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Warfare and general tips

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by Syntax Error, Jul 13, 2012.

  1. Syntax Error

    Syntax Error Prince

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    Hi guys, I need help. I'm new to Civ 4 and I'd like to know a few things.

    Last game I played, I managed to settle only 3 cities (AI cut off the only route to a my expansion.)

    So a few questions:
    1. How do you conduct warfare? I just stacked a lot of units and flinged it to a nearby city until it succumbs to it.

    2. How many cities do you need to settle and how quick? In this last game, once the capital reached 3 pop, I built two settlers in quick succession.

    3. How to determine good City Placement? I just went with the computer's suggestions.

    4. What's the best VC to pursue in order to quickly learn most aspects of the game?

    Thanks!
     
  2. goldys_lackey

    goldys_lackey Hitler

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    Ignore the blue circles. You want to settle high yield resources the fastest. You want to settle within 1 tile of those resources. If convenient, you'll want to settle your first few cities on plains hills or ivory to get up and running faster.

    Resources you should settle, in order of preference:

    1. Wet corn, wet wheat, pigs
    2. Green sheep, wet rice
    3. Cows, dry wheat
    4. Fish
    5. Crabs, Clams
    6. Dry rice, wet bananas, wet sugar
    7. Other Calendar resources

    You will also need to settle at least one of iron, copper, horse, and ivory to build your army with. You also will want to settle fish faster if you can get going asap with a workboat in a different city. Gold, silver, stone, and marble should be settled according to how you want to structure your economy, and for resource trading / diplo purposes. But in general, you should focus on settling the high yield food tiles esp. in your first 6 cities or so.
     
  3. Seraiel

    Seraiel Deity

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    2400 BC is a good date for the 2nd city. 3rd one should follow shortly, not later than 2000 BC (due to massive-chopping and improved ressources) . I normally expand to 6-8 cities peacefully till 1500 BC. If I get blocked ealier, I go for Elepult-rush or rush with anything I can find at 1500 BC again. (Sometimes even 1800 BC, and one can have 20+ troops at that time and simply walk over a neighbour, chopping and good improved ressources again are the key, as whipping is. )
     
  4. vandermerwe

    vandermerwe Butt of many jokes

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    Weight of numbers won't ever hurt. But some basic rules to increase your chances... 1. Use units that are better at taking cities. Axemen or chariots are better than archers, for instance, in the early game. 2. Promote them accordingly when you can - City Raider for melee units and Combat for others is pretty sound. 3. Find out what units the enemy has and build at least some units that counter them. Chariots get a 100% bonus vs axemen, for instance, and spearmen get the same bonus vs mounted units. 4. If your opponent has only one source of copper / iron / horse / ivory, if possible make a detour to pillage it or the connecting road. They then have to build units that don't need these resources, which are much weaker until you get to longbowmen (at which point capturing cities becomes harder all round). 5. Most importantly, build a lot of siege units (catapults, trebuchets and later cannon) as soon as you can. Use them to reduce city defences to zero and then attack with them to cause collateral damage. You'll lose quite a few but it means your regular units can then clean up against weakened enemies.

    6 is reckoned to be the minimum on normal speed (as it's the minimum needed to build some of the national wonders). Not having Seraiel's superhuman skills, I normally aim to have built at least those 6 by 500BC, or 1AD if I've been busy conquering others instead. I'd also normally grow my capital to pop 4 before switching to settlers: after a worker (which should almost always be the first thing you build) building warriors / archers while growing to that size gives you enough units to escort your settlers. But I'd then use either forest chopping and/or whipping under slavery to get settlers out quickly. If you build them normally there's a risk of the AI expanding ahead of you while your capital stagnates.

    Resources, esp. food resources, are the key here as goldys_lackey has said. Also something to be said for boxing in your neighbours if you can, but not at the cost of building a weak city that will be under cultural pressure (eg next to an AI capital or holy city). And the importance of resources also means the importance of workers to connect and improve them. Build lots, and use them.

    If VC = victory condition, I'm not sure there's any one that's better. On the lowest levels just mastering the basics will give you pretty much any victory you choose; certainly domination, space or time victories should be straightforward after a bit of practice. Diplo and culture need at least a bit of conscious effort in cultivating friends and in city management, respectively. Maybe try to get one of each type before moving up a level. Religious victory is so cheesy that I wouldn't bother (and never have).

    Finally, if you haven't already, read, memorise and implement Sisiutil's introductory strategy guide. Written pre-BTS but still full of very sound advice for beginners.
     
  5. lymond

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

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    Good advice above. Definitely read Sisiutil's guide that vander just linked above. It provides some good basics that will improve your game dramatically (but ignore the 60% slider rule).

    Note that Serial is a master of Marathon speed so his 8 cities by 1500bc is a bit skewed generally since you have more wiggle room at that speed. 8 cities on normal speed by that date is possible, but is dependent on several factors. 6-8 cites by 1AD is a good benchmark by 1AD. 6 cites is a recommended minimum since it allows for National Wonders. However, note that land is also power, so general expand peacefully or forcefully as much as your economy allows unless going for Culture VC, in which case you only need 6 to 9 cities.

    Just a bit of advice on warfare - specifically early game. Before Construction (catapults), hit hard and fast. Use the element of surprise but bring sufficient units. Axe or mounted is the best approach early. For mounted, practice tactics and scout out metals. Mounted warfare, especially Horse Archers, is highly effective if done right. Speed is key here. If going mounted, stick to mounted.
     
  6. Kallikrates

    Kallikrates Prince

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    More than 4 cities before 1500 BC on *normal speed* is only possible if you skip all early wonders, have very good land fitting your starting techs (and with lots of forests) and go risky with only a few military units.
    If you go for an early rush on a close neighbour, you might found less than 5 cities in the whole game, often rushing after settling your second city.
    No matter whether you are expanding by settling or by conquering 6-8 cities around 1 AD is a good benchmark, but quality and size of them is of course also an important factor.
    When expanding it is usually a good idea to try to "block" the AI by settling close to them and keep some space in between or at fringes where no one is likely to settle early.
     
  7. Pangaea

    Pangaea Rock N Roller

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    One point that has been mentioned here, at least in passing, is the early rapid increase in city maintenance costs. Apparently this rises exponentially in the beginning, according to something I read the other day. That's why it's wise to stay at about max 6 cities until your economy can handle further expansion (often meaning getting Currency). When you then hit the limit of this wild growth (8 cities at Deity I think), the graph flattens out a lot more and it isn't so expensive to expand further.

    This can be offset somewhat by the warchest you get from conquering cities, but in most cases it's sensible to limit yourself to about 6 cities until your economy can handle further expansion.

    Here is the graph about it, from this very good read of an excellent Sushi game
     
  8. coanda

    coanda Emperor

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    #-of-cities maintenance is not increasing exponentially, it's increasing quadratically (doubling #-of-cities quadruples the cost, tripling the number raises cost nine-fold). And it will increase until you hit the maximum per-city upkeep, which is based on cost and not number of cities (you never pay more than 5 gpt per city in #-of-cities upkeep on Noble, or more than 8 on Deity). You basically can't hit that cap before at least a dozen cities, so the plateau is really just helping coast to victory after you already have a winning position.

    As far as how many cities you should have... for a new player, I'd say aim for at least 2 cities by turn 50, and at least one more city every 20 turns after that.* If you can get them and pay for them, more than that is fine of course. I'd just say if you're expanding slower than that, you're being too conservative.

    With a little more experience in the game mechanics, 6 cities by 0 AD is a commonly accepted minimum benchmark (more aimed at Monarch+ players, not Noble players). And if you're on a larger map size or slower game speed, even that is low for what you can and should be getting with a handful of games under your belt.
     
  9. Pangaea

    Pangaea Rock N Roller

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    It seems I misunderstood this a bit then, and drew in the MaxNumCities variable in the wrong fashion. But is it also incorrect what is illustrated in the picture that city maintenance costs raise a great deal (exponentially or quadratically is both sharp, let's not split hairs here) in the beginning and that is why it makes sense to limit expansion in the early phases of the game until your economy can take the hit?

    Sorry for dragging this a bit off (or sideways) topic. But it's also a bit difficult to answer general questions like the ones you ask. Using a lot of siege, like 50% of the stack, is an okay measuring stick, or rule of thumb. But every situation may require something different. Havnig said that, in the early game you will often go to war with either Axes, Chariots, Horse Archers or early UUs Immortals, Quechuas, etc). Later on when you get siege, it's often crucial to first bomb away culture defence and then 'suicide' catas/trebuchets/cannons on deenders to cause collateral damage. That means your main stack will more or less walk into the city and take it with few or no losses after the siege has done it job.

    At least some of these issues will be tackled in articles that are to come out in the future, so hopefully you will get some relevant advice in there. Good advice above though, so keep that very much in mind. There are also many good articles about some of these issues in the War Academy, which you find from the drop down list at the top of the page.
     
  10. coanda

    coanda Emperor

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    There's a lot of reasons to be cautious about early expansion.
    Civic upkeep has two components - population-based and number of cities based. The pop-based component is free until 8-12 empire pop (depending on what branch of civics), which means it doesn't really kick in until your third city. So you see a minor rise in additional upkeep costs as you grow your third/fourth cities, due to increased civic upkeep simply because your empire pop is increasing beyond the "free" stage.
    Your later cities are generally settled on weaker sites; it may be worth paying quite a bit to get a wheat + FPs + 2x gold city, but not for a city with dry rice, some river, and jungle almost everywhere.
    But the major reason is, as you say, #-of-cities maintenance. To be more precise about it... the marginal cost of one more city is roughly* 0.35*(2N+1), where N is your current number of cities. Going from 3 to 4 means losing about 2.5gpt; going from 6 to 7 means about 4.5gpt (in addition to whatever distance-based and civic-based upkeep costs you may be adding). The "Conqueror's Plateau" doesn't start really kicking in until you have well over a dozen cities, so it's generally unattainably far off in the early game.

    *On Standard sized maps, Emperor to Deity difficulty, give or take 25%, assuming most of your cities are relatively small (size 4-8). #-of-cities maintenance is about 2/3 as much on Huge maps, and about 3/2 as much on Duel maps; drops about 5% with each difficulty level dropped.
     
  11. Syntax Error

    Syntax Error Prince

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    I can't seem yto figure out how to grow my city. Happiness is always an issue with me... I always seem to start without much luxury resources with me. How do I get happiness? I usually get up to about 10 pop, but that's with Nationhood and with a Charismatic(the one with Monument Happiness?) leader.
     
  12. Um the Muse

    Um the Muse King

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    There's an article on the War Academy on the ways to get happiness. The most important one is resources. This is an empire wide bonus that you can get for either owning the resource or trading for it. The early ones are: ivory (needs a camp (hunting) and will eventually let you build War Elephants, one of the best units in the game), gems (is found on terrain with food), gold, silver, and furs. Each except furs should be fairly high priority.

    You can extend resource bonuses by building certain infrastructure: forges will give you up to +3 :) for having gems, gold, and/or silver, markets can give you IIRC +5 :) for ivory and certain luxury resources (mostly calendar stuff, though), theaters can give you +1 :) for dye, and cathedral type buildings will give you +1 :) for incense. Which, if any are worth building depends on what resources you have and what else you have going on, but remember that markets and cathedrals are very expensive for a good portion of the game.

    Since you're new to the game, I wouldn't recommend moving the culture slider once you have it, so ignore that part when considering colosseums and theaters.

    Lastly, there's the Hereditary Rule (HR) civic. Each military unit in a city, no matter how weak, will give you +1:). Careful with this one, it's easy to waste a lot of production building unnecessary troops. There are a lot of tips to using this right, though, because it is a powerful civic. Here are two of them. First of all, all cities need something to protect the city, even if it's a lone warrior. So in a way, switching to HR gives you one freebie. Your capital tends to have the best land (especially if you're going to use Bureaucracy eventually, which you should), so you should put some extra troops there.
     
  13. Syntax Error

    Syntax Error Prince

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    Ok, so I think I'm finally getting the hang of this.

    Used Boudica on a Standard Pangaea, Normal Pace, Noble. I managed to Gallic Rush my closest neighbor, England. She was the first victim because, hey Religion and I hate heathens. Managed to found Buddhism and Confucianism as well.

    After wiping her off the map, I took some time off and just researched and built. I now have macemen and am on my way to conquering Gandhi. Started a war with him on Turn 150.

    Stuff I found out:
    1. Religion = Science
    2. Religion = Happiness
    3. Whipping hapless civilians is a great way to catch up. Just settle on high food areas and whip to your leisure. Is it just me, or do you have to invest one turn before whipping?
    4. Cottages on lands without fresh water. Do so even after Civil Service.
    5. Never forget to road up on resources
    6. Hammers are not nearly as important as food (Cuz of the All Mighty Whip!)

    Future plan is to wipe out Gandhi to secure my area, then just go on ahead and coast to a Space ship victory (even if I can dominate the whole continent). Elizabeth and Gandhi, btw are BFF's. so there's that.

    Is it just me or do I need to build roads everywhere?

    EDIT:
    How do I make the AI friendly with me?
    Are there any penalties to having multiple religions?
     
  14. Al Capone

    Al Capone Warrior

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    I think you can't really do it in another way. But make sure you got siege weapoons like catapults, triboks, cannons, etc.
    In the very beginning of the game, you can also just stack warriors and attack. Works quite fine too. In my last game I destroyed two civs with warriors only (they only had their capital by then). This was on warlord difficulty.

    As quickly as possible. Cities are your key to success. "As possible" here means that you should not let your science budget fall under 60%. The absolute min is 50%.

    It depends on what you want your city to be. Cities can either overwhelmingly productive or wealthy. So if there's something like gems around you, its predestined to become a productive city. If there's a bunch of hills, it's predestined to become productive. Consider the effects of resources here.
    In any case you need some tiles which can feed your population. Your city must grow in order to work tiles and be worthy anything at all.
     
  15. rah

    rah Deity Supporter

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    I like to build cities near AI caps and holy cities. You can rush with fewer units since they'll have fewer turns to respond. If I can sneak a city in on the diagonal you can be on the defending city in two turns. Maybe one extra unit gets whipped and extra defenders are still en route. And your settled city will have already put some culture out to take up the slack.
     
  16. Syntax Error

    Syntax Error Prince

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    One more thing. Are forests made to be chopped or is it worth it to wait for Lumber Mills?
     
  17. Zx Zero Zx

    Zx Zero Zx Deity

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    Lumber Mills are an awful improvement. All forests are made for chopping, and chopping is what you should do.
     
  18. coanda

    coanda Emperor

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    You might save forests around one city (usually one of your later ones) for a National Park city with Forest Preserves. Late in the game if you conquer a city that has tundra-forest tiles, those may be worth putting a lumbermill on instead of just chopping (or they may not; depends on what else the city has). You may temporarily not chop forests around a city which is dealing with health issues, and may hold off on chopping forests if you're planning on chopping something specific and big further down the line.

    Besides those exceptions, if you have the worker turns for it you should be chopping (and if you don't... consider getting more workers).
     

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