Why did you start a war with me!?

Civ4Brains

imperfectus
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ok so i'm attempting my first proper game of Civ4 (vanilla) having learnt the basic flow and mechanics of the game in numerous short trial runs (think demo short:). I've read a lot of material in the forums, Sisiutil's strategy guide and of course, the manual! but there comes a point where you just have to start playing.

However, I now need a little advice/reassurance that the particular action just undertaken by the AI has some logic to it because there is nothing more annoying to a new player than not understanding how and why certain things occur - particulary something as important as war.

So, the facts: I'm Playing as Bismarck, standard size pangaea map, warlord against 6 other civs - Isabella, Catherine, Montezuma, Alexander, Tokugawa and Huayna.

Things were going well, i guess, but have just got to the point where Cathy declared war on me and i can't quite figure out why. She started out 'pleased' with me, moving to cautious despite more green/positve modifiers listed when hovering over her portrait. I'm not sure when the switch point occured, but at 250BC (the attached save game) she liked our 'years of peace', open borders and shared faith (confucianism, my founding religion). The one negative was border tension - she settled a city a bit earlier on near my borders, not the otherway round (if that makes a difference?).

I don't believe she was capable of flipping my city since the stats show i was soaring ahead of everyone in culture - i believe i started to steal some tiles from her in fact (does this annoy AI's?). It was also this city which was first swayed by my religion, a few turns later becoming her state religion - my doin i guess?

I can't remember exactly how long after, but not that much, she declares war (wierd thing was our trade of clams for wine initiated by her only two turns before!! first trade of the entire match as well. go figure).

I'm scoring top by at least a hundred points whilst she ranks 3rd and we are on roughly level pegging in the Power charts of the stats screen (power means what exactly?). I would admit by eye i had fewer, less powerful troops and the info screen shows i rank low for troops. Is that enough motivation for her to start an attack? perhaps militarily just weak?

Perhaps, the border tension would be enough to entirely negate our positive diplomatic relations? In which case why assign values to each one if -2 is apparently greater than +5 ?

Admitedly, she is labelled 'cautious' but that doesn't seem to align with the many positive things she has to say about me, including shared faith. I got the impression from my Civ4 research that religion heavily affected AI decisions - not as much as I thought?

Or is the system even more genius than i thought AI could be - she knows it's my founding religion so she converts to have me think we're buddy buddy only to use that time to develop a sneak attack against me knowing that militarily she can probably beat me since my efforts appear more culture based. or am i giving the AI TOO much credit here?

I read in the forums Cathy is known to be a backstabber? in which case, are there AI "personalities", independent from the very clearly labelled and described leader 'traits' (ie. creative, industrious, spiritual, aggressive etc.), which you just have to discover through play?

I've attached the save for 250BC because I managed to overwrite the later date when the war broke out but i would appreciate anyone having a look at the game to know their thoughts on the diplomatic situation.

*also, why is no one fricking trading with me?

despite the confusion i'm still loving the game:)
 

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plasmacannon

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This sounds like a natural foe trait.
I remember in the earlier versions of Civ, certain empires were natural enemies of another.
Like Greece and Persia, Axis vs Allies countries from WW2, and so on. (Russia did fight Germany in WW2)

Firaxis likes to put in some historical reference into these games.
I don't know if there is a complete post on these, or a file that can change this, but, it is an occurance that that seems common.
When, I play England, I don't get attacked by America, for example.

If you setup as Random personalities in the beginning, this, can help change this, and lead to a less predictable outcome.
 

Ataxerxes

Deity
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Welcome to the forums!:band: I'll try to address the questions, although I'm not going to quote the whole thing.

I have no reassurance there is some logic to the AI actions. Sometimes there is and sometimes there isn't.

Real nice mix of AIs you got there. Biggest backstabber in the game (Cathy), biggest zealot (Izzy), two psychos (Alex and "Full basket of Fruit" Monty), Mr. Culture (HC) and isolationist grouch. Not surprised war broke out with that mix.

Her settling near you hurts relations - doesn't matter who settled it so there's border tension. You wouldn't be the first to complain the AI settled a city on top of you and then complained of border tension. Modifiers help, but it's the attitude that counts. At Cautious anybody could declare.

Religion helps, but the exact amount of brownie points depends on the AI. Shaka barely cares (3 max) while Izzy is a Zealot (+8 for shared religion). Her declaring two turns after initiating a deal is "go figure". We can all give you our nutty stories. Mine is declaring war and then voting the next turn to stop the war in the AP.

Your being top in score gives you a hidden small negative modifier. And your weak military paints a target on your back. Her motivations might take a book to describe and somebody better might give you a total picture.

She didn't convert as part of a plot to backstab you. AI doesn't plan that much. Backstabbing just comes natural to Cathy - she is the one AI you can never trust.

There are DEFINITELY AI personalities quite apart from traits. See my comments about the mixture of AI's above. Any AI can go to war at Cautious and about half can do it at Pleased. Only Cathy can do it at Friendly if she's bribed. Note: watch Alex and Monty - they spam units and like to war. It's been said breathing is enough to provoke Monty. You do discover them through play. Somewhere NihlZero did a short synopsis of each leader that was very good. In the Strategy Articles is a short one by Izmir Stinger that tells who can declare at pleased and who can't. (It's actually planning war, not actually declaring - a current Friend might have started planning to attack when he was at Pleased).

Toku is notorious for not trading.
 

lymond

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First, the S&T forum is a great place for advice on playing the game. I also highly recommend that you get BTS.

I didn't read all of your wall-o-text :), however, I did take a look at your save. You settling pattern is a bit odd here. Here's a few pointers.

1) Well, the good thing is you are building enough workers which is hugely important, However, many of them are doing odd things. You may have them automated which is VERY VERY bad early game. Managing worker turns is important early game as is the early game in general. Notice that 1 worker is improving a pig resource that will shortly be owned by Russia. Another worker is improving a pig on a hill in the east that is not even in that city's BFC, yet that city is in dire need of improvements. You need roads between cites for trade routes for extra commerce.

2) You really should have settled that rice copper asap. Try to keep your empire fairly compact and grab good resources, especially food and strat. Food resources are very important for all cities.

3) You should be in Hereditary Rule

4) On lower levels it's very easy to rush nearby neighbors once you get a strat resource. If you'd settled copper first thing then Cathy would be gone by now. Iron Working can be delayed.

5) You can't trade techs because you don't have Alpha. Always a good tech to beeline early, especially on lower difficulties because the AI takes forever to research stuff.

6) You have too few cities by this date. Look to get at least 6 cities by 1AD via expansion or conquest.

7) Think about what you are researching and formulate a plan. You don't need to research all the lower techs and early religions are usually the best bet, but you can get away with a lot of this below Noble since it is extremely easy.
 

Civ4Brains

imperfectus
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Wall-o-text FTW!

I also highly recommend that you get BTS.
I do have it, but i thought it best to start playing Civ fresh, like it had only just been released - no add-ons/expansions etc. Would I simply have a better Civ experience by being less purist about it and taking advantage of the developments CivIV has seen over the years?

1) You may have them automated which is VERY VERY bad early game... Another worker is improving a pig on a hill in the east that is not even in that city's BFC, yet that city is in dire need of improvements.

Not automated just my failure to realise until a few turns later that you have a city radius and a culture radius and that those tiles wouldn't contribute anything:)

Notice that 1 worker is improving a pig resource that will shortly be owned by Russia.

That tile and the copper one on the right were taken over by Russia before my city had enough culture to reach it on a border pop. It was legitimately theirs and annoyed me at the time until I noticed later on I had claimed them as my own with presumably some kind of culture border push? Is that how it works? Like I said before I was ahead of everyone in culture. My assumption was that if my city had the stronger culture Russia would struggle to re-claim it making it safely mine and worth improving.

You need roads between cites for trade routes for extra commerce.

You you mean roads between mine and other people's cities for the more lucrative foreign trade routes? my cities are all linked. I'm still waiting for the other civs to offer up some simple resource trade!

4) On lower levels it's very easy to rush nearby neighbors once you get a strat resource. If you'd settled copper first thing then Cathy would be gone by now. Iron Working can be delayed.

Despite having experimented in the previously mentioned trial games and this being my first "proper" game I am still using it as an opportunity to see how my choices "pan out". In fact I was trying to be discrete and hopefully not attract too much attention, possible fail - everyone is cautious of me:) could be the confucianism. could be a naive newb strategy.

7) Think about what you are researching and formulate a plan.

The ultimate goal, learn to strategise. Currently hampered by my lack of knowledge - what leads to where and how choices evolve throughout the game.

Thanks for the very helpful replies everyone. much appreciated.
 

Ataxerxes

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I would have started out directly with BTS. It is the best and the version most posters use. It does take advantage of all patches and other adjustments.

Roads between your own cities allow all cities to benefit from health and happiness from a resource. If all cities are collected, any resource's health and happiness benefits from any city's control benefit all cities.

Getting roads hooked up to your neighbors capital enables foreign trade routes which give more gold than domestic. This is independent from resource trades. Each city has trade routes - you can see them in the upper left of the city screen. You could check to see if there is any resource trades available by contacting the other leaders - no need to wait for them! Definitely get Alphabet for tech trades.

After Currency you can sell your excess resources for GPT. Most health and happiness can get you up to 6 GPT for each trade - if the AI has that much gold to trade.

The culture push between cities is determined by the respective cities' culture and not the total culture of the Civ.
 

lymond

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Would I simply have a better Civ experience by being less purist about it and taking advantage of the developments CivIV has seen over the years?

ummm...yep

The point about the copper/rice city is that you should have settled there first. As you now realize you have a limited BFC (Big Fat Cross) for which your city/citizens can actually work tiles. You need more cities to work more tiles, grab resources, enlarge your empire and increase your potential in all areas.

Don't worry about early warfare as long as you get it going quick and it's overall feasible - approx. 10 tiles or so. There's man other things that impact diplo as the game progresses - good and bad.

Play BTS and I recommend getting the BUG mod - popular unaltered gameplay mod that improves interface.
 

Civ4Brains

imperfectus
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Thanks Ataxerxes and Lymond useful advice indeed. couple of final things to bother you with:)

You could check to see if there is any resource trades available by contacting the other leaders - no need to wait for them!

As you can see in the attached image I have trade networks established with most of the other Civs but even for them there are no resource icons next to their portraits. Does this mean they don't want to trade because they lack surplus resources? resource acquisition is not a priority? perhaps they just don't want to trade with me?

or, is this a trade network issue? (this one seems unlikely from my understanding of the system)

Don't worry about early warfare as long as you get it going quick and it's overall feasible - approx. 10 tiles or so.

Reallly sorry but I couldn't make total sense out of this - could you clarify what you mean exactly? get what going quick? presumably not the early warfare, but rather the settlement? and what is feasible, at 10 tiles?

Play BTS and I recommend getting the BUG mod - popular unaltered gameplay mod that improves interface.

Yeh I heard about that one and also BAT i think its called - improves the textures/graphics?


thanks again. i'll download BtS now:)
 

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lymond

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BAT is excellent...I use both. A lot of forum games you will find over in S&T I use BUG with since not everyone uses BAT. However, if WB saves are provided or my own games I use BAT a lot.

The info in vanilla is terrible. You really have to dig for lots of stuff. But yeah, for the networks that are actually established, the AIs don't have surplus resources yet or if the do you already have that resource.

The early warfare thing was addressing one of your response to me earlier, although I may have misunderstood that too. I got the impression that you did not want to crush someone for fear of pissing off the other AI. I was just stating that it's not something to really worry about early game. An "early rush" is usually something performed first thing with probably no more than 2 cities established and a strat resource nearby and the AI in fairly close proximity (10 tiles from cap to cap is just a guideline. But heck, on Prince and below you can even warrior rush a neighbor.

Definitely spend more time of in the S&T forum - really better for advice threads. Check out forum games like Nobles Club and also look over at the GOTM forum once you get a little more comfortables (fun stuff)
 

plasmacannon

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" ... I noticed later on I had claimed them as my own with presumably some kind of culture border push? Is that how it works? Like I said before I was ahead of everyone in culture. My assumption was that if my city had the stronger culture Russia would struggle to re-claim it making it safely mine and worth improving."

I wanted to point out that Catherine has the Creative Trait, so, she will get an automatic +2 culture per turn from each of her cities.
When not play a Creative leader yourself, you have to build something quickly to keep the important resourses (Stonehenge + Temple, Library, Monastary all generate 2 culture/turn).
 

yturk39

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What did Catherine say when she declared war on you?

Who proposed the Wine for Clams trade, and how exactly did it come about?
 

JujuLautre

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I would admit by eye i had fewer, less powerful troops and the info screen shows i rank low for troops. Is that enough motivation for her to start an attack? perhaps militarily just weak?

Admitedly, she is labelled 'cautious'

I cut lots of your post, but honestly I would not search for any other reason :)

Lots of leaders will not make war plans at pleased, and the others will cancel them most of the time if the thought even came to them (there is still a probability though). But cautious when your military is weak... No surprise here.
 

A_Hamster

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Ataxeres and Lymond have already answered your questions, but you may find this link useful. Who is the most treacherous of them all? Don't bother with the LeaderheadInfo listed unless you really want to, but just getting the subjective opinions of those who posted should help you judge the AIs in your future games.

As for the early rush, I have found this guide useful, even if I am not a good judge when I should rush and when I should peacefully expand.

I see you are downloading BtS. That's good, and I say this a Warlords player who refused to buy BtS because I liked Warlords a lot and BtS mainly boosted the modern period, and I prefer Ancient to Renaissance warfare. However, the new game features really are an improvement over the basic game.

As for the Power graph, I'm not sure exactly what it means but in general, if your line is much lower than a rival's, that rival will attack (Aggressive leaders will attack with a smaller power lead than others). Try to keep your power rating near the top, especially when next to Agg leaders or the loonies like Monty. And there's no reason to keep Cathy happy, because the girl will turn on you at some point. Just kill her and be done with it.
 
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