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Vocum Sineratio: Thoughts on slavery in FFH2 (MNAI/EitB/Terkhen)

Discussion in 'Fall from Heaven Strategy & Tips' started by akatosh, Oct 10, 2013.

  1. akatosh

    akatosh Chieftain

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    Some of you may remember Vocum Sineratio: The Whip from your BTS days. I've been thinking about some of the trait changes in EitB and Terkhen's new traits lately, and the slaver trait got me thinking about the slavery civic.

    As a refresher, Slavery is a Labor civic that lets you basically convert food into hammers, for 30 hammers per population sacrificed and +1 :mad: for 10 turns. In FFH2, it adds a +25% chance to capture a slave if your unit wins a battle.

    In BTS, slavery is probably the best civic in the game, comparable to the dominating role Agrarianism plays in FFH2. Slavery is available at bronze working, which is an early tech in base civ. Moreover, BTS's granary is 60 :hammers: and stores 50% of food, which lets you regrow whipped pop faster and essentially doubles the food-->hammer conversion. By comparison, a granary costs 100-120 :hammers: depending on the modmod and only stores 20% of food. You can get up to 40% storage by spending another 100-120 :hammers: on a smokehouse after spending :beakers: teching animal husbandry. Slavery is also available much later in FFH2, at philosophy or way of the wicked, depending on the mod.

    So at first glance, FFH2's incarnation of Slavery is way weaker than BTS's--slower to come out and harder to leverage. On the other hand, FFH2 introduces the actual slave unit, which is basically a weak worker. So FFH2's slavery has a secondary economic benefit--a chance for free workers.

    Finally, FFH2 offers the possibility of upgrading slaves into combat units, chiefly warriors and lunatics. So in sum, while Slavery's ability to produce raw hammers is significantly nerfed in FFH2, it does offer some interesting side benefits.

    So to start with, I want to take a look at Slavery's economic benefits. Then I want to consider the (direct) military implications the civic provides.

    One of the things that makes BTS slavery so strong is the cheap granary. With the expansive trait, a granary becomes a 1 pop whip, tremendously boosting the productivity of a new city (and making Pacal II of Inca one of the strongest if not the strongest leader/civ combos in the game). In FFH2, we have to spend 200-240 :hammers: to get a 40% food storage ratio, a substantially worse deal. BUT, in FFH2, we also have

    1) agrarianism
    2) sanitation's +1 :food: coming much earlier than BTS's biology +1 :food:
    3) Sacrifice the Weak

    The combination of these three factors mean that the total hammer output from a slavery city in FFH2 might actually be higher than BTS, despite a 10% weaker food-->hammer conversion rate and significantly higher up-front investment. (We're not even talking about Calabim's breeding pits and governor's manors here. Slavery's fantastic with this setup.)

    This means that Slavery is a pretty good option still for civs that tend to be food-rich and hammer poor (Lanun, Malakim). Also, Philosophy/Way of the Wicked is on the way to Undercouncil and Corruption of Spirit, which leads to additional synergies. Terkhen modmod's Agrarian trait helps even more by providing an extra +1 :food: on a sanitation aristofarm, for example, and halving the price of granaries and smokehouses.

    ---

    All of the above doesn't take into account Slavery's side benefits. Free workers means free worker turns, which is a powerful (if unquantifiable) benefit. At the very worst, a slave can be rushed to produce +10 :hammers:, so basically every fight one of your units wins with the Slavery civic is worth +2.5 :hammers: at a minimum. Same logic applies to :gold: if the slave trade resolution is in.

    Then there's the direct military application, which has the most impact for the Doviello, the Balseraphs, and any civ that wants to follow Octopus Overlords (I'm looking at you, Hannah.)

    Slaves can be upgraded to a beastman for 10 gold if you're Mahala. Slaves can be upgraded to a warrior at a 50% chance using Balseraph's arena battle. This is a very cheap source of warriors, which Mahala can easily turn into better troops using her ingenuity trait. Since Perpentach gets 1-7 xp on a surviving warrior, he may want to pay the full price to turn the warrior into something good as well. (Remember Perpentach's UUs also can create slaves.)

    Finally, slaves can be upgraded to lunatics by any civ that has an asylum. They do not need to be following OO, they only need the asylum. The cost is 65 :gold: base, which produces a 7/4 metal-using, 120 hammer-value unit. Lunatics can be eventually upgraded to berserkers.

    So looking at it from Perpentach's perspective, the slavery civic means worst-case you are getting 2.5 :hammers: every time one of your units wins a fight. If you actually want a military unit, then you're getting 12.5 :hammers: thanks to the 50% chance to get a free warrior with a 1-7 xp bonus. Looking at it from Mahala or an OO (such as Lanun) civ's perspective, you are getting a free option to create a decent unit at a cheap price, so in addition to Slavery's whip food-->hammer conversion, you're getting free production directly in military units. (On a side note, Lanun, Bals and Doviello all start with Chaos mana. How about mutating all your slaves, upgrading the good ones, and production rushing/selling your bad ones?)

    ----

    A couple thoughts on traits. Expansive is the obvious one that synergizes with slavery, thanks to the half-price on granaries. I already mentioned Terkhen's agrarianism. Terkhen's Slaver trait adds a +15% chance to create a slave, so while it doesn't exactly synergize with Slavery, it simply stacks with it for a +40% chance. Finally, there's Ingenuity. I have written about the gold-powered economy before, and I'll be posting some further thoughts on the relationship between Slaver, Ingenuity, the EitB version of Financial, the aforementioned civs, Undercouncil, Slavery and Octopus Overlords in another thread. Also search various comments by doktarr and Horatius' Mahala game diary for more ideas on this point.

    ---

    Finally, I want to add a note about religion. I think it's interesting that Slavery can only be used by evil civs, and has noticeable synergies with all 3 evil religions. OO can upgrade slaves to lunatics, a direct military application. Ashen Veil is a force multiplier for Slavery's production advantages. Deception, which gives you Esus and Undercouncil, leads to Undercouncil's +25% chance to create a slave (in EitB), slave trade resolution (another +25% chance to create as well as buy and sell slaves), and gambling house resolution (higher happy cap for repeated whipping.)

    ---

    So in closing, Slavery isn't as good in FFH2 as it is in BTS right out of the gate. But I'd argue, that if you're an evil civ that is going to Way of Wicked anyway, Slavery is probably your best option out of the Labor category for a big part of the game, especially as you gradually put together the pieces that really makes this civic shine. These civs include Doviello, Balseraphs, Calabim, possibly Lanun and probably Sheiam. If you are playing one of these civs and you have Ingenuity, Slaver, Expansive, Agrarian, or Financial on your leader, you are off to the races!
     
  2. Qgqqqqq

    Qgqqqqq Chieftain

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    Problem: slavery costs a civic slot, especially apprenticeship at that part of the game, especially as you want to be in a farm economy this means you won't be getting free xp until theocracy (or FotT, but its hard to land that in most games).
    Just mentioning this because I'm finding it a big problem in my huge game (where I went for slavery with a vague thought on trying out the lunatic strategy of yours, trying out mimics instead :)) as it means units don't have mobility out of the gate.
    Bigger problem is the greatly increased building/settler costs relative to BTS, and higher tile yield.
     
  3. Ekolite

    Ekolite The Mighty Jungle

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    Very interesting analysis, I've always thought of slavery as a fairly powerful civic. I recall a game I once played with Mahala, the whole slaves into warriors strategy can be surprisingly strong.
     
  4. akatosh

    akatosh Chieftain

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    Agree with you on the apprenticeship point. Actually, what got me thinking was the fact that I use apprenticeship for most or all of the game with almost any civ--I was wondering if there was anything else that was viable in the Labor category.

    Now, if you are using any slave-based army production, you don't get the apprenticeship bonus anyway. So no starting Mobility 1 for your Sons of Asena or Lunatics regardless. Raiders becomes useful in this case, as does Haste, and Mahala has both. For Hannah and the lunatics, doktarr pointed out the load them on ships strategy, which fixes their low mobility and tendency to run off. Balseraphs will actually get a greater amount of free xp from the Arena battle than Apprenticeship. Calabim can feast. Another workaround is command posts in your main military production cities, if you're playing a modmod that merges GCs and GGs. Overall, it probably depends how heavily you are leaning on slaves to be upgraded into your mass troops.

    So I think for Balseraphs, Calabim, Lanun, and Doviello, Slavery's still a viable civic. Maybe not Sheaim though, they need the mobility 1 on unhasteable pyre zombies. In your game, are you building the Mimics or upgrading them from slave-->warriors?
     
  5. akatosh

    akatosh Chieftain

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    What do you mean by this?
     
  6. Qgqqqqq

    Qgqqqqq Chieftain

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    I’ve been upgrading freaks to mimics mostly, which is really useful for the decent promos. I could well end up using slaves, but my first wave were to defend against an attack from Malakim, and then we’ve had stasis ever since so I’ve just been caging all more slaves :/
    I may do it, but wouldn’t that cost like 160g each? Not sure my economy is good enough and/or its worth it.
    Buildings and settler costs, and by extension late game units (because this will only be unlocked later) are more expensive then BTS, which means that slavery as a form of whipping is a lot harder because it takes way more pop. Because tiles have greater yield, it can be less worthwhile to whip off, for example, 4 6bpt scientists. Something else I didn’t touch on is general lower happy limit to BTS.
     
  7. Doug Piranha

    Doug Piranha Chieftain

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    I'd only consider this stuff if I had already built the racial cage for the slave in every single city. +1 happy, +1 culture, +1 bard point is much better than a few hammers or coins. It's roughly equivalent to a Freak Show, so call it ~60 hammers.
     
  8. Qgqqqqq

    Qgqqqqq Chieftain

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    Is it though?
    I'm playing a balseraph game, and I've easily got happy room even before cages - bard points are irrelevant and I couldn't care less about culture in most cities. And thats with a farm economy and no conquest.
     
  9. akatosh

    akatosh Chieftain

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    Sure--that's why I said WORST-CASE, it's worth 2.5 hammers. Meaning, if you have no better use for the slaves, and there are plenty of better uses--worst case, you can poprush the slave to produce 10 hammers. Meaning if you're running Undercouncil, slavery, have the slave-trade resolution, and are fighting with a Taskmaster, every fight your units win means 1) 10 gold 2) 10 hammers 3) 50% of a warrior with 1-7 xp 4) a lunatic 5) a free low-power worker or 6) +1 happy +1 culture +1 bard GPP in a city. Take your pick of which one you like best.

    In any case, it's a lot of versatility coming from a civic.

    Actually, you can make the case that if you have Undercouncil and Taskmasters, you don't even need to sacrifice the civic category to produce slaves. Without it you still have a 75% chance, so you'd only keep Slavery if you wanted to poprush. With Terkhen's Slaver trait this goes up to 90%, or 65% for non-Bals players (no Taskmaster bonus.)

    Can anyone confirm if the slave trade resolution actually adds another +25% chance to create a slave, or does it just let you buy and sell slaves? Is there any way to change what resolutions have been passed in Worldbuilder?
     
  10. doktarr

    doktarr Chieftain

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    I run Slavery a whole lot, too.

    One benefit of slavery not mentioned here is using the whip to avoid starvation. This applies during blight, obviously, but it's also quite useful during conquest when a city comes out of rebellion but still has a ton of unhappiness. You're often going to lose a few citizens to starvation anyway, so the whip allows you to get a bunch of free hammers out of it.
     
  11. Samson

    Samson Warlord

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    I have just been hit by a REALLY bad case of blight. Am I right that it always occurs when the AC gets to 30? I think the best way to use slavery for this would be to severely whip BEFORE blight, as the unhealthy is based on city size. I had a size 45 "city of 1000 slums", and is knackered by blight.
     
  12. akatosh

    akatosh Chieftain

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    Yes to both--blight hits the first time you reach AC 30, and you should whip aggressively at 28/29 AC if you think it will hit 30 soon. Especially if you are running spiritual, it's worth revolting into slavery in order to turn that food stored in the form of population into production.
     
  13. UnforcedError

    UnforcedError Settler

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    Very interesting read, lots of food for thought, akatosh!

    In comparison to BtS's Slavery civic the initial investments are sky-high of course, both :science: and :hammers:-wise. While BW in BtS is unavoidable anyway, whether you want chops or better military, Philosophy or Way of the Wicked may or may not be on your desired tech route. Never thought about calculating in the chance for the free slave but you're right about adding that to the equation. In any case while Slavery in BtS is almost an automatic civic choice (at least on 98% of the maps) in FFH2 it feels a lot more dynamic, strongly map and leader (civ) dependent. Also, you only get the free slaves with constant warring (with most civs anyway), so your chosen strategy is another important aspect as well.

    @Samson: yes, an AC --> 30 is definitely the situation when you want to be in Slavery. Even cold whipping both a smokehouse and a granary at AC 29 is more effective than losing the same pop to the Blight of course. Unless you feel it gives you an unfair advantage over the AI, because the AI can't really handle the Blight yet.
     
  14. Qgqqqqq

    Qgqqqqq Chieftain

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    :lol:
    The AI can't handle anything in FFH, if you stop for that you can't use magic, raiders, hawks, heroes, mobility, collateral, targeted research, expansion, dotmapping or pretty well anything.
     
  15. UnforcedError

    UnforcedError Settler

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    Granted. :) Tholal did improve a lot on the base AI though. Especially spell usage and tech / unit building choices have come a long way ever since.
     

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