[BTS] What are some of the basics of winning a Cultural victory? I've never won one

Leathaface

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Is it about building buildings that give culture as soon as they become available and getting Great Artists? I feel stupid when I say i've well over 1000 hours in Civ IV but i've never won a culture victory, I just never looked into how it is done.
 

rah

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Yes, having enough cities to spread the religions so you can build the special buildings for each religion in each of your three target culture cities.
Generating lots of Great artists. And culture wonders. Maybe an academy to help you get the last few techs you need faster. Any other GPs used for golden ages to speed up Great artist production. Use the culture slider.

There is a way to do it using espionage but I always screw that one up so I'll leave it to an expert to explain.
 

lymond

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I'm linking the strategy article by jesusin below that provides a nice in-depth guide to the cultural victory. jesusin was great Civ IV player who had a particular affinity for the culture game and achieving optimal culture victories. This article should give you a great foundation for success on any level. I used it when I first started going for CVs.

https://forums.civfanatics.com/threads/cultural-victory-on-the-higher-levels.298093/

I'd also add, and I believe jesusin discusses this somewhere in there, that basically a culture game will consist of two or three phases....expansion, research, culture. You are not really going to use the culture slider until all all your multipliers are in place. Then you rock out on culture.

Also, I don't think he talks much about leaders. Of course, you can win CV with any leader just like you can with any other VC, but there are a few leaders that work well for CVs, namely:

Gandhi (honestly just about any Philo leader works well, but Spiritual is a nice trait for to have for cheap temples)

Rams (Nice combo of Spiritual for cheap temples and Industrious for wonders, which include those unique religion wonders, i.e., Cathedrals)

Elizabeth ( Not Spiritual, but fantastic trait combo for culture - Philo for getting GAs and Financial for cottages)

So top culture traits are Philo, Financial, Spiritual and Industrious...the other traits are inconsequential other than their relative bonuses to general gameplay. So basically a leader with one or a combo of those 4 traits will be nice for CV. Philo and FIN being the strongest.

A few other interesting leaders are:

Pericles (note: Creative itself is actually pretty irrelevant for culture victory but here you have cheap theatres AND the unique Greek Odeon which also allows two artists. Plus, Peri is Philo)

Zara (traits are irrelevant but the Stele is interesting. I don't think I've actually tried Zara for CV but it would be interesting to see how the Stele would impact things. The +25% bonus over time will just get bigger and bigger)

Qin (Industrious always good for CV. Here though the Chinese unique building, the Pavilion, also has that +25% bonus to culture. That is quite a lot. Again, not sure I recall trying him for CV but would be interesting play. In Qin's case, a might actually try wonder whoring in the 3 L cities + Pavilion as opposed to just only building those typical marble wonders good for CV)

Lastly, just for perspective, since you haven't really played CV, in a typical game/map you are going to get tons of culture per turn in the later stages just from developed cottages and sliders. Massive amounts of culture. Point is that things like Creative trait are just a drop in the bucket compared to where the real culture comes from, which is why it is an insignificant trait for CV. But further, this applies to other things like just building any wonders for some culture. Really you want those specific wonders that directly boost culture victory success..think Sistine Chapel..and generally any of the wonders that produce GA points. (and..yeah..marble is very nice to have for CV)

Great Artists will be produced en masse for bombing cities. Save them though > do the math> and bomb cities as needed. Usually your main L city (one with Hermitage and usually your Bureau cap) serves as the gauge so to speak on the timing of your victory, but all 3 cities should complete L by almost the same turn.

Typically, research shuts off completely after Lib>Nationalism with maybe Printing Press being the last helpful tech for the boost to cottages.

edit: additional thoughts regarding diplo and combat...

diplo - Diplomacy is generally very important in CV..unless for whatever reason you are isolated for much of the game. If this is a weak aspect of your game, CV is actually a great time to improve your diplo skills. As a whole you want to avoid wars, especially in the latter stages when research is shut off and, depending on difficulty, the AIs will likely surpass you quite a lot in advanced military.

Combat - Again, combat and wars are generally avoided. However, what one might do in CV, if the opportunity is there, is conduct an early rush of some sort to nab some AI capitals. Generally, there caps will be well suite to one of the 3 L cities. For instance, take Rams, his war chariots could be of good use early to knock out a couple of nearby AIs and nab their caps at least. Otherwise, you will likely go most of the game with only a minimal army, mainly just MP. For one reason, you don't have time to build units and second you want to keep maintenance as low as possible to keep culture slider high..ideally 100%.

On a low level CV attempt, say Prince or below, I would definitely take out a couple of neighbors. Possibly simply using a warrior rush.
 
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ArchGhost

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I kind of suck at cultural, but in general:

You can usually get one city to hit Legendary through raw culture from buildings/wonders if you wonder-whore in that spot, and you won't even need to artist bomb this spot. So clearly IND is a winner trait for the victory condition especially if you access to the proper wonder resources (stone, marble, etc). In this case the wonders themselves are more important than stacking other buildings, especially if you grab them early as possible (Stonehenge doubles to +16 raw culture after 1000 years, Mids/GLH/Colossus go to +12, Parthenon goes to +20, etc).

IND also helps make sure you're the one to grab Sistine which enhances everything down the line when you're building temples and running artists for GAs. This city does NOT have to be the capitol, but it often it is because of the headstart it gets toward progressing wonders. You can always move the Palace later into another spot (such as the Hermitage spot if you plan on using Bureau instead of Free Speech for an earlier run on the victory).

The other two cities more typically rely on commerce and the culture slider along with stacking religious/culture buildings. In a general sense, one should have the Hermitage and the other will be fed most of the Great Artists you generate over time, though nearing the end you just bomb whichever city needs the most help. You can even just run as many Artists in the NE city as you can and keep bombing it while the Hermitage city is developed as a cottage center.

It's really important to get at least a couple religions and the proper amount of cities to build the cathedrals for those. On standard map size you'll need 6 cities and a temple in each of them in order to build the 3 cathedrals in your target Legendary cities. If you can get more cities it can be easier as you don't have to necessarily have all the temples in all the same cities, especially if you are stacking more religions like 3 or 4 instead of just 2.

Make sure your diplomacy is up to snuff so you can make nice and deflect aggression. For this reason playing a SPI leader helps out (the cheaper temples aren't unwelcome either). Funnily enough, playing for culture victory often makes it easier to win AP diplo victories, they have some overlap.
 

rah

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I thought you needed 3 temples for each Cathedral, so 9 cities is the optimal.
 

Fippy

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I thought you needed 3 temples for each Cathedral, so 9 cities is the optimal.
Optimal for the Reli stuff yup, but in every culture game i played it became unrealistic anyways (having so many temples & Cath).

Caste + Paci was too important, and GArtists a much bigger boost, without slavery or focus on hammers cities were too slow with getting all those buildings up. Oh and also settlers.
 

rah

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Yeah, I usually end up with only 6 myself unless really isolated. I probably delay it a few turns staying in slavery, but you might get those turns back on the back end.
 

s.bernbaum

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Also build monasteries as soon as you can. They are relatively cheap for 2 culture per turn and are available early in the game. Those culture points add up over time and if you build them early, you also get the doubling bonus in their culture output eventually.
 

krikav

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Also build monasteries as soon as you can. They are relatively cheap for 2 culture per turn and are available early in the game. Those culture points add up over time and if you build them early, you also get the doubling bonus in their culture output eventually.
14 culture per turn if you manage to get sistine chapel.
 

lymond

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i'm not totally discounting monasteries here, but the thing one has to consider is that the priority on hammers will go toward enabling and getting culture multipliers in place (i.e. temples, missionaries and cathedrals plus certain wonders and Herm), but the huge bulk of culture comes from the commerce and the culture slider. Monastery culture even double is a drop in the bucket to what you earn once you pump full culture with established cottages. We're talking hundreds and hundreds of cpt. Not too mention Great Artists for culture bombs.

A well-planned Hermitage Cap with Cathedrals can earn close to a 1000 cpt or thereabouts. You may also have a well cottaged 2nd and 3rd L cities, though likely just the 2nd city is cottaged and the 3rd is the gp farm running sistine artists, and likely gets most of the bombs.
 

krikav

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Mostly just me who had a recent experience with monesteries (built a few of them early on in the recent NC217 game, because I was limping toward writing after a REX, and I had culture pressure to deal with, so it made a whole lot of sense.
I had no idea that the sistine bonus added +10 to a old monestery prior to this experience. :)

Even with that spicy city with 18-20 towns running full culture 150-200 commerce, give or take, a early built monetery (of the chosen state religion) is adding more than 5%, and thats in the burst state toward the end.
Haven't looked at the numbers, but if you get it built early, it got to have been accumulated enough culture to save some turns too.

But building monesteries for anything but your prime religion, well, that feels just like nonsense. :)
 

Lennier

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Sistine adds 5 :culture: per turn to religious buildings of your state religion. That gets doubled for “old” buildings.
 

FlyinJohnnyL

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I've never tried it (not a big CV guy myself), but I do love the Earth 18 civs map. It seems like this could be done fairly easily by the Inca.
 
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