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Wonder builing strategy: Starvation

Discussion in 'Civ3 - Strategy & Tips' started by Fugitive Sisyphus, Dec 25, 2005.

  1. Fugitive Sisyphus

    Fugitive Sisyphus Escape Artist

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    There are times when you feel that you just have to get a wonder(usually the Great library or the Great lighthouse) but have to contend with the high shield discounts that the AIs get. Furthermore, there is always the risk that some AI will build a wonder that will cause another AI to "cascade" to the one that the human player wants.

    Yet the human player has some well known and well tested strategies that he can employ. Using the palace, the human player can "prebuild" the wonder he wants many turns before he is able to build it. The human player also can sacrifice the development of his other cities and use most of his workers to develop the wonder city and to quickly bring the city to a population of size 12. Another well known strategy is to temporarily take the wonder city off of high food tiles and onto high shield tiles so that the city has negative food per turn but does not starve. The human player can even try to manipulate the tech race in order to have a better chance at nabbing the desired wonder. But even these strategies may not be enough and the AI at levels such as Sid and Deity will often beat the human player to a wonder even if it is only by a few turns.

    So are there any other unconventional strategies that can be used to increase the human player's chance? There is. It may seem counterintuitive but, at times, it is beneficial to intentionally starve the wonder city to make the wonder build faster. When a city starves the citizens are automatically reassigned onto high food tiles and the population is lowered by one. The shields gained that turn are calculated using this new citizen arrangement. Usually this results in a loss of shields both from the reassigned citizens and the loss of population. But, if it is planned correctly, this process can be beneficial.

    The important thing is that if a city starves, no matter how little food it gets, it only loses one population point. So, the turn before starvation, put the citizens of the city on tiles to get the maximum number of shields no matter how much food the city will lose. Then go to all the neighboring cities and assign their citizens onto the high food tiles of the wonder city. This ensures that, when the wonder city starves, the citizens stay on the high shield tiles since their are no high food tiles available. The next turn, the wonder city starves but collects more shields than if it hadn't. Then use a spare worker to replace the starved population. Since workers can't be added when a city is starving, you will have to rearrange the citizens so that the wonder city has a net food surplus.

    This strategy works best in wonder cities with a lot of hills and/or mountains that it can't use normally due to lack of food. During despotism, forests and mined plains work just as well. This strategy also assumes that you have a tight city spacing. It might even be necessary to plant a few dummy cities to take up food tiles during the starvation turn. It is also possible to have teams of workers mining tiles for the starvation turn and then irrigating tiles for when the worker is added (this is easier to do later in the game). Also, be warned that the more extreme the player takes this strategy, the more resources that the wonder city takes from the rest of the civilization. Though, for a one city culture victory, this might not matter so much.

    This strategy might not be useful in all cases but it can often shave one turn off a wonder build fairly painlessly and that one turn can mean the difference between the Great Library and a very expensive temple on Sid or Deity.
     
  2. rysingsun

    rysingsun Chieftain

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    i like it ... it's clever. esoteric to be sure, but clever :)

    ... very very costly in workers but if you have a spot near your capital with say 12 mountain tiles and a river so you dont need an aquaduct, if you place a couple spare settlers to gobble up the food tiles and add 11 workers at the start plus one per turn you could be workering 12 mountains from the very first turn :D

    it done properly it can be done without violating HOF rules :king:
     
  3. drakdan

    drakdan Chieftain

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  4. Fugitive Sisyphus

    Fugitive Sisyphus Escape Artist

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    Hmmm. I don't view this as cheating as it works within the rules of the game.

    This strategy has nothing to do with hospitals or the city size limit or specialists. I don't even think this is possible (though I don't know for sure as I rarely get to hospitals and never build them when I do).
     
  5. Illusion13

    Illusion13 Chieftain

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    Working dogpile used to be something in Vanilla I think... With the newest version thats not even possible since I believe its within the rules to dogpile up to the city's optimum point... I think before you're allowed to add workers to a city even IF its starving...
     
  6. TruePurple

    TruePurple Civ wanna B

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    Yeah sounds like exploit cheese/cheat to me. Not to mention one more thing to add to micromanage hell that is civ 3. I've decided to limit random maps to small for this very reason.
     
  7. rysingsun

    rysingsun Chieftain

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    sure it's an exploit, but no more so than a palace prebuild. give the guy a little credit for cleverness :)

    besides, lets be honest ... in how many games is this technique actually going to help a guy? the cost in workers would be crippling early in the game (as would be worker dogpiling); later in the game a typical core city would have comparable production so it is of little use there too.
     
  8. drakdan

    drakdan Chieftain

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    The "Hospital" and the "specialists for score" parts strike me as secondary. The main exploit isn't just dogpiling for score in cities with hospitals, but dogpiling.
    According to this strategy you get enough food to support your high population and then let nearby cities steal high-food tiles, forcing that city to take high-shield tiles while starving. You can "dogpile" a city like that since you are adding to the city's optimum point, and then changing that point manually.
    As for how many games it could help you in, the worker managing and the low population end limits (6 or 12) do limit it, but I can see someone setting this up properly. How hard is it to make a size 6 city that makes a worker every turn or two turns? And how easy is it to shave off turns on producing that Sun Tzu if you can ignore food costs and put 5 guys on mined mountains?
     
  9. Fugitive Sisyphus

    Fugitive Sisyphus Escape Artist

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    OK, I definately agree that my strategy is an exploit.

    Relevant definitions of exploit according to dictionary.com:

    Check. It's the way to get the most shields out of a city.

    Check. Starving your citizens while working them to death isn't moral. Fortunately, this is a game :) .


    But exploit does not mean cheat. Civilization is a game where there is a set of rules. To win the player exploits the rules to his advantage. In certain cases, my strategy is the way to do it.
     
  10. TruePurple

    TruePurple Civ wanna B

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    Well in a multiplayer game it would be bad form to use it. It borders on cheating. Too much of this game already is about who micromanages the most and makes the most of game flaws.

    In a single player game it would be a pain in the ass. I play for the challange. So if I can't make a wonder before the enemy, then fine. I'll pony up the cash to find this out and stop making the wonder.

    Harder that way? Yes, but less work/more challange is fine by me.

    But yes the technique is clever. Never the less I'd never use it in a single game. And would consider it a cheat (albeit a minor one) in a multiplayer game, or game of the month game. Getting shields from starving citizens is clearly not how the game mechanics were meant to work.
     
  11. Beorn-eL-Feared

    Beorn-eL-Feared Idiot riding pedals

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    It's definitely an exploit, and will be banned from all competitions with "ethics" rules.
     
  12. drakdan

    drakdan Chieftain

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    Exploit = Unethical = Cheat
    It's not unethical because you're killing digital people, it's unethical because it's abusing the game's system.
     
  13. Fugitive Sisyphus

    Fugitive Sisyphus Escape Artist

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    I'm sorry but I still don't comprehend. Exploit, unethical, and cheat are not synonymous. It is not abusing the game system because it fairly (and creativly) uses the rules of the game. A cheat would be something that circumvents the rules of the game. I don't even think it is possible to do anything unethical in single player (its only a game!). In multiplayer it would be unethical to cheat but as per the definition of cheating, the strategy would not be unethical.
     
  14. TruePurple

    TruePurple Civ wanna B

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    No it abuses flaws in the game mechanics. Not rules. No reasonable arguement has been put forth explaining how starvation was ever meant as a way to produce shields. Its about the intent of the programmers.

    Lets say the code allowed you to gain shields in a city if you moved a unit left up down then right when one square below said city. Such would be a fluke in a poorly coded game, not "fair game".

    In a single player you can use some kind of code to automatically win without having to do a thing. But then that wouldn't be fun, you just "cheat" yourself.
     
  15. Fugitive Sisyphus

    Fugitive Sisyphus Escape Artist

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    Why is it a flaw in game mechanics? I am fairly certain that one-population loss per turn has been present in all versions of civilization. It seems to me to be an intended part of the game.


    Placing citizens for maximum amount of shields causes starvation, not vice-versa. Merely starving citizens does not increase shields.


    In that case using a palace prebuild, using massive amounts of artillery, using one scientist to do research, and countless other strategies are all cheating since I am sure the designers of the game never intended them to be used. Civilization is such a complicated game that is is impossible for the designers to intend every possible strategy.


    That would be called a bug. My strategy does not exploit any bugs in the game.


    Using my strategy does not guaranty a win. It does not even guaranty that you get the wonder. This strategy (like all strategies) involves a sacrifice for a benefit. You sacrifice population and shields from other cities to benefit the shield production of your wonder city. Your scenario does not involve a sacrifice of any type. If you think that my strategy(or any strategy) is "unfun" then of course you shouldn't use it. Just don't call it cheating for that reason.
     
  16. TruePurple

    TruePurple Civ wanna B

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    Some good points but..

    The reason you can only lose 1 pop per turn is under normal circumstances it was unlikely to be short more then a whole graineries worth of food in one turn. Thus as a time/effort/money saving measure they didn't bother to put in mechanisms that allowed more then 1 pop lose a turn. Not a invite to find ways to use that as a stratagy.

    On the other hand they very intentionally put in max 50 min 4 research limits. They very intentionally made artillery buzz off all but 1 hp if you have enough. Not that its easy or smart to make much but artillery so I don't even understand the comparison.

    You mean at the beginning of the turn the citizen starves and before you can arrange workers where you want it changes the citizens to max food placements and uses the resources of those squares?

    Sounds like a measure that was meant to be a antistarvation strategy mech twisted into a starvation "strategy". Creative? Yes, but its still exploiting a loophole, a flaw in the programming. A borderline bug.

    Granted its also limited, especially since any city you'd use to build a wonder, you wouldn't want to crowd like that. Which makes it not that useful for many players, a exploit, and yet more nasty micromanaging to deal with.. all at the same time! No thank you.
     
  17. Vanquisher

    Vanquisher Chieftain

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    That's an interesting idea but isn't it usually better to take already built wonders from rival civs than to go through the hassle of building them?
     
  18. Fugitive Sisyphus

    Fugitive Sisyphus Escape Artist

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    It is next to impossible to lose more than a whole graineries worth of food in one turn. A size 11 and 12 city needs 40 food to fill the grainery and grow. In the extremely unlikely event you have 12 mountain tiles used with a non-agriculture civ you lose 12(number of citizens) * 2(food each citizen consumes) - 2(free center square) = 22 food per trun. 22 < 40. So I do not see how your argument makes sense. Also, remember that no mater how much extra food a city gets per turn, it can only grow one population per turn. It makes sense that if a city can only grow by one per turn that it should only be able to shrink by one.


    I remember reading that the designers placed a min/max amount of turns so that it would be harder to run away with the tech race(no matter how small and undeveloped your empire is, there is a 40 turn minimum). However, many players use the minimum research rate to research a tech while intentionally allocating next to nothing to science and ranking in cash. Why is this not considered cheating while my strategy is?


    I (and I think many other players) produce a lot of artillery. With enough artillery you receive next to no casualties and cavalry can take out mech infantry. Do you think the designers intended this? Is this cheating?


    Yes.


    "It's not a bug, it's a feature!" ;). I view the one population per turn loss a feature. I still do not see why it would be a bug.


    I like to cram my cities in. If I have a spot in my core that has terrain for a super wonder-city, I like to put in three very good cities in instead of just one. The micromanaging does suck but if I really want the wonder, I'll do it.


    It is better to conquer the wonder, when feasible. It is not always feasible. There might be 12 AIs competing. Some of them may be across the world on another island. It might be a wonder like the Theory of Evolution or the Statue of Zeus. It might be the Great Lighthouse and you need it to find other civilizations. You might need the wonder now, not some time in the future. It might be the United Nations. And so on and so forth.
     
  19. TruePurple

    TruePurple Civ wanna B

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    3 very good cities where one would be on a commerce rich spot? What good would that do? :p Now on food and minerals i see your point, but only if you plan for a early victory.. anyways thats another discussion altogether.
    On an assault, if you have enough non artillery units to support them. Otherwise someone with a more balanced army might just take over all those artillery units, support free to boot! :) Against a human player, they might just take out any roads for your artillery to use. If we are talking about a balanced army then I think they intended a large army to be more effective then a small one.

    Civ has always been about the tech. So what ever cash you get from minimal researching, often isn't worth it to stay in the tech race. Especially with what the AI wants in cash for its techs sometimes. I get your point though.

    As far as using against players or in a gotm, since it only works for players willing to deal with annoying micromanaging in excess of that already presently required in the game to be competative and mostly only for those who do CxxC tight cities, even super cities, caps and so on... Its clear a number of us think its cheating. So by all means use it for your single games, but please leave it out of the rest.
     
  20. Fugitive Sisyphus

    Fugitive Sisyphus Escape Artist

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    I have never taken advantage of the multiplayer feature so everything I say is based on and biased to single player. I don't think either of us will convince the other what is cheating so I will stop arguing and merely thank you for making me realize that I it gets boring to find new ways to destroy the pathetic AI. I think I'll try to get into some multiplayer games for a real challange.
     

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