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Universal Suffrage Vs. Representation

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by mutax2003, Feb 21, 2006.

  1. mutax2003

    mutax2003 Rider of China, 4-3-3

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    My typical approach to games is to run representation and caste system if my civ is philosophical early by chopping for pyramid, build a lot of farms, and let computer auto-assign specialists for me. For financial trait, I will build a lot of cottages and eventualy move toward universal suffrage and emancipation. For civs with neither of those traits, I will run representation and following the first approach if I can get the pyramid, otherwise I will follow the second approach. So far, both strategies have allowed me to win games on monarch and emperor. I wonder what are your thoughts on this? Do you favour one approach over the other? Which do you think is superior (1) for space race (2) for domination/conquest?
     
  2. rewster1

    rewster1 Chieftain

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    Oh, good, another thread where we get to have the following discussion:
    "Your strategy is suboptimal, specialists are crap."
    "You forget the GPP from specialists."
    "GP have diminishing returns. You only need one GP farm."
    "But early on GP are great, and specialists are better than cottages."
    "Yes but later towns own specialists by a factor of 2."
    "But I will have killed you by then! GRRRR!"
    "Only if you play a rush map."
    "Chicken?"
    etc....:rolleyes:
     
  3. rewster1

    rewster1 Chieftain

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    Seriously though, it might be interesting to run the same game twice, once spamming farms/specialists and running rep, once spamming cottages and running US, of course doing everything to optimize the strategy in either case, and see which one acheives a specific goal first. Goal could be a specific victory type, or just victory in general.
    And then we'd have to do it again for each difficulty level of course...
     
  4. mutax2003

    mutax2003 Rider of China, 4-3-3

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    Ok, so for a standard continental map on monarch or emperor level, with default number of civs, aggressive AI setting, which approach do you go for? the cottage or specialist strategy? What are your criteria?
     
  5. rddc05

    rddc05 Chieftain

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    One thing that makes Civ4 so replayable is that there is really no single dominating strategy. So much depends on your leader, your start position, and your opponent leaders.

    For example, all of these would factor on whether or not I would go for Pyramids, or even run very many specialists. If I have stone and plenty of trees--> I might go for Pyramids; If I'm financial, I'd rather be working tiles than running specialists; if I have aggressive neighbors, I might go for early religion and try to get them to convert, but if I have early copper, I might just try to knock them out, etc. ad infinitum.
     
  6. rewster1

    rewster1 Chieftain

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    Assuming you can pick your leader after you choose your strategy, a lot still depends on resources, and terrain.
    If you don't get stone and aren't industrious, pyramids are a tough nut to crack. This makes the specialist way a lot less desirable in these cases.
    I played a game a couple days ago on a standard pangea, where I got my own large penninsula (all I had to do was build two settlers to wall off gaps between a mountain range and the north and south coasts, though the two cities were a bit distant from my capital.)
    I played with the intention of farm spamming, but I soon saw some glaring problems... one of the two cities I'd rushed was unreachable by fresh water unless I farmed over a cow. My fourth perspective city spot was even worse... it was on a mini-penninsula with a one tile isthmus of tundra connecting to my main penninsula... oops, no farms there til biology.

    This doesn't happen all that often, but to have it happen twice made me realize that I had to adapt or I sure wouldn't do much in that game.

    EDIT By the way, do farms stop working if the irrigation path is cut? And oh how I miss the days of civ 1 when I could farm tundra, desert, even hills. Sigh.
     
  7. Alcatraz

    Alcatraz Chieftain

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    Pyramid/representation + mercantilism + Statue of Liberty = a lot of research.
     
  8. rewster1

    rewster1 Chieftain

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    oops. deleting this accidental post.
     
  9. mutax2003

    mutax2003 Rider of China, 4-3-3

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    I think the irrigated farm would still be there even if the connection to fresh water is cut. You can try it out in your game by having your own unit pillaged a connection tile for chained irrigation. As for mercantilism, I hardly ever run it, I would much more prefere free trade and state property. Is it worth to give up all those trades just for one extra specialist?
     
  10. MrCynical

    MrCynical Chieftain

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    Unless you're at war with every other civ on the planet Mercantilism is detrimental to your research, at least by the time you've got the Statue of Liberty. You're losing at least 10 commerce per turn per city from trade routes under Mercantilism, and with libraries and universities that ends up as closer to 20 science per city per turn. One scientist (1 hammer, 6 research with representation) won't replace that. Free Market, or even decentrilization is generally better for research if you have anyone at all to trade with.

    I have tried this. You lose the irrigation bonus.
     
  11. Chris Woods

    Chris Woods Chieftain

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    I have employed both of these strategies to a pretty good effect on Monarch and Emperor levels of play. I think the most important thing people need to understand when considering the strategy alternate to their own is that city placement is radically different under specialist based economies as opposed to cottage based.

    In cottage based you generally try to minimize overlap of the full cross area of each city and are concerned with the presence of fresh water to maximize your health levels in the mid game. Finally, you try to position as many resource bonus' inside of your cities cross area as theoretically possible.

    The upside is large, powerful cities and centralized production issues. The downsize is a need to defend each city individually (at least until Railroad), a need to defend surrounding terrain (ie- bonus squares), health and happiness issues.


    In specialised based you generally position each city the minimum distance from each other, with no concern for reaping the full cross area. The cities usually only reach a population of 7 or 8; enough for some farmers, a production square or two, and two or three specialists. Finally you show little to no concern for resource squares. If city #3 doesn't get that wheat city #4 certainly will. You're more interested in minimizing distances between cities.

    The upside is a strong defence network (any city can reinforce eight other cities with Engineering.), no need to defend bonus squares (they're all distance: 1 from a city.), health and happiness are of almost no consequence, and Mercantilism is awesome under this model. The downside is decentralized production (you need a library in 2 size 8 science cities instead of one size 16 science city) and a lack of a single production powerhouse (for the most part, you concede the wonders. I generally concede wonders on Emperor anyhow.)

    Both have their merits and make for interesting games, but to try to find fault with specialist based economy while maintaining the city-placement mindset of a cottage based economy (eg- "Mercantilism is worse then trade routes" -- it's not when you have tiny cities.) is to miss the point entirely.

    Chris Woods
     
  12. MrCynical

    MrCynical Chieftain

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    You've forgotten the rather major downside of many cities; if you have twice as many cities you will be paying more than twice the maintenance cost. This was deliberately put in to try and kill the ICS strategy you're describing. I really don't think packing cities in like this works well. Mercantilism is stronger under this system yes, but I'm not at all convinced by the fundamental strategy. I know from experience that one powerhouse city is better than three mediocre ones, and ICS is just a more extreme example of that.

    My point on Mercantilism is that if your city makes more than 9 commerce from trade routes Mercantilism is detrimental to you. Once Free market is available the threshold drops still lower, to 6 or 7 commerce. Yes, if you go for ICS then you won't have many cities generating that much trade, but I don't think the advantages outweigh the city maintenance and lack of powerhouses to be boosted by the national wonders. In an Always War game ICS might be more viable, since trade isn't going to be an issue making Mercantilism much stronger, and the improved defense from ICS is very valuable.
     
  13. Chris Woods

    Chris Woods Chieftain

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    Again, I feel it is absolutely imperative you attempt this before trying to find fault. Consider that, on Monarch, the cost to support nine cities based on number is 9gpt - a tally that can be satisfied with two merchants. (Or, more to the point, the cost of 9 cities in maintenance can be paid for with one of them leaving the other eight cities free to do as they please.)

    The distance cost of 9 cities when placed in the described fashion is zero.

    On the other hand, four "large" cities will only cost 2 gpt in number of city maintenance, but will incur another 4-5 in distance costs due to the fact you don't tightly position them around the palace.

    Trade routes in tiny cities of this nature are generally 1-3 commerce. Given two trade routes, you generate between 2 and 6 commerce as opposed to mercantilism generating 6 "spent" commerce -- 3 research from representation and another 3 that is dependant on the type of specialist you have instituted.

    Religion pays off stronger since the amount of gold you gain is a function if number of cities the religion exists in -- essentially a founded religion discounts maintenance by 1gpt in every city that religion is present in. In the presence of a founded religion (and the appropriate temple) the upkeep cost of a core set of 9 cities is zero gpt.

    A full "expansion block" (another set of 9 cities with the central city containing the Forbidden Palace) incurs an additional 40gpt for an 18 city empire. This can be alleviated with three merchant dominate cities (the specialists are merchants) and the additional six cities are open to whatever is appropriate. In the presence of a founded religion you can afford the second expansion block with two merchant cities.

    It's really not a weak as you suggest theoretically -- Certainly worth giving a go to test it out and make conclusions from.

    Chris Woods

    REFERENCE:
    Cost per additional city on Monarch level -- (By Gato Loco)
    http://www.civfanatics.net/uploads10/monvswar.jpg

    Cost by distance -- (By Gato Loco)
    http://www.civfanatics.net/uploads10/horizdist.jpg
     
  14. rewster1

    rewster1 Chieftain

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    I've not tried this strategy... (by the way, what does ICS stand for? I need enlightenment.) but I assume that many cities has to cost a lot, and where does the money come from unless you assign many of these cities to be merchant cities rather than science? I had assumed upkeep would kill this sort of strategy as it is based on # of cities.
    Possible additional benefits would seem to include:
    1. easy whipping for all cities (small, food rich cities are the ideal for whipping). By the way, does anyone know whether kremlin makes whipping cheaper?
    2. city specialization reduces # of buildings you need. (either bank or university, but not both, since a bank won't do your scientists any good and vice versa, while if you were doing cottages you'd want both eventually due to dependence on the slider and cash rushing)
    3. Statue of liberty, as with mercantilsm, is beautiful with this strategy.
    4. Most likely better tile coverage AND tile usage, as big cities take a long time to get that way, so most tiles go unused much of the game.
     
  15. Chris Woods

    Chris Woods Chieftain

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    I had hoped it was clear in my previous post, but the money comes from...

    Core Block - A 40% Commerce -> Gold rate. A core block of nine cities with no commerce improvements, no commerce related bonus squares, and no river creates 26 commerce. (8 Palace + 2 * 9 cities). A 40 % gold rate turns 26 commerce into 9 gold. A Core block costs 9 gold.

    Alternatively, one city with two Merchant Specialists.
    Alternatively, found a religion.

    Expansion Block - A 100% Commerce -> Gold rate. An expansion block contributes another 18 commerce, resulting in 44 commerce (again, presuming you have no river, no commerce bonus items, no cottages.) The total cost now is 49 gold, the 100% alleviates it to 5gpt which has to be made up elsewhere (usually, one incense square.)

    Alternatively, three cities with two Merchant Specialists.
    Alternatively, found a religion and two cities with Merchant Specialists.

    In the worst cast scenario, with a 100% science rate, you can pay your number of cities overhead through four cities with Merchant Specialists in them, presuming you only build a Market in them.

    Chris Woods
     
  16. TCGTRF

    TCGTRF Chieftain

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    ICS is Infinite City Sprawl, as in earlier versions of Civ where the civ with the most cities was almost always assured a victory.

    The cost of a civ is based on number of cities, distance, population and Civic type. I think that Chris's numbers are good ones.

    Tom
     
  17. rewster1

    rewster1 Chieftain

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    Yes, it was clear... sorry, I just didn't refresh before I posted, so I didn't see yours til after. The religion aspect is obviously another point of favor for ICS (whatever it means)... but I'm going to have to try it to compare with my typical large city set up because if nothing else it sounds like fun...

    EDIT Yes, I once again posted without refreshing. I now know what ICS is. Thanks!

    EDIT2 By the way, worldbuilder has informed me that kremlin indeed lowers pop rushing cost, so don't worry about enlightening me there anymore.
     
  18. DaveMcW

    DaveMcW Chieftain

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    ICS is not infinite anymore. In Civ1 you could literally build a city on every tile. Civ2 added the requirement of 1 space between cities, and Civ4 now requires 2 spaces between cities. But the old-timers still call the densest possible city placement ICS.
     
  19. MrCynical

    MrCynical Chieftain

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    I quite agree that you should always attempt this when arguing this case. As a result I've spent a while messing around in game and in worldbuilder running some tests on the ICS strategy at monarch level. The numbers you present in your posts would make it a strong, quite possibly the strongest, strategy, but there's a snag: They bear no resemblance to the numbers in the game.

    Firstly your core block of nine cities. With all cities at size one this doesn't cost 9gpt, it costs 37gpt. This breaks down as 4gpt from distance, 20 from city number and 13 from civic upkeep (which increases with number of cities, so also has to be factored in. All these tests use the default low cost civics). When they reach their optimum size of eight (using all available squares), they have a cost of 70gpt, breaking down as 8 from distance 27 from city number and 35 from civic upkeep.

    Adding the second block around the forbidden palace the costs get even nastier. For the full 18 size 8 cities (maximum tile usage) it costs 205gpt, breaking down as 16gpt distance, 108 city number and 85 civic upkeep.

    Take the comparison between the first block and my 4 large cities. At size 1 they cost me 10gpt (breaking down as 3 distance, 4 city number and 3 civic upkeep). With 4 at size 20 it comes to 49gpt (breaking down as 13 distance, 8 city number and 28 civic upkeep).

    Now I'm not saying ICS is completely unviable, but it is much more expensive than you make out. Compare the first block of 9 to my 4 large cities. I can use 80 tiles, plus the 4 weaker city tiles. Your block of 9 can use 72, plus the 9 weaker city tiles. As you expand to a second block and further the maintenance costs increase even faster. Now for a more general list of pros and cons for ICS.

    Pros
    Easier to defend as cities are easily reinforced and all tile improvements are easily defendable.

    Boosts effect of Mercantilism and Statue of Liberty (how are you going to build this under ICS by the way?)

    Can use tiles earlier due to faster growth at small city sizes

    No health or happiness issues

    Cons
    No powerhouse cities, so much of the bonus from national wonders is lost.

    Little chance of getting Middle ages and later wonders

    Major loss of trade route income, which increases with city size, and in any case you have little choice but to run Mercantilism.

    You have to build twice as many city improvements, many of which will be slower due to the small city sizes.

    Fewer great people due to aforementioned lack of wonders, GP farms etc.

    You've had to build more settlers.

    Now do you see why I find ICS is a weak strategy? You can reduce the city maintenance to some extent with courthouses and the organized trait, but the same is true for a large city strategy. Mercantilism and the Statue of Liberty (assuming you get it) will help ICS catch up a bit, but they barely compensate for the lost commerce with the 9 city block, and they won't bridge the gap for an 18 city double block. On top of that you have the penalties listed above. I might consider it in an always war game, where the boost to defense is more valuable, and Mercantilism is a given anyway, but not in a normal game. The designers set out specifically to kill the ICS strategy in Civ 4, and it looks to me like they did a pretty good job.
     
  20. Chris Woods

    Chris Woods Chieftain

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    I believe we have a serious disconnect regarding the numbers we're using in these examples, so I plan to create a concrete example when I get back home. One thing to keep in mind is that Civic cost is a function of population, not city count. Four size ten cities incur the same civic upkeep as eight size five ones, or at least this has been my experience.

    Chris Woods
     

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