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When Should You get Your First Worker?

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by MarigoldRan, Apr 25, 2011.

  1. MarigoldRan

    MarigoldRan WARLORD

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    This is in fact the choice of play that I PREFER. I'm sure that you have a certain way of playing the game that YOU PREFER TOO. Notice how I'm NOT criticizing YOUR SPECIFIC CHOICE OF PLAY BECAUSE THAT WOULD BE SOMEWHAT RUDE.

    Otherwise, I think you missed my point. I'm quite aware that the AI sucks at war. That's why you go to war with them early, often, and fast. Hence, warrior first.
     
  2. MarigoldRan

    MarigoldRan WARLORD

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    I'm sorry. I guess my sarcasm meter is broken.
     
  3. MarigoldRan

    MarigoldRan WARLORD

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    You make legit points.

    In order to broaden my game, I've been playing the Nobles, Monarch, and Emperor challenges that are occasionally posted on the forums. However, what I've noticed is that with most of the maps, going warrior first, stealing a worker, and then rushing is a really easy way to win the game by a mile.

    Take the Carthaginian: Emperor one. Try worker stealing off some of the neighboring civs. It works VERY well. Or the Monarch: Alexander. Or Emperor: Napoleon. Or Immortal: Ragnar Earth 18.

    Yeah, I prefer certain map scripts. It's a weakness in all-around play. But my point is that on most maps, warrior first is more optimal than worker first (not Archipelago, for example. But if the setting is Archi, then you know you're on Archi and so obviously you don't go warrior first).

    There are exceptions, like isolation starts. But these are rare.

    Going warrior first is a gamble. But I think the odds are worth it, since most of the time you will be on a continent with other civs. Also, if you don't find anyone early, THEN you build a worker. Yes, it slows you down a little, but that's the risk of gambles. There's always a good chance you find someone early, and the gamble pays off, at which point you're already close to victory because you've canceled out the comps' starting advantage.
     
  4. MarigoldRan

    MarigoldRan WARLORD

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    My point though is that building a warrior will help on turn 1 too. You're going to need warriors anyways to garrison cities and to fogbust, so you may as well get it out of the way. EDIT: Also, there's always the chance that your scouting warrior might die. It's good to have back-up.

    Especially if you're prone to building settlers, those early warriors really help.

    My argument is an attempt to change the mindset of: get a worker out early. There are enough exceptions to the worker-early rule that I think it's a false rule.

    Yes, if you don't manage to steal a worker you're in a little bit of hot water. But if you do, then you've almost won the game. That's why it's a gamble. And that's why I think the gamble is worth it.

    Think of all the things that you could do if you didn't have to build workers or get worker techs early.
     
  5. ahcos

    ahcos King

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    Nope, it's just the other way round: there are so many exceptions to warrior first that it's a false route in general.

    But feel free to start a game series to show off your arguments on fractal/random leader and your favourite difficulty (although i don't believe there's much use for anything below Emperor for what you want to show off). It's not that we are the ones that are limiting ourselves regarding strategy, i'm pretty sure that most of the Imm/Deity players here know how take advantage of choking etc. and have done that before, YOU are the one who limits himself to a warrior opening for no good reason.

    I'm with you if you say that warrior first + choking can be a viable opening, but as a opening in general? No, Sir. You limit yourself to one single path that may go horribly wrong: yes, it's a gamble, but Civ4 is also about exploring strategies that make gambling less of an issue. Otherwise i'd always go for oracle -> Feudalism on Deity. You want to be consistently winning.

    Another (pretty common) scenario you might run into: warrior first, you go out to search for a target, and the only available target is called Mansa Musa, Hammurabi, Sitting Bull or Pacal, all with resourceless UUs that will eat your choking warriors alive. You might run into a Civ that founded and early religion and is creative, making it virtually impossible to steal workers. You run into Ghengis, declare, steal a worker - and realize that you're the worst enemy of not only Ghengis, but also Shaka who, thanks to warmongerrespect, was already pleased with him, setting you to -3 diplo right off the start. Best of luck if Shaka decides that you're worth a BC dagger.

    Worker first lets you get an overview before you lay your plan down, whereas with warrior -> choking you're set to this single plan with everything that might go wrong here.

    On a sidenote, you're free to change what you want to build in your city when you run into someone who's a good target to choke on turn 3 (which means that the AI is very, very close). Switching over from worker to warriors is still useful by then.
     
  6. Dhoomstriker

    Dhoomstriker Girlie Builder

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    But, is it really so different from what you are suggesting?

    "Build a couple of Warriors first. Expect a couple of them to die. Steal a Worker. Bring the Worker home."

    I'm saving you the trouble of building and losing the Warriors, while you can still get in some exploration. You can also bring the Worker back home sooner than you could bring home most captured Workers.

    I admit that my message #29 was me just being silly (although it would be abusing the fact that you don't have to worry about Barbs until you settle, so it wasn't completely in jest), but I don't see what's wrong with Worker-first, temporarily ignoring Worker techs (say, by, as you suggested, beelining Alphabet), and thus still making use of the Worker for early exploration.

    If you play on Deity, where Barb Animals only spawn for 1 turn (between Turns 5 and 6, if I recall correctly), your Worker should be safe because all of the two-movement units should have been erased by the time that the Worker exists--that is, it will be safe if you are careful about how you scout with it (1 turn of movement per turn on flatlands unless you know that nothing is there thanks to your initial Warrior or to your Cultural Borders revealing the nearby area).

    In contrast, a scouting Warrior may have to end up fighting fights that it may lose--even when defending from a Grassland Hills square, a Warrior can lose. But, if you don't have to fight at all, then you have a decent scouting unit, while also having the "equivalent" of an early Worker steal, but without having an AI breathing down your back and without the Diplomatic penalty of having declared war.
     
  7. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    There's no gamble if you know what you're doing.

    @ Marigold:

    Even my sorry micro will destroy a start that puts off workers to build 3 warriors (excepting below monarch, where warrior x5 = settler on an awesome city spot).

    VoiceOfUnreason showed you straight up why warrior first sucks with most starts.

    Also, much as you like bronze working, chopping constantly can barely keep up with...

    ...

    Working a pastured cow.

    Improve your tiles.
     
  8. ahcos

    ahcos King

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    Yeah right, and then Bear Cavalery (c) (tm) shows up and eats your guarding warrior who's somehow stuck @ the coast for whatever stupid reason, and lolowolf or roflopanther decides to feast upon your settlerparty and all of sudden...

    Basicly you're right, but one has to be sure as hell that settler 1st is the best choice to not call it a gamble at all, imo, and to be that sure you're either a fantastic player or actually don't know what you're doing. I'd say that for 99% of the players, settler 1st is a gamble.
     
  9. cbucks

    cbucks Warlord

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    If you grow to size 4 working unimproved tiles, how long does it take to get a settler out?
     
  10. PeterWolf

    PeterWolf Chieftain

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    I tried doing that in worldbuilder, someone could check it out or do the maths to see if I'm right. :p

    Just take the best possible situation at the beginning of the game:
    Settled on a plains hill, for the extra hammer.
    3 tiles with 3F each in the BFC.
    At least 2 forested plains hills (3P).
    There could be some commerce, but that doesn't matter for this case.

    Working the 3 3F tiles, the city gets to size 4 on turn 19.
    From then, if you work 2 tiles with 3F and 2 tiles with 3P ( let's say you're IMP for the 50% bonus ) you'll finish the Settler in 9 turns, on turn 28.

    Of course that's the best possible situation... without such tiles it would take way longer to get to size 4, and without IMP if would take way longer to build the Settler.
     
  11. Kaosprophet

    Kaosprophet Warlord

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    Actually, you are.

    But that's beside the point. You asked if anyone had done a cost-benefit analysis on worker-first over warrior-first. They have, and it favors worker-first for the general case. That this finding goes against your preferences doesn't change this in any way; nor does citing the existence of 'intangibles' that cannot actually be accounted for in the cost-benefit analysis you asked for.

    If your real goal was to promote the worker-steal & choke strategy, you would have done better by skipping straight to the point instead of asking a question that can only touch on the idea.
     
  12. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    In doing settler 1st, you don't scout normally, you pull your scout into a "scout the settlement area" role. What you are really doing is preventing 2 move animals from sniping your settler by surprise; anything else the settler can avoid via his 2 moves and simply settling before the threat attacks. Settler 1st assumes a site pretty close to your capitol is viable; you won't have much to see in order to know he's safe when you're settling 3-5 tiles away.

    The problem with this is the instant research hit, unless you also have a trade network of some kind formed (possible along coast with culture border touching or similarly along rivers).

    I can't remember the last time I lost a settler 1st settler to anything, or a settler at all for that matter regardless of opening. That let's play where I lost my city despite defending it with an archer is actually more frequent than settler losses over the past...oh...50 games or so at least.

    It's bad to say there is "no risk" I suppose, only because there's always some risk in a game and you're just minimizing it. Theoretically, in starts where settler-first is appropriate it is *less* risky however.
     
  13. MarigoldRan

    MarigoldRan WARLORD

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    Problem with the math is the intangibles. I just got this game on Emperor as Hannibal: (Huge Continents, Epic speed, random events and huts).

    Check out your neighbors :lol:

    The thing I'm criticizing is the "worker-first-or-workboat-is-the-only-option" mentality.

    I think I'm going to post this as another game in the Emperor series.

    I think my opening was: warrior, warrior, warrior, warrior, barracks, warrior, warrior, warrior. I'm going to try standard next time and see how it works. This one is a good test case.
    EDIT: Moved to other thread.
     
  14. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    The best option is rarely the only one.

    If you can pull a worker steal, great. However, that carries risks of its own...you may never manage to steal a worker (some AI arbitrarily cover their worker with a unit...or you simply don't find one in time) and you ruin diplo.
     
  15. ahcos

    ahcos King

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    That first paragraph was me trying to be funny. ;) So yeah, you're right, but i didn't question that, it was just my lack of humor.

    Regarding the "risk" - the last time i've done a settler-first was @ emperor difficulty, i've never felt confident enough in my ability to rate the risks accurately on higher difficulty. You say it's less risky - how come? When i think about it, the risks seem quite high to me as it sets you back on your first worker, and the point where the fast 2nd city is a net plus might be after the point where barbs show up @ Deity ... Haven't done the math on this, but it "feels" like it. IMP leader starting on PH with 3H forrested PH in BFC = 15 turns settler @ size 1, right? Another 12 turns for the first worker, that's turn 27 - turn 40 barbs will come to steal your candy. Archery seems mandatory in order to survive, roading into the strat. resource, mining/pasturing it, and then starting to build the actual unit sets you close to turn 40. So, Archery regardless? Then it might be useful, but you're forced to tech to Archery with a lower techrate overall (as you've mentioned) etc.pp ...
     
  16. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    Tech is only slower if you don't get the trade network up (if you do it's actually a bit faster for a while).

    T40 barbs gives you time to make workers in each city 1 and 2 and a few warriors; depending on the map this is often enough even on deity but pretty frequently below.

    Less risky when it is optimized is because of the improved production relative to a standard worker 1st if you really won't be able to make a lot of tile improvements with him right away; you have more production and at least as much fog busted/spawn locked thanks to earlier 2nd city.
     
  17. Habitus

    Habitus Emperor

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    An example when Settler first might be optimal and less risky would be something like a riverside Plains Hill SIP with Dry Rice + Banana start with a near fully forested BFC, an empty spot thats likely to be either Horse/Copper/Iron as Cyrus@Persia. Your warrior can see Gold+Flood Plains to south on the same river. Atleast that would be a time i would consider it, and most likely use it.

    Doing something like Mining-BW-(AH or Pottery depending on if Gold site had AH food), and once my Capital had done Settler-Worker i'd probably even chop out 2-3 warriors quickly for barbs.
     
  18. ahcos

    ahcos King

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    Long story short: you have to be in the one-out-of-hundred (well, let's say out of 20) starts to do this. I'll try this one out with regenerating maps until i get such a start, although i usually prefer to do the worker -> settler @ size 1 opening rather than the other way round.
     
  19. gspchamp999

    gspchamp999 Warlord

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    Well put.
     
  20. MarigoldRan

    MarigoldRan WARLORD

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    Check out SirCheezy's recent Emperor-Vicky game. This is an excellent example of a game to start without workers. I posted my game and commentary there. Spoilers below.

    P.S. Slave-rushing Wonders is a good idea most of the time. If you aren't sure, rush it. That way you can guarantee it.

    P.S.S. I've found that most of the Emperor, Monarch, and Prince-series games go wonderfully without early workers.

    Spoiler :
    Builder order: Workboat-workboat-warrior-warrior-warrior-warrior-warrior-settler-settler-settler-warrior.

    BW first, followed by a beeline to Alphabet. Back-traded with Hatty for a lot of early techs.

    Completely skipped workers and worker techs because of the large number of good sea spots. Food is NOT an issue on this map. So why work the pig or the wheat plots? Especially since happiness is an issue if your cities get too big. Since you're imperialistic, it's better just to spam settlers and warriors, and take a crapload of cities early, at which point you can do more shiz.

    I currently have five cities. All of which was settled before my second worker.... Currently I have three workers (380 AD) and they're running out of things to do.

    Currently spamming Wonders. Since I have a lot of cities, I can do that!

    I have the GLH, Pyramids, Collossus, and Oracle. The Pyramids is almost as important as the GLH because of Representation (happiness is an issue). Aiming for the Great Library, Mausallos, and the Parthenon. Once that's done, probably get a few more cities, get some defenses, go for Rifling, and then... WAR.

    I've got the tech lead. The only way I can not win this is if Toku chooses to attack me. But his worst enemy is Hatty, so....
     

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