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your first Great Prophet - shrine or super specialist?

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by teoks, Nov 14, 2005.

  1. teoks

    teoks Chieftain

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    i was just pondering about this question...im the type who always goes for at least 2-3 religions to support my early game land grab. i usually get my first two or three Great Prophets pretty early since i always build Stonehenge, Oracle, Chichen Itza (and possibly Sistine Chapel too) in the same city, and so far i have always mindlessly popped them into building shrines the moment they come out.

    but now ive been thinking whether it might be a better idea to convert the same 2-3 Great Prophets into super specialists instead. if not not mistaken, a converted prophet gives 2 hammers and 5 gold (and 3 beakers if using Representation, which i almost always do). that 5 gold would almost be equivalent to the profit from the shrine itself, AND you do not have to waste the time churning out missionaries which could be better devoted to building defense or more settlers, AND the city gets anywhere from 2-6 extra hammers per turn which is HUGE in the early game and would probably get you more of the early wonders before the AI do. the way i see it, unless u plan to sprawl to 15+ cities in the early game, making 3 prophet specialists gives a greater edge in the early game by freeing production while giving u enough gold to sustain your first couple of cities. in the long run shrines have more benefits by spreading religion, giving culture, and having more gold with alot of cities, the early game land grab is more imporatnt in my opinion and you can always go for the shrines after your third prophet.

    i haven't tested this yet, shall try it in my next game. what do u guys think of this?
     
  2. gakkun

    gakkun Warlord

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    If I founded a religion I always build the shrine so I get some nice early income. When it comes to your second GP and it's still early in the game you should probablly turn him into a super specialist while the long-term effect is longer. If you get him a bit later in the game then imo it's better to save them for a Goldden Age. But yeh all in all there's no 'superior' choice just personal preference I guess.
     
  3. dh_epic

    dh_epic Cold War Veteran

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    Sometimes I actually use my first great prophet to nab Theology -- just to keep Christianity away from an AI. This can help your diplomatic situation greatly.

    Otherwise, you should always try to build at least one shrine if you can. They can generate HUGE gold if you spread the religion with those missionaries.
     
  4. Tharak

    Tharak Chieftain

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    Since I use my missionaries to convert the AI to my religion (in every game I've played on nobel I've been able to convert at least 50% of the AI, and have 50% of the world under my religion), the shrine has always been the best option. This strat (if you can do it) generates more than just the income from the shrine, because the bonus to diplomacy is HUGE - its usually a -3 to -4 for being the wrong religion, and anywhere from +3 to +6 for the same - up to a 10 point swing, results in HUGE money/tech/resouce deals..
     
  5. Dairuka

    Dairuka Prince

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    Specialist.

    Every beaker counts in the Ancient Era, and shrines produce only surplus gold, not technology beakers. In most Ancient Era cases as I refuse to spend production on building missionaries that early in the game. I usually wait until Renessaince before pumping out missionaries.
     
  6. Harv72b

    Harv72b Prince

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    Shrine, and it's not even close.

    If you settle him as a super-specialist, you get a 2 hammer/5 gold per turn boost, which is admittedly nice. Using him to discover a technology is also nice in theory, but is founding Christianity/Judaism really going to be the difference-maker in your game?

    By building the shrine, you get a permanent per turn increase in gold--1 per turn per town with that religion. The shrine helps to spread your religion faster, meaning that between your own empire and spreading to AI civs, you'll quickly be making more per turn than the 5g you'd get by settling the prophet. It gives you the immediate option of creating up to 3 priest specialists in that city, each of whom give you their own increase in production, gold, and great people points. Best of all, the shrine gives that city 4 culture points per turn (a huge boost at that stage in the game) and added great people points (as do the priests).

    Once you run out of shrines to build, that's the time to use your great prophets as super-specialists.
     
  7. Dairuka

    Dairuka Prince

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    Discovering Christianity, Confucianism, Taoism, or Islam is very important, as it could net you even more money in the long run. Not to mention the cost to discovering them is larger; due to them being classical era technologies.

    On higher difficulties researching multiple religions is difficult; especially as researching nothing but religions will force you into last place for the rest of the game due to a lack of Writing; Alphabet; and Metal Casting. Three VERY important technologies in the early game.

    While you're following your chosen research line to get one of those three, you could use your great leader to earn a free religion for no cost to you. Great Prophets are dime a dozen in most games, as pretty much everybody gets the wonder that allows you +1 production for every priest specialist.

    I usually get around 7-8 Great Prophets before I hit the Modern Era in most games, and I never play Philosophical trait leaders.

    I would personally use the specialist for the 5 gold per turn boost; as in the early game, it will mean 5 more beakers to research, which is usually one less turn I have to wait for a technology. Also note that the 2 extra hammer production in a city of 3, with only 6 hammer production is HUGE, very huge. You can keep your shrine, and I'll make more horse archers and catapults than you to tear it down.

    Later on in the game, it adds onto the rest of the money you earn for that city. Throw in Marketplaces, Grocers, Banks and Wall Street, you have yourself a boost that not even religion on a huge map type could add up to.

    Shrines are great for spreading your religion early on, but monetarily? they suck for early games. They're only useful during the renessaince era when it's diplomatically and production/fiscally sound to spread your religion around to other countries.
     
  8. teoks

    teoks Chieftain

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    i forgot that shrines gave hammer-producing priests (hammerdins?), but those arent free specialists so you would have to sacrifice city growth or something.

    my point was that if you wanted to earn that 5GP from religion rather than a prophet specialist, you would have to build missionaries to spread it to at least 5 cities. like dairuka said, in that time u might have used to build those 5 missionaries, i could have built 5 swordsmen and probably went off to pillaging and sacking for more gold.

    theres no doubt that shrines are better in the _long run_ but you gotta ensure you can actually survive that long. having 3 shrines and earning 30 gold per turn in the early game wouldn't save you from 10 rampaging praetorians :lol:
     
  9. Dairuka

    Dairuka Prince

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    You can always build shrines later. I highly doubt that your first Great Prophet will be your last.

    Just use your first one wisely; making a shrine right away is not using him wisely.
     
  10. BearMan

    BearMan One More Turn...

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    Ehm ? I'm really happy if have the time to found ONE religion, but sometimes I manage to found 2 (monarch level, not starting with mystisism).

    Once I have a state religion , there are often alot more important things to go for then a second religion.
     
  11. Dairuka

    Dairuka Prince

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    BearMan.

    Prior to the Industrial Era; For every religion in your city, you have access to a building with +10% to research production. I believe Money = Research. The money produced by shrines goes towards your funds and not research. It does not get split into research/culture like normal money, it's instead pooled into your funds directly.

    That brings me to my next point. Research > Funds in Ancient Era. Therefore the only benefit you'd get from funds is if you expand too quickly; something which I would never recommend in the Ancient Era on a later difficulty. Your only real excuse for doing this is to grab a crucial resource, or to block an opponent's expansion. Even then it'll cost you.

    On Emperor Difficulty, the 10% research bonuses are a huge boon; Even if they only mean an extra 5-6 research points; something which a shrine does not provide. Which is why I tend to go for at least 2 or 3 of the later religions since I almost never play as the Inca's or a Spitualistic trait nation. If I do happen to be playing a Spiritualistic Nation {If I choose random for the leader choice}, I tend to get all three early religions.

    If you don't capitalize on every +% research bonus, you won't lead technology races in the later difficulties. Especially on the Pangea maps where you'll be drawn into wars twice in every era if not more.

    Still. What I'm describing is merely a variant to my traditional, "Turn him into a specialist for an immediate research and hammer production bonus."

    Shrines aren't worth the trouble in the Ancient Era; which is when you get your first Great Prophet. Save the shrine for the Renessaince when you have the extra means to spread your religion.

    Just something to think about.
     
  12. rayw69

    rayw69 Chieftain

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    I think the answer to this question depends entirely upon the length time between the generation of your first and second prophet.

    The people who believe shrines are the way to go are severly underestimating the value of 2 hammers and 5 commerce in the early game. Even if you are able to spread your religion to 5 cities instantly after the creation of the shrine, 5 gold does not equal 5 commerce.

    However, if for some reason, you play style results in a extremely long number of turns before another great prophet is generated, there is definitely an argument for making the shrine.

    FYI, I do make the shrine for the culture boost it provides in the early game, if my religion is founded in a city that is a "land whore" city.
     
  13. SwedishChef

    SwedishChef Philosopher Chef

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    I just double checked this in my current game, where I have both the shrine and a great prophet super specialist in my home city.

    BOTH the income from the building AND the specialist are gold, NOT commerce. Your base commerce is the sum of the commerce on the tiles being worked + trade routes + 8 for your palace in your capital. At least at the stage I'm at in this game there are no commerce-generating buildings at all.

    You can load up your own game, double click a city and just mouse over the numbers in the upper left corner for science, culture, and gold. You'll see a pop-up talking about your base commerce and modifiers. In the gold section you'll see the calculation as your tax percentage of your base commerce + the affects of buildings and specialists. That's where you'll see both the shrine and super specialist income. (I believe regular priest specialists are the same, too - straight to gold, not commerce.)

    I don't know what the heck is wrong with Firaxis that they used the same graphic for gold and commerce and didn't distinguish clearly between the two.

    I don't have a strong opinion on the question at hand. I think it may depend a lot on how early you get that prophet, what difficulty level you're playing, and how you're sitting for gold and hammers.

    My reflex was to use them to build the shrines, and I've usually had the opportunity to burn hammers spreading the faith.

    But the question that interests me more is this one. (Presume you're playing on a level of difficulty where it's actually pretty challenging to build wonders, so you don't have many, if any, Great Person points coming from those.) How should you go about creating specialists in your cities? I hate to do it, and this seems to really slow up my acquisition of great people.

    If I can get 2 food and 1 hammer out of a tile, or vice versa, I don't really want to take a citizen off of that tile to become a specialist. It seems like I want my capital to be size 8 or greater before I can bring myself to create my first specialist, though it does vary a bit based on how good the terrain is and how much I've been able to improve it.

    Maybe I'm staring at a tile with maybe 1 food 1 hammer and 1 commerce on it, and if I make a priest I'm turning that 1 food into 3 Great Person points. The rest is a wash. I'm so used to the "food is power" thinking of civ3 that this is hard for me. (I'm in the middle of the first game where my growth was relatively unimpeded by enemies, and I choked the crap out of my economy by building too many cities too quickly - it's going to be hard to break some of my civ3 habits.)

    Either my cities are growing and I want every bit of food I can get, or I've stopped them (due to happiness) and need to feed that stagnant population. So when I go to take somebody off the land to make a priest, I rearrange the worked tiles to feed the masses and look at my low hammer production and that swordsman (or whatever) being more slowly built and I just feel sick.

    I'm not saying I think it's wrong to make specialists. I'm just saying I have a hard time figuring out when it's best to do so, especially early in the game. And I'm not sure how much great people are "worth" in the middle game. When it costs 300 GP (or 600) points to make a great person, that's 100 turns (or 200) of 1 specialist in a city. Sure, if the only space that guy can work is ocean, I guess I'd be willing to trade 1 commerce and 1 food for 3 science +3GPP or for 1 gold and 1 hammer +3GPP, but when I have to give up a square with 3 food/hammers and maybe even a commerce...

    Anybody notice how many wasted GPP you end up with? Since the cost goes up with every GP you get, I have a bunch of cities which are earning GPP so slowly they NEVER produce a great person all game, because 1 or 2 "big gun" cities are cranking them out at a much higher rate.

    Think I raised more questions than I helped answer, hmm... sorry.
     
  14. Heroes

    Heroes Heroes of Might and Magic

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    I think it is important to use one and only one city to generate GP. Its best location is around some floodplains, so you can have more than enough food, and don't lose any hammer early on. In the late age you can build watermills for hammers. Plus state property, they even get 1 more food.
     
  15. Astax

    Astax Prince

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    In multi I use him to get theology! So I'm free to get feudalism, and with feudalism theology and construction plus agressive I just steamroll whoever in ancient :)
     
  16. monkspider

    monkspider Warlord

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    You should always build a shrine, without question. The early game is probably where money is the tightest since your cottages haven't bloomed into towns, and you haven't discovered banks/markets yet. Building a shrine can make the difference between keeping up or falling behind in technology, especially on higher difficulty levels.
     
  17. teoks

    teoks Chieftain

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    ehh? i thought GP super specialists are super because they are free and always there, without the need to use population to activate them like normal specialists? someone please tell me i'm right =/
     
  18. Skippa

    Skippa Noble

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    Here's another idea. Has anyone else found that when they build a shrine that the respective religion spreads much faster, especially to cities with no religion at all?

    My last game I founded Hinduism and Judaism (started as Montezuma). I got the Great Prophet and made the Temple of Solomon. Now 4 of the 6 civilizations have Judaism as their state religion because it just spread like wildfire to all the states without a religion. This has happened in another game that I played as well.

    Don't underestimate an early Shrine. They can cause an increased religious spread, making diplomatic relations better and getting +1 gold for each of the cities holding the religion.:goodjob:
     
  19. Pentium

    Pentium Digital Matter

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    You're right ;).

    An early shrine can be very important, especially if you're the only one on your continent to found an early religion (Buddhish or Hinduism). As Skippa pointed out, they do spread your religin (at least it's said so in its description), helping both relations and economy.

    OTOH, a specialist gives +2 hpt (hammers per turn, just can't get used to it) and 5gpt. That 5gpt is usually less than you'd get with a shrine. If you desperately need hammers, specialist might be useful, but I think advantages of spreading your religion outweights that 2hpt.

    And then is the last option, the free tech. Sometimes you can use him for a religion tech, which I think is a good option. Also, if you're in a neck-a-neck tech race or going for fastest finish SS/UN, that tech can be very useful. Once again, it depends on your playstyle.

    So, I first build shrines, and then decide according to my priorities between specialists and techs.
     
  20. Astax

    Astax Prince

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    What the hell are you talking about? If I play a duel map I have 3 citeis, 4 MAX. Yeah let me build a friggin shrine so I get a nice +1 gold per city... It may be what you do, but GPs have more than one option for a reason.
     

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