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[BNW] Yardsticks for a successful early game?

Discussion in 'Civ5 - General Discussions' started by IronCrown, Feb 27, 2019.

  1. IronCrown

    IronCrown Black Foe of the World

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    I played Civ 4 for thousands of hours, mostly with the BetterAI mod and later the k-mod which replaced the awful vanilla AI with a completely new one that is astonishingly good, better than the average human player. When Civ 5 came out, I immediately bought it but hated it, incomplete game and awful AI again. Had not touched it in many years now. Ignored Civ 6 for the same reason, since it is said that AI got even worse if that is possible.

    Well recently I saw that a couple years ago finally a real AI mod came out after the devs released the DLLs (why always so f'in late??). So I'm giving it a new try, also the DLCs seem to have completed the game.

    Anyway I still have trouble getting into Civ 5, I've restarted games like 30 times now because I always feel like I botched the start. But I'm not sure if I'm actually doing poorly or just can't get used to the pace of Civ 5. In Civ 4, early turns move rapidly, both in terms of the player doing very little and the turn processing happening in 1-2 seconds. And units and buildings are built quickly, and in a game with a good starting position I'm used to basically build everything my tech level allows as soon as it's available.

    In Civ 5 on the other hand things move at a glacial speed, there are always like ten things to build but only enough time to build one of them, everything takes forever to complete. And teching opens up new construction options way faster than I can make use of them. Workers are scarce and take forever to improve tiles.

    It just feels like I'm getting nowhere and after playing for a time where in Civ 4 I'd have six developed cities up, I still have one or two with an endless backlog of building options.

    All that said, when I look at the score, I seem to not be really far behind (playing only on King currently while learning), sometimes even leading after 80 turns. So maybe this is just how the game works and everyone is so slow?

    So what are your yardsticks for a decently successful early game with a tradition start? When do you reach certain milestones like number of cities or special building, and what do you consider to be those milestones? Especially for intermediate (King/Emperor) difficulty. I guess the beginner levels are very different, as are Immortal/Deity games. (I play on a standard-size continents map.)
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2019
  2. mbbcam

    mbbcam Prince

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    It's a looong time since I played Civ 4, so memories are very hazy. Equally, it is a long time since I played King, so I can only comment in a very general way. However, this resource seems to be fairly well respected, and will be a good start for a Tradition game (unless you are playing a modded version, in which case it depends on which mod you are using):

    https://forums.civfanatics.com/resources/tradition-three-cities-approaches-bnw.25617/

    For more advice, head over to the Strategy and Tips section of the forums.

    There seems to be a broad consensus that to win on Deity (which I am more familiar with) you only need to build three cities to start, and you need to get them settled by about T50. This should allow you to complete the National College (for which you need a Library in each city) by about T85-90. Some players beeline Education, while others will beeline Machinery in order to start a war with Crossbows. Another common strategy is to take Liberty, and beeline Construction to get Composite Bows early and start a war with a neighbour around T60-70. Ranged units are king in Civ 5, and you need to use them both in attack and defence. (Again, this applies to the unmodded game.) There are some good articles in the War Academy section of Strategy and Tips, which may help you. But if you aspire to play on the higher levels, forget about building everything -- the pressure from the AI (which gets big bonuses) means you have to concentrate on only building stuff that is necessary.

    Oh, and learning to steal workers from the AI is a useful technique.

    Good luck!

    PS -- this is a good video of an expert playing:

     
  3. so_what

    so_what Chieftain

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    1. Always know what victory you are going for. Civ 5 is all about planning ahead and getting the key techs for your victory ASAP.

    2. You don`t need so many wonders.

    2a. No wonder beats a fast 2nd city. (Usually start building 1st settler at population 3). It is still okay for the 3rd or 4th city be slightly late but 2nd city is very important.

    2b. Very few wonders are more important than your national college. The only 3 that have higher priorities are: Oracle on Tradition, Petra with obscene terrain, and Pyramids for liberty domination.

    3. Key benchmarks for tradition game (king, standard size, standard speed) ~ science victory or artillery rush on pangea map.
    Oracle by 85t, 3 city NC by 100t, education by 130t, if artllery rush (dynamite by 185t, win by 260t)

    For diety.
    Education by 100t, if artillery rush (dynamite by 140t, win by 200t)

    * Note these are benchmarks for realistically near optimal play. For lower levels you can probably still win despite not hitting the benchmarks.

    4. For tradition`s xbow rush, you can beeline machinery instead of education after civil service. You can get xbow around same time as the above education timing.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2019
  4. so_what

    so_what Chieftain

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    Resource link seems to be for bnw version 1.44 rather than 2.79.
     
  5. IronCrown

    IronCrown Black Foe of the World

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    Thanks for the feedback! In my current game I completed the National College by about turn 105 with four cities, so not too far off. I guess the main difference between Civ 4 and 5 is really the pacing, everything moves much slower in 5. Also the AI often does not seem to settle aggressively. In 4, if you didn't rush out your settlers quickly, there would be no land left to settle.

    Still not sure if I can put up with the AI though. Despite me being a beginner and the AI supposedly improved by the mod I use, they seem very stupid, passive and weak. In my game I'm already top score and leading in most metrics like pop, hammers, gold, science, only lagging in military and approval. I guess I'll play a little more to learn more about the mechanics and then start a new game on Emperor or Immortal.
     
  6. mbbcam

    mbbcam Prince

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    There seems to be quite a change in difficulty from Immortal to Deity. My experience of Immortal is that I could often play while half asleep and it didn't matter much. The AI is just as stupid on Deity, but the bonuses they get to production, science and all the rest make the game much more challenging. Good players still complain that the challenges are not enough (I'm not a good player) but you might like to try a Deity game with the Zulu and the Huns as neighbours and see how long you last :) And when playing on Continents I've sometimes got to the other one to discover that America has built or captured 25 cities while I only have three. So I'd just say be prepared for a step up when you try Deity. Settling space disappears very quickly on Deity. The AI starts with two Settlers, so they will have two cities by about T5. They will often settle a third by around T35. Some of them will then go on to settle every single space you can think of, including one-tile islands. Which then grow at a surprising pace because of the aforementioned bonuses. So I would say don't judge the Deity game by what you see on the lower levels. It is a somewhat different experience -- if you are a player with my limited abilities.
     
  7. so_what

    so_what Chieftain

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    Sounds like you know what`s the focus of the game, and once you get a hang of the mechanics, you should be good enough for at least immortal. Diety is actually a different game which is actually more of playing to the strength of civ, re-rolling to a legendary start, S/L and exploiting game mechanics. (Of course, there good players who don`t need to reroll or SL)
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2019
  8. IronCrown

    IronCrown Black Foe of the World

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    I guess so. I hope to have some fun while learning the game because I somehow expect to not enjoy it for long once I fully understand it. I just strongly dislike the standard Civ gameplay that was made for very weak players (the vast majority) who never make the effort to really understand the game, or are not capable of understanding it. For the small slice of strong players, civ gameplay always revolves around exploiting the weak AI after catching up on its insane head-start. That just isn't fun. Which is why the k-mod for Civ 4 was so great. You could actually use all the game mechanics because you did not have to give the AI much of a head start - you could play on a more level playing field much like in a multiplayer game, because the AI was capable of holding its own and actually outplay you with only slight bonuses.

    Ugh. It's really sad if someone who considers himself "not a good player" can win on the second-highest difficulty "half asleep" :(
     
  9. so_what

    so_what Chieftain

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    Ok.. maybe exploit is too strong a word. What I meant was that at diety you need to understand the details of the game mechanics and optimize (min/max) your every decision.
    It is definitely rewarding to win diety (for players who are more competitive) or immortal (for newer players who are somewhat competitive). Any levels below those 2 are mainly for casual players who wants to chill out.
     
  10. IronCrown

    IronCrown Black Foe of the World

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    Finally got a good game going that I didn't want to restart after 120 turns. I have to say that map conditions and starting location are more unpredictable than ever, apparently without anything in place that ensures every start is at least somewhat viable (Civ 4 placed extra resources if a generated start did not clear some minimum threshold). Many starts are absolutely awful, with no fresh water, no good tiles, few resources, sometimes even in the middle of barren tundra or desert, while other starts have everything in abundance. Rather poor design because it also affects the AI. For example in my current game one AI (Elizabeth) had a ridiculously bad start and consequently never got her empire off the ground, making her an easy victim and leaving a large part of the continent wide open because she could not effectively settle. When I conquered her capital, I didn't even want to annex it because it would have been my worst city.

    Still, after a while I had a lot of fun. In Civ 4 I always liked the early game most. In Civ 5, the very early game is not really that great, but after turn 150 or so it gets really interesting, so many options.

    And although I lead comfortably only playing on King, the AI players for the most part seem to act... well not smart, but at least not obviously moronic. At some point I'll have to start a game without the Artificially Unintelligent mod to see how big the difference really is.
     

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