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Why do I tech so slowly?

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by erikg88, Mar 9, 2006.

  1. erikg88

    erikg88 Warlord

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2003
    Messages:
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    Hi - I'm not much of a Civ player (as you'll see in this post), and I come seeking guidance.

    I play on noble, and I've played a great many games, maybe 2 dozen or so... and I've never won anything more than a Time "victory". So I've tried to figure out how to win, starting with some of the more peaceful victory paths.

    So I almost got a cultural win (off by 15 turns), but I cannot for the life of me come close to a space race victory.

    I don't know what the deal is - it seems that by the time I manage to research the Apollo Program, there are only 50 turns left, and there's not enough time.

    I'll put up a save game later, but in the mean time, are there any ideas that jump to mind? Maybe I should use more cottages, or something?
     
  2. Rast

    Rast Warlord

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2006
    Messages:
    125
    Stop automating your workers, they build way too many farms and other stupid things like workshops.

    Build commerce improvements and use them. Cottage spam is your friend even if you're not financial (but if you are, more power to you). Remember that beakers are based on the same coins your treasury is, they're just modified by different improvements.

    With a strong commerce base I can easily get into Future Tech by the 1700s, though my games rarely last that long.

    Also, check your financial advisor. He'll tell you exactly how many beakers you're generating every turn. Late game you should be pushing at least 1500 just to keep up with the AI, 3000 and you're going to smoke them easy. The science % isn't a good guide to see how much science you're making, you need to know the actual number of beakers. Don't be afraid to beat up your neighbors and take their cities if you need to be able to build more science. Some early wonders (such as the Great Library) also help enormously early on (see my post about science on Prince)
     
  3. CaptainEO

    CaptainEO Chieftain

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2005
    Messages:
    27
    In short, coins = science, moneybags = lots of science, lots of cities with lots of moneybags = fast tech rate.
     
  4. The Tyrant

    The Tyrant Prince

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2006
    Messages:
    445
    As Rast said, cottage spam is your friend. Early cottage building should be high on the priority list. Another thing that Rast mentioned is the financial trait. If you want to get the most out of cottage spamming, then having the financial trait gives you a big boost. I like using Qin Shi Huang (the second Chinese leader option) for this reason, but any leader with Financial will do.

    Also, how well are you balancing expansion? Early expansion is necessary to have a decent number of cities producing later but if you expand too quickly or too continuously you will cripple your economy with city upkeep costs. Be sure to leave periods between expansion phases to build your economy up. I don't mind dropping my research slider to 30% or lower during my early expansion, but I want it back up to 70% as soon as possible. Once I find it possible to put the slider up to 80%, I know I've been at peace for too long. Time to go knock some heads.

    Since you've played a couple dozen games, I'm assuming you have read the forum posts on city specialization. If not, then that could be part of the problem. Firaxis deliberately made city specialization a very profitable strategy. If you specialize your cities you will be able to maximize the benefits that each city provides your civilization. Concentrate on creating more science cities to boost your research.

    Oh, and I almost forgot one of the most important ways to boost your tech (probably because it is one of the most obvious). Get alphabet early and become a tech broker. Trading techs will not only get you techs without having to research them yourself, but it can also get you money and friends. Press F4 often, and click on "Technologies" to see what each civ has to trade. I used to only check when I discovered a new tech, but I've found it best to check every couple of turns or so. Even if I don't have a new tech to trade, I will sometimes pay cash for a new tech -- either for the direct benefits of the tech, or to trade/sell it to other civs when it becomes possible. Be aware that you can't get a tech in trade until you already have its prerequisite.

    'Hope that helps some.
     
  5. erikg88

    erikg88 Warlord

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2003
    Messages:
    130
    Alright, I tried to put some new strategies to use. I played on a Tiny map (my poor computer can't handle much more than that) versus Catherine and Mansa Musa. Early on, I knew that Catherine would be an issue.

    So I high-tailed it to Civil Service (thanks to a healthy dosage of cottages), and utterly devastated Russia with a couple of stacks of Samurai. Musa jumped in on the party and swallowed up some of the less profitable Russian cities. So Catherine was wiped out early. Knowing Mansa wouldn't be one to declare war on me, I decided now was the time to really focus on my infrastructure.

    I had maybe 8 cities, most of them in fantastic condition. Everything looked set for the spaceship - I had at least 3, maybe 4 cities that could produce at around 120 hammers per turn. But (to my disbelief), Mansa just kept on piling up the score. He started to absolutely run away with the thing. I just gritted my teeth and told myself the space victory would put me ahead on that board, even as the disparity widened to 1000+ points.

    As I raced through the tech tree (well, relatively speaking - I got Apollo finished in the early 1900s, which is pretty good for me), I could see the victory in my grasp. I started knocking out spaceship components left and right. 31 turns left, and I just needed the engine and the stasis chamber.

    And that's when Mansa launched his space ship. Bitterly dissapointing, but I was very satisfied with how I played the game - my city placement and commerce were both greatly improved, and the early war on Catherine netted me a few plum cities.

    I think I should have declared war on Mansa, to halt his spaceship, but I had no idea he was so far along - and I think he would have crushed me militarily.

    Anyhoo, thanks for the suggestions.
     
  6. The Tyrant

    The Tyrant Prince

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2006
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    445
    Ouch! You went up against Catherine, whose traits lend themselves very well to cottage spamming / high commerce, and Mansa Musa, who is known to frequently be a tech leader. I'm not quite sure how Mansa always manages to do so well in tech. I've always assumed it is by making friends and trading tech, but if it was just you three then he didn't have much opportunity for that. Considering that you went up against two leaders who are good at commerce/tech it sounds like you did very well.
     
  7. Rast

    Rast Warlord

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2006
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    Many people (including me) find Mansa to be one of the best 'peaceful' AIs.

    He has a big weakness though - he never builds much military. If Mansa shows up in my games he's always a priority target, he's just as dangerous as the aggressive civs, but in a different way.

    You don't need to kill him. If you can't handle a big war with Mansa just invade, tear up all his improvements, and leave. Repeat after he rebuilds a bit.
     
  8. automator

    automator King

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    Sep 15, 2005
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    Location:
    Northwest USA
    Yup. Nothing has improved my performance more (still learning to be a great Noble player before moving onto Prince, where I always get owned by the AI) than doing cottages from the start.

    I used to use my first worker to farm/pasture the food bonuses, then mine hills around my capital, then road to new cities. Now I cottage any flood plains first, then make improvements, then road. Having money bags coming out of your capitol means tons of science from the start. When, by the time you're building libraries, you've got 40+ beakers coming from the capitol, plus the library bonus, you're gonna be a couple techs ahead of most AIs.
     
  9. cardin411

    cardin411 Chieftain

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2006
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    Took me a while to get the hang of Noble, reading about Cottage spamming helped me a great bit and practicing different variations of the cathy cottage spam strategy on lower levels. I found that depending on your situation, you have to be smart about what improvements and techs to build/research first. Micromanaging cities plays huge and If you are not keeping an eye on whats going on in them it could be slowing you down. Make sure your cities have enough food to grow, therefore enabling more cottages to be worked. Also make sure you build library's, universities, courthouses (reduce costs), observatories, banks, grocery's in all your cities...as they improve your science/commerce output. Also specialize. Decide which cities will be production cities and which will be commerce, GP farms..etc. Also take out warmongering civs as early as possible because they will declare war on you sooner or later!
     
  10. senwiz

    senwiz Prince

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    Feb 27, 2006
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    Location:
    Appleton, WI
    Another way to handle him to rush to Spies. Launch them with a few subs, and you are golden. :) He won't be able to keep up. ;)
     
  11. AL_DA_GREAT

    AL_DA_GREAT amour absinthe révolution

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    lots of money isn't allways the problem. sometimes I have 100% research and I was still teching slow (I had libraries and such).
     
  12. Solo4114

    Solo4114 Prince

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    Well, one question I'd ask is what speed are you playing on? If you're playing on Epic (which is what I do exclusively -- so far, anyway), it takes a good bit longer to produce techs. Marathon will stretch it out even further.

    Specializing cities is key. If you're not sure how you want to specialize a city, or your city can go any of several directions because of good placement (IE: it's versatile due to the surroundings), put cottages down on the flatlands (grass & plain).

    Grasslands are ideal for cottages because of the extra food, although you won't get production until your cottages become towns AND you switch to universal sufferage.

    Civics also can help a lot in the tech race. For example, Free Artistry (I think that's the name) allows unlimited specialists in all cities, so you really CAN just spam scientists (or merchants or whomever). Representation generates additional beakers (3 I think) for each specialist of ANY type. Bureaucracy can actually be useful if your capital is a HUGE research center, since it generates 50% more hammers and coins -- if you switch your capital to producing research, you can conceivably make a ton of research in one city. I'm wary of this, though, because I don't like relying on just one city to do my heavy lifting.

    Bear in mind that you can always shift your specialization later on. Got a city that was a GP farm and it ain't producing them fast enough? Grab a bunch of workers and turn it into a science city by cottaging the hell out of it. Or build a serious production city by (gasp!) putting down workshops. Note: you might want to do this AFTER your health infrastructure is built (hanging gardens, aquaduct, harbor, grocery, hospital, etc.).


    There's a LOT of stuff that can affect production of all sorts (hammers, beakers, and coins) in this game. The nice part about this is that, while it may seem overwhelming at first, it's pretty easy to grasp once you've got the basic concepts down. You don't HAVE to micromanage (I don't) in terms of "Well, this turn I want to finish this building, but not waste hammers, so I'll switch my population over to this square" and such, but specialization really is important now, and VERY helpful, actually.
     
  13. Solo4114

    Solo4114 Prince

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    You also have to distinguish between money and coins. Money is just that -- money. The money in your treasury. Coins are more of a generic "production" measure which can become either gold or beakers. A cottage-heavy city will produce a lot of coins. Those coins will be turned into beakers and money depending on your science slider.

    Note: even if you're generating only a small amount of money in a city, but a large amount of beakers, you can improve your money generation by building money-generating buildings (banks, markets, groceries). Likewise for beakers -- build more libraries, universities, observatories and you'll leverage a lot more beakers from your coins.


    Another thing to keep in mind is that, because of the dual usefulness of coins, you can approach tech accumulation from an entirely different (albeit somewhat risky) angle -- diplomacy. If you have a high amount of coins being generated in your empire, you COULD decide to focus less on research and more on money, then buy your techs from other civs.

    The danger and problem in this, though, is that (a) you're giving the AI more money, which they'll use against you, and (b) you won't be getting the "First to research gets [X]" techs. On the other hand, when you know you want one of those, you can always play with the science slider accordingly.

    Money's also extremely useful if you have a well-trained but ill-equipped army (IE: you're in the renaissance with City Raider 3 axemen or somesuch), since it'll let you upgrade your units accordingly.


    It's stuff like this -- the fact that you can adjust your strategy so many ways to acheive similar goals -- that makes me love Civ 4. :)
     

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