    dslartoo Chieftain

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    Unfortunately, I'm already used to vanilla -- been playing since about March of this year. I just spend all my time playing Tall and Wall strategy, with occasional puppets here and there. Trying now to use a few alternate strategies. :)

    It definitely sounds like G&K might be a good idea. I suppose if I dislike it I can always disable it and go back to vanilla. :)

    Again thanks for the many many suggestions. G&K is surely sounding better for the multiple ways you can counter unhappiness.

    Right, this much I did know already. Annoyingly, it seems that every time I'm in a happiness hole and I go looking to see who else has excess luxuries to trade, the only ones that do are civs who are already annoyed with me (typically because they covet my lands, I built wonders they wanted, or allied with a city-state they wanted themselves), and thus won't do a straight-up trade. Or, if they're friendly with me, they don't have excess luxuries, so I just have to sell the extra lux for cash. I wish you could trade luxuries with city-states....

    Thanks again to those who've offered tips so far. It's appreciated. Eventually I'll be able to manage a wide empire instead of a tall one, I swear it. :)

    cheers,
    Phil
     
  11. DevilHell

    DevilHell Warlord

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    Spoiler :


    You see a lot of people doing ICS WITH G&K because religion helps immensely with happiness, god, there's even a pantheon that gives happiness to cities settled beside a river O.o

    In vanilla it is not so doable because we don't have religion, you cannot just go crazy, you have to go as happiness allows
    Some tips are these
    If you are going for less than 20 cities, build 4 first and build the Circus Maximus national wonder, and then go 14 more cities
    If you are going :crazyeye: then go slow, build cities near luxuries first and improve them as soon as you can. every settled city should build a colosseum first
    Remember to do this:
    When you settle your city, lock the food tile you are working and put production focus on
    This way, when they get to pop 2, they will work a hill preferably, or a forest, in the absence of a hill, and so, that will control growth and they will finish the colosseum faster. When a colosseum is finished you can make them grow once again, or do whatever you like.
    When going :crazyeye: (ICS) you should settle every city 3 tiles apart (the closest possible) so that the maintenance cost stays lower. You should also try to settle every city beside a hill or near a hill, to accomplish the point I said before.
    If you manage to grow your cap to 14 pop you will not pay maintenance for a 3 tile road to any 1 pop (recently settled) city, and so, you will get 1 gold for every 2 pop city connected to your capital
    Policies you should go: As you play vanilla, you should, obviously, go Liberty full. Then you should go Piety, but only the opener and the policy that gives happiness (Which doesn't exist in G&K)
    After that, you are free to choose, but as soon as you have Order you shall open it.
    There's a policy in commerce that you will want to take, the one that gives discounts for building roads.
    Nothing else to say.. Except, do not go under 10 unhappiness.
     
  12. dslartoo

    dslartoo Chieftain

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    DevilHell, these are awesome tips. This is the sort of specific stuff that helps me figure out why I'm having trouble. I'm building cities too far apart from each other, I haven't built Circus Maximus, and especially I haven't been locking my tiles or paying enough attention to what tiles are being worked. ICS and/or wide strategies in general apparently require more effort to seeing precisely which tiles need to be worked around the city to prevent it from growing too fast. I need to practice that.

    Thanks a bunch for the suggestions!

    cheers,
    Phil
     
  13. Buccaneer

    Buccaneer Deity

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    Also don't ignore playing non-peacefully going Tall = the Puppet Empire. I've won domination (and space come to think of it) with 3-4 small cities and lots and lots of puppets.
     
  14. Syailendra

    Syailendra Prince

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    don't read devilhell post the wrong way, your first 4 cities can be positioned as far as you need, usually following the luxury tiles. You would want culture building in those cities to surf the policies ASAP. Later when you already have some happiness policies you can start ics and backfill the cities.
    To be frank, in vanilla, ics is not possibly be planned from the very start of the game, you'll need many luxes to start it. To know what situation that possible to have a sprawling empire, try to play earth map with a middle east or india starting position.
     
  15. manu-fan

    manu-fan Emperor

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    From all the responses, I realize that my strategy for wide isn't quite right, and I've got to start limiting growth somewhat. I have never done that, so it's going to be a struggle. For example, I'm about 140 turns into a new game and have taken the +1 happiness for each city pop 6+ belief, so maybe I can get my cities to 6 and then stifle growth from there.

    Cheers.
     
  16. RedRover57

    RedRover57 Emperor

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    I thought that "true ICS" is out of the question now in vanilla. It used to be possible with a civ like China before the Paper Maker was nerfed (and other changes were made in later patches). But it certainly is possible in G&K with a number of different civs (e.g., Mayans). As others have said it's certain religious beliefs and UBs that make it possible again in G&K.
     
  17. WeaselSlapper

    WeaselSlapper Prince

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    No UB will help enable true ICS, all buildings (not including wonders) contribute to local happiness, not global. While UB that add happiness can make ICS stronger (by allowing your cities to have higher population), it cannot help with taking care of the 3 unhappiness generated by the city itself. I don't think any leaders traits add happiness so all leaders except Gandhi are identical for ICS.
     
  18. dslartoo

    dslartoo Chieftain

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    This is actually the way I usually play -- Tall and Wall until the other civs start annoying me, then gradually attacking them one by one and getting puppets here and there. I just wanted to see whether it would be possible to expand faster than I usually do, and try a few new strategies.

    Yeah, I'm not actually keen on trying a "true" ICS, just a more sprawling empire with lots of cities. Or even just expanding more rapidly than I usually do (I usually have lots of trouble getting the land I want because the AI expands so much faster than I and they ALWAYS seem to be close neighbors). Not sure I have the skill to micro-manage to the point that a true ICS would require.

    Any time I found a new city, it's always near luxury tiles. Sometimes this means they're farther apart than they should be, but more often I just need those luxuries.

    I'm also interested to see that manu-fan, who's been at this longer than I have, is reevaluating his own wide strategies based on the feedback. We're ALL learning something here. :)

    Thanks all!

    cheers,
    Phil
     
  19. manu-fan

    manu-fan Emperor

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    Well, I haven't been here consistently. I came back recently for G&K after giving up WoW. I had only dabbled on WoW maintenance mornings for the whole of 2012 up to that point.

    Cheers. (And BTW, I'm a Phil too).
     
  20. chazzycat

    chazzycat Deity

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    for me there are basically 2 really important elements in a successful super-wide/ICS start.

    1) the map. you need lots of different types of luxuries nearby. if you have clusters of 1-2 same types of luxuries instead, its flat out not going to work. try another approach. if you do get the luxuries you want, i'd recommend settling on top of them for the fastest possible expansion. waiting for a worker to hook stuff up can really kill your momentum.

    2) religion. you need to secure a religion relatively early and get some solid per-city happiness boosts. at least 3 per city, IMO. that means pagodas plus at least one another happiness belief. pagodas are pretty crucial though.

    that means if you aren't a religious civ, and don't get lucky with the map, you have to put serious effort into getting/enhancing an early religion. Maybe even taking 1-2 piety policies if you need to. if it gets you that religion then its worth it.
     

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