What are your Civilization IV unpopular opinions?

Discussion in 'Civ4 - General Discussions' started by Ita Bear, Jul 22, 2021.

  1. Ita Bear

    Ita Bear Warlord

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2020
    Messages:
    105
    Civilization IV is a game that allows a wide variety of playstyles and, over the years, different schools of thought have appeared in regards to how best to play the game. That said, some opinions are more unpopular than others. What are your unpopular opinions and strategies for playing the game? I'll get started with a couple of suggestions that I have sometimes seen regarded as poor or "useless", though bear in mind I am not a Deity player:

    1. Stonehenge is a good wonder (with important caveats). For Creative leaders, I agree it is useless. For non-Creative leaders, building the wonder essentially conveys a mini-Creative trait, and the hammer cost can be easily recouped in a middling-size empire. It allows greater flexibility in settling spots, gives culture defence against opponents and helps stabilise newly conquered cities. For Charismatic leaders, it's even better as it allows an extra citizen to work the land.

    2. Aggressive is a pretty good trait. Half-price barracks are ok, but the free promotion guarantees you the edge in equal fights. However, the main benefit comes from promotions. Having Combat I free allows quick specialisation and immediately opens up the medic path. With a barracks built, your units should consistently have the edge.

    3. Iron Working isn't as bad as some folk make out. I have seen it argued that the player should NEVER research IW, which I think is a silly restriction. On tropical maps or jungle-heavy starts, or with an absence of copper, or being Rome, or even being isolated, there is a strong case to prioritise IW. It's a heavy investment, but watching good city sites lay dormant under jungle is painful. If two or more Dyes/Gems cities are achieveable with IW and jungle chops, I would argue the investment is repaid.

    I'm sure there will be discussion and arguments. :D I am interested to hear your take and what you personally consider an unpopular opinion or strategy.

    Kind regards,
    Ita Bear
     
    Kaiman, jnebbe and migalhone like this.
  2. lymond

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

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2008
    Messages:
    22,859
    Stonehenge - The problem with Henge lies primarily in opportunity cost. At a critical stage in the game where expansion is the key to winning, sinking hammers into a Wonder that is really not needed is detrimental to optimal play. On high levels you are likely not to get it anyway except with a heavy push like chopping, and/or IND trait. Still those chops should be going towards workers/settlers. I'm not saying I never build it, but usually at most I use it for a little fail gold early game. If one is not Creative, the simple approach is to settle cities such that you don't need border pops, or if you really need a monument then chop it quick...they are very cheap.

    Aggressive - I agree with your points here. I don't think Aggressive is a bad trait. It just pales in comparison to some other much stronger traits. I actually like the cheap barracks, especially as Shaka. But anyway, the Combat I promo can really help with early game rushes, and the bonus on warriors provides a bit better barb defense.

    Iron Working - Never is a strong word, and I think most would not use the word when talking about teching IW - there's always exceptions to every rule when it comes to this game. On lower levels, you sometimes just have to do it yourself if you really need it cause you can't wait around for the AIs. On high levels, IW is so easy to trade for and keeping a focused tech path is hugely important so that you can trade techs. IW is a heavy investment early when beakers are low. Rome is a different matter. An early commerce resource can really help though if you really need a fast IW. Jungle really is not a good argument for this case, as it often better to avoid jungle areas as much as possible. Let the AI settle it and use there worker turns on it than attack them later. At some point if you look to settle some jungle areas you will have IW anyway, and likely the worker turns to spare. Regardless, early game you want your first cities to be as productive as possible as fast as possible, and jungle spots are very hard to to get productive.

    (by the way, one "general" topic I've been thinking about lately that might make an interesting thread, is little nitpicks/annoyances when playing the game. )
     
    migalhone and Snowygerry like this.
  3. civac

    civac Prince

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2010
    Messages:
    359
    Aggressive is not terrible the way PRO is. It's just that every other trait except PRO is stronger.

    Stonehenge is good with certain terrain. Lots of second ring sea food and other difficult settling locations can make it quite strong. It's second use is to generate a shrine for one of the three early religions. Problem is both the AI and humans tend to build it too early.
     
    Orion Pax likes this.
  4. drewisfat

    drewisfat King

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2011
    Messages:
    648
    Well that's a good lead into my unpopular opinion :)

    PRO > AGG = ORG *for my purposes of not losing on deity
    And IMP is a darn good trait that isn't in the same universe as these three.


    Justification: I'm not using 1-dimensional melee unit comps ever (sans UUs). Really only using stock melee with catapults, which do the heavy lifting, (and even then replacing with elepult if available). Half priced barracks is the only consistent benefit and that's really only significant with an HA rush (or Shaka). I'd rather have PRO with HAs. Since HAs require archery, I'm going to get a few archers out before HAs. There's also synergy with the way I like to attack with HAs, which is to not defend with them. I like to get the enemy stack to go on the offense against me and then swoop in with HAs, while PRO archers + cheap walls hold off their stack long enough. Alternatively against a squish opponent, archers will just reinforce cities as I take them.
    In the event of a very early DoW from a Shaka-type, I'm not going to build barracks in response, even cheap barracks, and AGG will only help if I had copper hooked up. If I had copper hooked up there's probably not a big threat anyways. A couple PRO archers or a quick wall can save the game though. AGG warriors are useful against barbs early, but in a really bad barb situation that requires archery, PRO will outperform, so I consider that a wash. ORG is a win-more mechanic that only situationally helps get there if lighthouses are appropriate.
     
    Orion Pax and migalhone like this.
  5. civac

    civac Prince

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2010
    Messages:
    359
    As mentioned by Ita Bear the real upside of AGG is to get certain promotions others cannot reach. Shock with barracks only, Formation/Amphibious with Vassalage or Theocracy. The real killer application are Commando infantry/marines off the shelf in your HE city with a mere 3 generals. These can and do end games vs humans.
     
  6. migalhone

    migalhone Monarch wannabe

    Joined:
    May 26, 2013
    Messages:
    213
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Portugal
    My 2 cents:

    1) Stonehenge might be more useful for CHA leaders than non-CHA leaders but i don't think it's all that great. Early game some cities don't have more than 4 good workable tiles. A bit useful for CHA leaders, not so much for the others. For border pops you can also spread religion, work an Artist under Caste System, build a library or settle a Great Scientist to build an Academy.

    2) AGG sure is a nice trait, surely a bit underrated by some. Barracks being half-priced makes it so when playing AGG leaders i'll happily put :hammers: into barracks because i'll have nothing better to build, early game. However, when playing as a non-AGG leader i have to be more picky deciding which cities, if any, get to build a barracks.

    3) I play standard setting games on Prince/Monarch level. It's not uncommon to find myself playing a map where most green land is under jungle tiles, alongside :) resources and riverside tiles. On Prince/Monarch i find myself having to self-tech Iron Working, as you can't really rely on the AI to tech that in time for your own purposes. Also, sometimes i don't have Copper or Horses in my starting area, so i have to settle Iron as soon as possible.

    A few personal (and possibly unpopular) opinions of my own, from my experience playing as Prince/Monarch level:

    4) Most AIs fail to expand as fast as you, so more land is available both for you to settle and for barbs to spawn. The IMP trait is very good to get those settlers out to fill the land without needing to whip/chop, AGG stronger units and cheaper barracks, as well as PRO with it's powered-up Archers makes dealing with barbs easier. I also would love to have a "Patrol" function, so that i could put units looping from tile X to tile Y.

    5) Resourceless and unique units become better if you don't reroll maps where you simply have no strategic resources, or you somehow don't settle them before the AIs does: Sitting Bull with his Dog Soldiers, Saladin with his Camel Archers, Hammurabi and his Bowman, Huyan Capac with his Quechuas jump to my mind.

    6) Self founding a religion sometimes is necessary, in order to avoid building culture buildings to pop borders, because the AI spreads religion in a slower pace. I often fail to capitalize on Organized Religion, Theocracy and Pacifism because i've gambled on the AI to spread religion to my cities but they fail at it and i have 2-3 religions, each present only on 1-2 cities. I'm also bad at using the SPI trait to my advantage. Both of these points may just be me being mediocre at diplomacy though.

    7) This was mentioned earlier but i have to point this out: you can't really rely on the AI to tech at a reasonable pace (AIs like Mansa Musa, Willem and Darius are exceptions) so you'll have to self-tech a lot, which forces you to follow different paths. This is not a bad thing of course, but for lurkers like me it means i have to "forget" some tips and good pratices from higher level players here.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2021
  7. 6K Man

    6K Man Bureaucrat

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2007
    Messages:
    2,345
    Location:
    in a Gadda Da Vida
    Optimal play is less fun.

    The Gold resource is overrated.

    MapFinder = Worldbuilder
     
    Kaiman likes this.
  8. pi-r8

    pi-r8 Luddite

    Joined:
    May 1, 2006
    Messages:
    2,527
    Location:
    Babylon
    I think people (on this site especially) go too far in metagaming the AI. They've figured out all its weaknesses, and ruthlessly exploit them. Things like:
    • Beg for 1 gold so they can't declare war on you
    • Sign a cease fire just to heal your wounded troops, then immediately declare war again
    • Using spies to change civics to make AIs dislike each other
    • Gifting a really crappy city just so the AI will love you
    Then they complain that the AI is stupid! C'mon, you're playing against a silly computer program, what do you want? You should give it a little slack if you want a fair challenge. None of those tricks would work *at all* against a human opponent. If you want a tougher AI, just stop doing those things.
     
    Kaiman, jmas and Orion Pax like this.
  9. konata_LS

    konata_LS Warlord

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2021
    Messages:
    159
    Agree with AGG. AGG is not useless, though it's often less powerful than FIN or PHI. AGG has advantages in some cases, especially when there is an opportunity for an early rush.

    About the SH... I rarely build SH, mainly because I don't like its :gp: pollution. When I badly need a GScientist to bulb Education or a GMerchant to upgrade my units, a GProphet at 20% probability is the least great person I want.

    I initially thought only on lower difficulties people need to self-tech IW while on Deity it's easy to get IW via trade. But the recent two ALC at Strategy/Tips subforum happened to be Isolation on Deity, and they changed my old opinion about IW: in Isolation maps, even on Deity, people have to self-tech IW, because IW is required for Compass - Optics.

    My unpopular opinion would be I value Fishing more than Myst among the 6 starting techs :lol:. I mean - we need to research Myst or get it through trade at some point of the game, but it's not something that I want at T0. For example, in a coastal start with Fish resources, Vicky or Hannibal (Mining+Fishing) can start a WB on T0 and soon benefits from 5 :food:3:commerce: of FIN coastal fish, but Wang Kon (Mining + Myst) has to wait longer for the early growth and commerce. Personally, Myst is my least favourite starting tech; even Fishing would be better than Myst. But I understand Myst has its fans and many people would argue Myst has some advantages, or Fishing ruins the Engineering bulbing :).

    @migalhone
    Agree with you about AI's tech pace on Prince/Monarch. Sometimes we have to self-tech most things (luckily, techs are not expensive on these levels), because many AIs tech slowly at these levels. In one of my games on Prince, all the 3 AIs in my continent refused to research Monarchy even in 500AD, so in 500AD I (with the whole continent) had to stay at Despotism :crazyeye:.

    Failgold is strong at IMM+, but unstable at Prince/Monarch. Sometimes failgold comes quite early, but sometimes we start Parthenon in 300 BC and get failgold in 800AD. So, the more reliable methods on this difficulty level to solve economic problem are simply to cottage, to build wealth (after Currency), to sell techs, or to adopt Caste (after CoL) and generate a GMerchant.
     
    jmas, Orion Pax and migalhone like this.
  10. Drakarska

    Drakarska Epic Dadness

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2010
    Messages:
    2,586
    Location:
    Twilight Zone
    I usually play modded, and on huge plus maps at epic + or greater speeds. Also with raging barbs checked.
    Archery is a wasted tech... Exception= the above parameters. I've lost track of how many games I've played where Civs got spanked by barbs. I've had a few close calls myself with losing some cities until I could get Copper or Iron connected. There's always a caveat to the rules somewhere, based on how the game is set up.
     
    migalhone likes this.
  11. jnebbe

    jnebbe Warlord

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2019
    Messages:
    185
    Gender:
    Male
    1: Colossus slaps, lets coastal cities be profitable working coastal tiles that don't require worker turns and can easily be whipped away when needed

    2: Vassals aren't fun, feels cheap to win using them and too easily lets an ai snowball

    3: AP is an awful wonder that can disrupt the game too much while adding nothing meaningful


    Regarding IW, man it can be tempting. I see all that juicy grassland underneath but have to remember it will take literal eons to clear it out
     
    Orion Pax and migalhone like this.
  12. lymond

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

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2008
    Messages:
    22,859
    I'd not classify that particular point as unpopular :)
     
    jnebbe and migalhone like this.
  13. Tonny

    Tonny King

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2011
    Messages:
    755
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Netherlands
    AP is wonderful. Some nice games can be played when you can leverage its strength.
     
  14. migalhone

    migalhone Monarch wannabe

    Joined:
    May 26, 2013
    Messages:
    213
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Portugal
    But it is so... obnoxious! The UN is more believable because of the modern tech communications and military possibilities. The AP is dumb. If i don't have a single city with the APs religion then i should not be stopped in a war or forced to declare one.
     
    Kaiman likes this.
  15. AcaMetis

    AcaMetis Emperor

    Joined:
    May 21, 2018
    Messages:
    1,308
    Gender:
    Male
    If not a single city in your empire has the AP religion you're a non-member, meaning you're not a part of the AP at all. The only resolutions that apply to you in that case are the "declare war against the infidel" ones...with you being the infidel...

    My issue with AP (and UN for that matter) is that it's always all or nothing, and the only way it can be nothing is if you raze the city the wonder was build in. There's no option to opt out, no need to have any sort of strength or army to actually back up any of those words, and unless you're the one flinging around magical peace treaties or city re-assignments like a wizard kid in a candy shop there's not enough incentive to bother with that whole mess. If you gave me the option I'd trade in those +2:hammers: on religious buildings for not having to bother with the AP at all every single time, and that's a good(-ish) offer. The UN offers absolutely nothing on it's own, the only straight benefit is +1 trade routes if the single currency resolution passes. Everything else is just forced bad civics, banning nukes and maybe some forced peace treaties.

    I can see why it's designed the way it is, if it required a dominant position to use it's only use would be to make a dominant player even more dominant, but it's currently implementation as a global mind-control centre that people can't quite figure out how to use is just...not good.
     
    migalhone likes this.
  16. civac

    civac Prince

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2010
    Messages:
    359
    I don't understand what you are talking about. You can defy the resolutions.
     
    migalhone and Fippy like this.
  17. Fippy

    Fippy Mycro Junkie Queen

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2013
    Messages:
    11,990
    Gender:
    Female
    Very true, AP is rarely problematic.
    At that point we can use the culture slider if unhappy becomes significant, so ofc defy unacceptable resolutions.

    I only have a problem with AP if winning the game becomes too easy, which happens very often (if we want).
    AP = easy win wonder.
     
    sampsa and migalhone like this.
  18. TheBirdMan

    TheBirdMan Chieftain

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2018
    Messages:
    69
    Gender:
    Male
    Sure you can defy the resolutions.

    And get a number of "red faces" in those of your cities, that have the same religion as the one ruling the AP.

    Become a socalled "Villian".


    Edit and added:

    And if you play the RI-mod with revolutions turned ON, then those cities soon will be on the edge of revolting against you.
     
    migalhone likes this.
  19. migalhone

    migalhone Monarch wannabe

    Joined:
    May 26, 2013
    Messages:
    213
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Portugal
    Well it seems i was wrong about the AP. Thanks @AcaMetis @civac @Fippy for showing i was in the wrong.

    To be honest, ever since i had a bad experience with the AP, my solution has been to simply turn off Diplo victory, might not be the best solution when it comes to learning all that the game has to offer, but it makes things easier for me, considering everything else: research path, economy, diplo, military...
     
  20. Orion Pax

    Orion Pax Warlord

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2019
    Messages:
    142
    Fascinating thread.

    Indeed. I didn't realize for a long while that the Combat 1 promotion was in fact FREE, that it didn't count against XP points (since I'd avoided playing Aggressive leaders). Once I played some of them, I realized it's almost like having a low-key Charismatic trait for your Melee units. Only you have the 2nd promotion right from the get, if you've got barracks. Still an underwhelming trait since it has no secondary non-military benefit like CHA or IMP do. But I found the impact to really be felt early on.

    I would like to see AGG also get half-price Stable as well. Still wouldn't make AGG that great, but it would make an oddly expensive building accessible and fit the trait exactly.
     
    Nick723 likes this.

Share This Page