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Why is everyone so obsessed with Education/Mysticism?

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Fall from Heaven' started by Ekolite, Jul 23, 2008.

  1. Ekolite

    Ekolite The Mighty Jungle

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    Hi, I find that many people are set into always bee-lining for Education or Mysticism. This is a thread that will hopefully provide other early game strategies that avoid a direct Bee-line. If anyone has any, please post them.

    Actually, I tend to find that in situations where you have a lot of caledar resources around and you are playing a civilization like the Grigori who don't start with Ancient Chants, it is actually better to go Agriculture -> Calendar. This provides you with a decent amount of good commerce tiles and the food needed to work them. This partcularly applies to Epic speed where it would take too long to go Ancient Chants -> Education/Mysticism and (I think) cottages take longer to develop. You can then fund further expansion using Markets at Festivals and increase your average city size with Carnivals, this in my expirience makes up for not having City States straight away. It also allows you to run a higher science rate then you probably could otherwise, making up for not having cottages.

    Having the Creative trait wold provide a useful synergy with this strategy. You wouldn't need Obelisks, which are provided at Mysticism, and your culture could be further bosted with Carnivals, (At Festivals). Carnivals provide only a percentage increase in culture as opposed to base culture and so would ordinarily need the Palace or Obelisk buildings (in the early game) to have any effect on culture.

    From here (Agriculture -> Calendar -> Festivals) you have a free shot at Drama, at which you get a free great bard, long before any other player or AI will. This is priceless on very congested maps, or if you have a big culture neighbour such as the Balseraphs on your doorstep. A culture bomb in the right city can be perfect for flipping nearby un-develloped cities or giving you a little breathing space for expansion.

    However, the other benefits given at Drama (theatres, the theatre of Dreams, and the big culture increasing item that I can't remember the name of) will be far too expensive in terms of hammers to build this early on in the game. However, if you can, at any point in the near future, (soldiers of Kilmorph, slaves from slavery, Remnants of Patria, w/e) then you will have far superior culture to you neighbours.

    Due to the price of the benefits of Drama, though. I find it best to put of researching Drama unless you realy need a culture bomb right now (maybe if you're being cut of from expansion room by another civ and they are too strong for you to attack. You will still almost certainly be the first to get drama so you can generally put it off for a while to research other important techs. I've found that going Crafting -> Mining (and maybe Bronze Working) is good. This gives you added production, maybe you will then be able to grab a theatre ;). It also sets you up for getting Runes of Kilmorph, giving you Soldiers of K and extra gold for expansion from the temples. Obviously, you now have mysticism, but you still don't have education, and it will be a while before you need it.

    I think this is probably the perfect early-game strategy for the Balseraphs, who get extra benefits from Festivals and have the creative trait (at least at the start, or if you play Keelyn). They also have other reasons for getting slaves, to fill their freak shows.

    Just my 2 several cents.
     
  2. rocklikeafool

    rocklikeafool Warmaster

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    I actually agree with you.
     
  3. Ecofarm

    Ecofarm Deity

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    Build worker.

    Make farms.

    Work farms.

    Build settler, worker, settler.

    Make cottages (preferably in forests or on a river).

    GodKing, run sage (academy).

    Work cottages.

    Play game.

    Spoiler :
    Rare exceptions, for example: above.

    Balseraph

    Education, Mysticism, then I'll get FoL and an academy. After the academy I don't run a specialist until festivals. Then I'll bulb drama and create the FoL shrine with the free bard.
     
  4. rocklikeafool

    rocklikeafool Warmaster

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    Tho I did think of one exception to your argument. Sometimes people over-expand. So, the civic "Citystates" from Education gives you a way to cut down on all that distance from capital stuff.
     
  5. onedreamer

    onedreamer Dragon

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    The best strategy is to NOT have an initial strategy. Initial strategies are likely to be screwed or to screw you. Also, everything depends on your civ and your leader, the other civs and their leaders, the game options you chose, your starting position, and last but not least your mood. The AI makes maths and has initial strategies, and it's fairly easy to screw and too predictable and boring. Most discussions on this kind of strategies look like AIs speaking to each other.
     
  6. Ekolite

    Ekolite The Mighty Jungle

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    Well, at the moment, most people do use an initial strategy: Get education as fast as possible. I just wanted to prove that there are times when it is better to do something else.
     
  7. Zechnophobe

    Zechnophobe Strategy Lich

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    It's pretty rare though.

    Sometimes you'll start near a bunch of, say, wine, and then crafting looks a lot better. Very rarely will Calender be worth it.

    I don't know of many people who would say that you must *always* get education first, since that sort of denies the relevence of your starting area. But I think it is a pretty good rule of thumb. And generally for civ/starts/etc that don't want education, than mysticism is best, due to the pretty major production boon.
     
  8. Ekolite

    Ekolite The Mighty Jungle

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    I admit that a calendar strategy basically relies on cotton and reagants (calendar resources on open terrain) being in your starting area. Kinda rare, I know. I do think there is potential in a market rush strategy though. Maybe if they were moved to calendar?
     
  9. Zechnophobe

    Zechnophobe Strategy Lich

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    Why market rush when you can get Elder Council's from Mysticism, which give the same net gain?
     
  10. Marksman77

    Marksman77 Aethernaut

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    Research path should be driven by your starting terrain and it's much more likely that you will benefit more from cottages than from plantations. It's very rare that you'll have 2-3 "plantationable" resources that are not covered with forest or jungle.

    One advantage of plantation over cottage is that when it gets pillaged by barbarians you only lose few turns of gain. In case of cottages you also lose money that you would gain if your cottage wasn't pillaged and therefore was more mature.
    Uff, it's not easy to write such sentences in a foreign language :)
     
  11. Blackmantle

    Blackmantle King

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    As stated somewhere else: Reducing the yield of cottages and upgrades by -1 and making them available from the start + adding 1 to the yield of each stage at education whould fix the extremely high value of education and also perhaps will help most AI. Especially those not prioritizing Education.

    So if that whould be seen as a problem a very solid fix has already been proposed (and also reportedly tested by some of those proposing such a change. With good results according to them.). And one who doesn't really make education much weaker by itself.

    Rushing Drama imo isn't very worthwhile since rarely an AI focuses on getting it. Most of the time (if balseraphs aren't in the game, they do seem to try to get it at least with some effort) you can still get the bard around Turn 180-200 (normal speed) even on immortal (sometimes even deity). Thats not hard to do without bulbing Drama with a Bard (and without prioritizing Drama even.).

    As it is now only a few civs like Khazad have a real incentive to go festivals / markets first by default instead of education / mysticism on an average start. Calender-recources or lots of wine / gold and the likes excluded.
    And starting position is always a factor naturally.
    (The odd time it might even pay off to go conqering / pounding an oponent aka beelineing bronze working and get most techs by forcing favorable conditions on an oponent on peace. Though that requires your "victim" having researched / traded trade before you make peace.)
     
  12. darrelljs

    darrelljs Immortal

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    I find the City States and Agriculture civics too juicy. It's like getting State Property and Biology in the early part of the game. Between those two civics you can expand faster and to a much larger size than is possible in BtS. So for me Agriculture/Ancient Chants -> Education is my normal research path, and I use the mobility of the Settler to ensure I can build lots of grassland farms. The only real exceptions would be:

    1. The Elves, where I don't build farms, but still go for Education to get cottages going.
    2. Flauros, where I run Aristocracy and therefore still need Education
    3. If I have grassland Wines; then I will grab Crafting first if I don't start with it.
    4. If I have Gold or Gems, I'll often grab Mining prior to going for Education.

    Calendar resources? Silk and Cotton are usually food poor. Incense and Reagents require later techs to unlock the happy bonus. Dyes are always buried in the Jungle. I don't think I've ever researched Calendar prior to Bronze Working (again, the elves are a big exception).

    Darrell
     
  13. MondSemmel

    MondSemmel Chieftain

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    Actually, doing the same with Farms (i.e. they would essentially give you no food themselves, but hooking up ressources with them would still you give +2 or so food; Agriculture would give you the normal benefits of farms) might be cool.


    The early game is dominated by maximizing city yields - Agriculture first is probably a no brainer if you have any farmable food ressources and/or rivers. (This is IMO a bigger problem than Education - is there any common situation where you won't research Agriculture first if you don't start with it?).
    Then I'll want to maximize commerce gains to increase my teching speed fast - if you start with Crafting and have Gold close to you, that obviously makes more sense than Ancient Chants -> Education, for example (as an added benefit, you can mine empty hills and perhaps rush a neighbor). If you start with Ancient Chants or Agriculture instead of Crafting, Education might already be better (but I'm not sure about that...).
    Then I want to build an additional city, which will need culture - and unless you are Creative, you will probably need Obelisks. If you don't have Ancient Chants, you will need it now (and then Education is only one tech away again).
    Starting locations (as above) and traits probably have the biggest impact on early tech decisions - Philosophical -> elder councils and libraries, for example, so Mysticism, Education, Writing; Financial -> Festivals for markets; Creative means you don't need Obelisks (but honestly, Carnivals aren't that great until you can't hook up any more happiness ressources with other techs); Financial makes Markets more valuable, but it improves Cottages even more, so Education is still a safe decision, etc...
    I still suck with the tming for Mysticism and the Great Sage, though - but sadly the FFH AI isn't strong enough to punish mistakes like that yet.
     
  14. onedreamer

    onedreamer Dragon

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    If you have silk in your starting area (pretty common) AND you play an Alfar civ, Calendar is really a must. If I'm not wrong, Alfar even start with Agriculture, or at least one of the 2 civs. You may even pop it at your first hut (this particular situation has happened to me once :p). Huts are another element that can easily influence initial strategies, and it can't be predicted...

    - You may want extra gold instead of extra science, for a number of reasons.
    - You play a Financial leader which builds Markets faster.
    - You can build Festivals with the same tech which can easily increase your cities pop of 50% on Emperor diff. (4 happy, +1 from Festivals, +1 from Lions).
     
  15. wig

    wig Warlord

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    If I'm playing a financial civ with a good ocean starting spot (2+ resources), I'll often go exploration--> fishing --> mysticism --> OO.

    A single gold resource, or a gem resource in the clear (pretty rare in FfH) can convince me to beeline mining, especially if I'm playing an early aggresive civ.

    Don't forget incense in the calendar strategy. It's far superior to reagents from a commerce standpoint.

    Mostly I agree with One Dreamer. Be flexible; don't be afraid to switch your early research path if you pop a technology that opens a new opportunity.
     
  16. Ahriman

    Ahriman Tyrant

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    I find that most of the time most bonus resources start in a forest tile (especially silks), and so you can't plant them until bronze working.

    Besides, calendar will only let you get commerce from a handful of tiles, whereas cottages can be built all over the place.
     
  17. rocklikeafool

    rocklikeafool Warmaster

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    That the key right there as to why people rush for Mysticism.
     
  18. orlanth

    orlanth Storm God. Yarr!

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    I like being limited by choices in what I can build early and think the current tech tree works pretty well, but in agreement with others I am finding myself often dependent on Ag, Myst, and Ed.

    Agriculture is so vital because it simultaneously gives both the base +1 :food: from Farms and +1 :food: from the Agriculture civic; likewise Education gives both Cottages and City States. Maybe having these civics under separate techs ("Land Enclosure", etc?) would make early choices harder, & allow a more extensive tech tree which is always good for epic games. I like the idea of being able to build primitive low yielding Farms/Plantations/Cottages etc fairly early on, then eventually unlocking techs providing a +1 yield from individual resources/improvements.

    City States and Elder Councils are so valuable because they are the only things that can compensate for the maintenance drain of having more than a few cities; otherwise you can rapidly find yourself unable to afford any research to get out of that situation.

    I remember someone suggested elsewhere to start with limits on the maximum % you can set gold and research sliders to, and gradually relax these by civics or government technologies a la Sid Meiers Alpha Centauri; I agree this could be a cool way to differentiate gold and research so they're less interchangeable. OTOH, this would be an annoyance if a temporary lack of gold forced disbanding of units etc.. I can't remember exactly how SMAC handled this mechanic, but it did work rly well.
     
  19. Sureshot

    Sureshot Goddess

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    water would be much more viable if the +1 food came sooner or easier i.e. either less research cost for sailing (think sailing is a tier 2 tech in vanilla civ) or much cheaper lighthouses (ffh lighthouses cost nearly 3 times as much as vanilla civ) or if fishing was a tier 1 tech
     
  20. westamastaflash

    westamastaflash Lord Commander

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    Great Merchants.... +1 Food... Even if since food is so abundant here it's a bit less important, but that +1 Food is so nice to have.
     

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