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Why are desert starts considered overpowered?

Discussion in 'Civ5 - General Discussions' started by Keirador, Sep 17, 2013.

  1. Keirador

    Keirador Deity

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    I've seen desert starts get called imbalanced, overpowered, or broken by many posters. This appears to be common wisdom. Why? Flood plains are no better than grassland unless they have wheat, desert hills are just hills, you're far less likely to have choppable forest, and actual desert tiles suck. Is it just because on lower difficulties the human player can reliably snag Petra? I find that on Immortal/Deity it's pretty much impossible to get Petra, and even attempting to means really f-ing up my teching, forcing me to the bottom of the tech tree when I need to be on the top.

    So is it just a difficulty level thing or what? Desert Folklore?
     
  2. katfish

    katfish Warlord

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    Desert folklore, oil and solar plants. And i do get petra on deity if i play it, unless there is a lot of desert. Not to mention awesome things such as Polders and Kasbah.
     
  3. Gort

    Gort Emperor

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    Also, if you get a desert start you are basically guaranteed to be starting on a river, which means watermills and hydro plants as well.

    I wouldn't say overpowered, though, you are quite right that it's tough to get Petra on high difficulty levels. I think everyone's had at least one game where they got Petra in their capital as well as having the dominant religion on the planet with basically zero effort, though.

    What's your strategy for getting Petra on Deity? (Also, what speed/map size/map types do you play - that matters enormously and nobody ever specifies)
     
  4. Keirador

    Keirador Deity

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    OK, oil in the late game and solar plants in the superlate game, but that hardly balances low food/low production in the early game.

    How do you get Petra on Deity? What's your tech order? Unless no AIs have any desert tiles, Petra usually goes long before I've even teched Currency, like turn 40 - 80. I've seen the AI build Petra for literally one non-floodplain desert tile in BNW, since it also gives an extra trade route the AI goes for it anyway. If you're lucky and the only AIs with desert are under stress or are busy warmongering, yeah you can take your sweet time with Petra, but the off chance of getting Petra hardly seems to justify that desert starts are overpowered.
     
  5. FeiLing

    FeiLing Deity

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    It's not about flat pure desert tile (before petra/great person improvements). But flood plains aren't low food. And desert hills aren't low prod. And fresh water desert hills...
    There's also a large chance of getting iron in deserts.

    So +1 faith per tile from desert folklore (= super early religion, a bunch of great scientists later extra) and then of course Petra. The rest is just a little late game bonus (it's remarkable though that they squished every large and little advantage imaginable onto desert tiles...).


    OH MY GOD I JUST FOUND A HUGE GAMEBREAKING BUG:
    Spoiler :
    An University gives +2 science to jungle instead of desert tiles. Please fix asap!!! :rolleyes:
     
  6. Zaimejs

    Zaimejs Emperor

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    I love a good dessert. Like pie.

    Oh, wait... desert. Desert hills with Petra make me smile.

    Other civs sniping Petra makes me TEH RAGE QUIT.:mad:

    Mountain, river, desert with a Wonder in range...=the bomb.
     
  7. Keirador

    Keirador Deity

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    There's also a large chance of getting iron in deserts.

    So +1 faith per tile from desert folklore (= super early religion, a bunch of great scientists later extra) and then of course Petra. The rest is just a little late game bonus (it's remarkable though that they squished every large and little advantage imaginable onto desert tiles...).
    Grasslands aren't low food, and desert hills are identical to all other hills (excepting Desert Folklore). Yeah, any desert start is gonna have enough workable tiles that being in the desert isn't a problem initially, but I've seen plenty of desert starts that, even with great early food (flood plain wheat), only actually have like 6 or so flood plain tiles and no other food sources. That puts a real damper on expansion. Sure, a desert start with lots of flood plains, lots of wheat, lots of hills, and few actual useless flat desert is an awesome start. . . but so is a grassland start with lots of cows or a coastal start with lots of fishies. You're just as likely to get a desert start with a couple hills, a few floodplain tiles, and a whole lot of unworkable land.

    I guess I just don't see why people refer to desert starts as inherently over-powered.
     
  8. darden

    darden Chieftain

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    if I get a desert start, I usually B-line for Petra (unless "desert start" = 2 tiles of desert and a bunch of plains/grassland)

    judge away, but yeah... I've found myself just quitting and restarting if I miss Petra and I'm playing a game where my capital is literally surrounded by desert.
     
  9. Keirador

    Keirador Deity

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    Desert folklore, yeah, makes a great start greater if you're able to work a ton of floodplains and hills rather than actual desert.
     
  10. Keirador

    Keirador Deity

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    Difficulty level? I usually don't get Petra even if I beeline it. Sometimes it goes before I research Currency.


    If we're playing a set-up where the human player can rely on getting Petra as a strategy, I'm totally on-board with desert starts being overpowered.
     
  11. Scott Jegg

    Scott Jegg Warlord

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    I think Petra is easier to get if you go liberty, because you'll get more science from three cities that are growing (one hard built, and one from SP). Animal Husbandry is on the way to Currency, so make sure to get a caravan on the go for the extra science too (+4 preferably). Beeline from the get go. You can go back for lux techs once you start building petra. Getting Desert folklore is nice, but I wouldn't risk not getting petra by going pottery first.

    Petra is dependant on territory anyway. It's makes a crap start bareable if you get lots of pure desert, but it becomes a monster when there's lots of oasis/hill (best with fresh water), or resources on desert tiles. I've had petra cities with three sheep hills and more 3-4 fresh water hills - beastly once you hit civil service, and you're doing it all wrong if you get beaten to any wonders you want from that point on.
     
  12. Keirador

    Keirador Deity

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    Scott Jegg: You've got three growing cities with no luxes hooked up? Where's the happiness coming from?
     
  13. Scott Jegg

    Scott Jegg Warlord

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    Ideally at leat one luxury will have come from a mining tech (I don't mind grabbing that to help rpoduction too) to keep things growing, and I would expect to find at least two natural wonders from scouting. I guess there's no point getting three cities if you can't satisfy any of that, but high food cities will still grow even when unhappy.
     
  14. lmaonade200

    lmaonade200 Chieftain

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    flood plains are awesome for growth, if you can get a wheat or 2 and some hills in there you're in for a beastly starting city, Desert Folklore is the #1 pantheon ever and will allow you to snowball your faith output like crazy.
     
  15. Zaimejs

    Zaimejs Emperor

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    I had a couple recent tundra starts with deer on almost every tile... took the tundra faith thing, and I was rolling in faith. But I don't think Tundra have many other advantages. Where are my walrus?
     
  16. CraigMak

    CraigMak The Borg

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    Desert folklore is OP with a desert start, Petra is OP on desert hills. A desert hill with petra can be 1 food, 4 hammers with a mine. Imagine a desert hill with gold, silver, copper or gems on it with petra, and a mine, simply out of control.

    The tundra faith one is not as bad because tundra is usually crap.
     
  17. Scott Jegg

    Scott Jegg Warlord

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    It would be nice if there was a similar tundra/snow boosting wonder. There's really little redemption for a tundra heavy start.
     
  18. Keirador

    Keirador Deity

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    My point though was that Petra is not normally achievable on higher difficulties, so even with Desert folklore desert starts are still only good if you have lots of hills/floodplains with wheat/ other bonuses. And that's the case with all kinds of starts.
     
  19. Keirador

    Keirador Deity

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    Kinda makes sense that desert can be powerful and tundra can't. Historically, there have been a reasonable number of powerful empires whose power bases were fertile areas (often river valleys) surrounded by deserts (Egypt, Mesopotamian cultures like Babylon and Sumeria, Iran, etc.) There really haven't been powerful civilizations originating from the tundra.
     
  20. civ54lyfe

    civ54lyfe Prince

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    Desert starts are still the best in the game if you disregard a civ's terrain-dependent UA's. and virtually all of them start on a Flood Plain river. i've found that surrounding hammers that can be used immediately and developed later are plentiful as well. Stone very often spawns around them as well, yet Marble i almost never get in a Desert start. Iron often spawns later on. you don't have to worry about farming for a while, growth is fast, and that's really all most people need to care about.

    they went ahead and nerfed Petra a while back to where it doesn't give its effect to Flood Plains and one other kind of tile that i forgot. but Petra+Folklore is still super amazing. i've never grown a capitol as easily vs. any other terrain. and i've never been able to buy as many GP with other terrains/combo as i could with this combo, until well into Atomic Era.

    the downside that most gets on my nerves with Desert is that barbs and warmongers can really book it fast directly to your developed tiles and pillage. warmongers can be at the gates in no time. this, however, isn't different than a vast Grassland or Plains start. oh, one more downside- in my Desert starts i've noticed that pastures are really scant. ofc you don't get Cows usually, but Horses have been scarce for me. just crappy Sheep. really weakens a potential Stable.

    it's not OP anymore, but the one OP thing for me is that i might start a game with no start bias and get a super-sweet Desert start, and suddenly i'm making plans for yet another weenie VC :cringe:
     

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