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zero research gambit

Discussion in 'Civ3 - Strategy & Tips' started by Optional, Oct 30, 2007.

  1. Optional

    Optional Chieftain

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    If there's anything I'm still a newbie in, then it's this strategy: putting your sience slider at zero and beat techs out of the AI. I've read about it on these pages and it sounds simple enough. Well, so far I didn't get on with it too well!

    I chose the Vikings to try out this strategy, those Berserks seemed excellent for the job! So as soon as I got invention, I stopped researching and started harrassing. The Aztecs became the first victim; they had some nice coastal property, ideal for a Berserk invasion. After beating them out of 4 or 5 towns, I reckoned they would probably happily part with a tech to be left in peace. But what did Montezuma say? He said: 'I've got three words for you: 'Improve your medication!!!''
    I was starting to lag far behind in tech, and wasn't playing the game I wanted to play, so I abandoned it.

    Then the current game I'm playing. Not a game I set up to try the 'no research' strategy, but I accidentally rolled into it. I'm playing Rome, Emperor, continents, 11 opponants. Usually I'm playing with more opponants, and I stand no chance at the Republic slingshot, there's always some civ beating me to Philosophy. But here I noticed the tech pace started off slowly, so I thought: 'I might have a chance here, let's try and research Code of Laws here first. And it worked! I switched straight to Republic. Problem was: I only had a bunch of small towns, I couldn't support both units and a decent tech research at the same time.

    I had to make a choice, and I chose to go full out on military and zero on science. Legionaires! Attacked Portugal. Legionaire golden age. More Legionaires! Portugal at my feet in no time. But was Portugal willing to let go of a tech? No! Other civs were a couple of techs in the Middle Ages, I still had to start researching in that age. It proved not to matter. I signed a white peace with Portugal, picked up research again, and I noticed that research went rather swift, because I now had a big empire, generating lots of beakers. I quickly overtook the AI in the tech race.

    So it was a successful strategy, setting me up nicely. But was it a zero research strategy? I don't think so. The Republic slingshot and the Legionaire golden age made it work.
    I didn't exactly 'beat techs out of the AI'. I still don't feel that I master that. Any advice? Am I doing something wrong, or are the stories about sueing the AI for techs exaggerated?
     
  2. Bartleby

    Bartleby Remembers laughter

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    It's very difficult to get techs-for-peace after the ancient age, probably the best you can do is get a good discount on buying tech.
     
  3. gmaharriet

    gmaharriet Ancient Crone

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    I've only used zero research once, and that was in a Succession Game with team mates who knew what they were doing. As I recall, it wasn't so much about "pointy stick research" as it was about either buying or stealing techs from other civs, then getting other techs or gold by reselling the tech to civs who didn't have it yet. IOW, it was more about trading well.

    This game was played at Emperor level. I'm not sure how well it would work at lower levels, because the AI researches too slowly and never has any gold to buy the techs from you after you've purchased/stolen them someone else.
     
  4. vmxa

    vmxa Chieftain

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    Somewhere along the line they seemed to have patch the game and made techs for peace much rarer. The best way to do zero research is a) jsut going to kil everyone anyway b) steal techs with the cash and maybe peddle them around.
     
  5. rysingsun

    rysingsun Chieftain

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    i think the biggest reason to do zero research is just to prove it can be done. The exception is in the mid industrial age and beyond where stealing becomes the cheapest form of research if you are not yet caught up.

    In vanilla it was a lot easier to get tech for peace.
     
  6. Globex

    Globex President Scorpio

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    I find that the zero-research gambit is most useful in the Ancient Age and only in the Ancient Age. During that time, your cities are busy producing workers and settlers so they have low population and no libraries. Researching regularly in the Ancient Age is slow and inefficient. Most of the techs you get in the Ancient Age come from goody huts or from trading with other civs.

    This article in the war academy explains the zero-research gambit:
    http://www.civfanatics.com/civ3/strategy/zero_percent.php

    Once you have built all your core cities, are in Republic, and have libraries in cities that produce a lot of commerce, abandon the zero-research strategy and start researching on your own.
     
  7. Delphi456

    Delphi456 Chieftain

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    I'm in the Middle Ages in a zero-research game now. I captured 4 cities from the Dutch and killed dozens of their units. They wouldn't give me Education or Invention until I bombarded their capital and killed 3 swiss merceneries - then they offered one, not both. So I eventually captured their capital, hoping to get both. They still offered only one. I'm thinking I made a mistake taking their capital because now they won't have the ability to do tons of research for me. I should have been happy with just the one tech.
     
  8. Optional

    Optional Chieftain

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    Still, that doesn't sound too bad at all, Delphi.
    But yes, it is my experience as well that the AI is now and then willing to hand a tech for peace, but you cannot bank on it. It seems that the zero research strat is not strong enough to follow for long: too much fighting needed for too little return.

    But how did you plan to continue this game, Delphi? Did you set yourself the rule to try and go all the way without research, or are you allowing yourself to pick it up again?

    If I've learnt one thing so far it is this: A long drawn out war is bad for research, a short decisive one can be good for it. You're benefiting from the beakers in your newly conquered territory.
    So, paradoxically enough, it can be good for research to put your sience slider on zero for a while, postpone libraries, fully focus on your military and make that decisive war happen; grab that extra land, grab those beakers, sign peace, and then pick up research again and build libraries.

    I guess you vets out there already knew this, of course, but I'm in that happy period of civ playing where I've mastered the basics, but still have to learn about the finer touches. ;)

    Rysingsun, I found your comment about espionage interesting. That's another thing I've never gotten to in the game. I've always read in these pages it was too expensive to steal techs that way, but I guess it's another one of those things you have to learn to play well!
     
  9. Bede

    Bede Chieftain

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    I am afraid you have hold of the wrong end of the stick. The zero research game plan is not about warfare it is about commerce and trading. And you can win Military Victories or Space Races with it.

    A zero research game can sharpen your trading skills and teach you how to get the maximum commerce from an empire, two things you really need to know to play the levels above Monarch.

    And it doesn't really work on a difficulty level below Monarch, and Emperor is probably the best.

    At Demigod and above you have to run either minimum, or maximum when you can afford it, just to stay in the game. And stealing techs is a big help at Demigod and above when tech costs are so very high and espionage costs so little when you are in the Industrial and Modern Eras.

    "Pointy-stick" research is a venerable tactic and useful in the right situation, it is too weak a foundation to support an entire game.
     
  10. Delphi456

    Delphi456 Chieftain

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    Assume a game with 2 contintents. Would I be better off (1) completely destroyng the AI's on my continent, or (2) keep them just strong enough to do meaningful research, which I can use 'pointy-stick' on, and focus on fighting the other continent's civs?
     
  11. Globex

    Globex President Scorpio

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    I would choose the first option. If the AI nations on your continent are powerful enough to research effectively, then they pose a threat to you. Also, fighting on your own continent will be easier since you do not have spend time transporting your units across the ocean. Also, if you manage to kick of all of the other AI on your continent, then you don't have to worry a lot about your defenses since the AI doesn't really know how to fight on another continent.
     
  12. Delphi456

    Delphi456 Chieftain

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    My 7 armies can handle the three civs on my continent easily. I'm worried that if I destroy them completely I'll lose the 'pointy-stick' option. I'm 2 techs from astronomy so I can't safely get to the other cont yet. Conquest is my only vc. What are suggesting I do with the other cont?
     
  13. gmaharriet

    gmaharriet Ancient Crone

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    I wouldn't worry about using pointy-stick with the civs on your continent. I'll quote Bede here:
    If it were my game, I'd build a lot of suicide galleys to get to the other continent before Astronomy and trade with them. Meanwhile, after kicking the other civs off of MY continent, I'd build lots of specialist farms and make all the citizens taxmen, using the gold to buy/steal techs from the other continent until you are strong enough to destroy the them also. :D
     
  14. rysingsun

    rysingsun Chieftain

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    If they are "strong enough to do meaningful research" then they will trade that meaningful research with your enemies. They will also trade around their luxuries. So do yourself a favor and eliminate them. Every civ you kill off will slow down the tech pace of the remaining civs. And yes, all those science farms and extra unit support will you do you good.
     
  15. Bede

    Bede Chieftain

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    All that they said. Keeping another opponent alive just to use them as punching bags for "pointy-stick research" won't get you to your victory condition any sooner. It seems you have military superiority on your continent. Use it to remove your rivals. Doing so will reduce the cost of self-research and give you the land and luxuries you need to carry the waar to the other continent.

    At the same time put some boats in the water and find those other nations. Suicide the boats if you have to. Getting to them when you are at peace with the local rivals will open up trading opportunities between the continents and may allow you to pull of N-fer 1 tech trading deals. Once you have done that make the locals go away.
     
  16. Delphi456

    Delphi456 Chieftain

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    I apologize to all for not stating that I already HAVE made contacts with the other civs, via suicide. They only have one tech to sell.

    On my cont are...
    Rome: very weak, way behind in techs
    Dutch: weak, just sued for a tech
    Mayans: strong, just sued for a tech

    I am cranking out settlers to create tax farms, but it sounds like I should completely eliminate Rome (and others) because (according to Bede) this will lower the cost for ALL remainng techs? Please explain.

    I'm going to goad Dutch and Mayan a bit and see if I can get them to DOW.
     
  17. Bede

    Bede Chieftain

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    Tech cost is increased by the number of nations on the map who do not know a tech and decreased by the number who know it and are known to the player. At Regent level the impact of this calculation is nugatory as there is no additional cost factor applied. At Emperor and above the effect can be noticeable as you enter the Middle Ages and tech costs climb above 1000 beakers and the cost factor increases dramatically compared to Regent. (Cost factor is a multiplier applied to the human player's cost for technology at levels above Regent).

    Somewhere there is the formula for these calculations, but knowing the formula is less important than knowing the factors exist.

    And I smell opportunity in the situation description you provided. If the tech the other continent has to sell is not known to your neighbors you may be able to leverage that knowledge by brokering it through to your neighbors.
     
  18. Delphi456

    Delphi456 Chieftain

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    So Rome (which will always lag in techs) is artificially inflating the prices of remaining techs? Interesting. I guess I wipe them from the game.
     
  19. Aabraxan

    Aabraxan Mid-level Micromanager

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    This may be obvious, but I feel the need to add: this is assuming that your continent-mates have something worth trading for it and that you can get it as a reasonable price. If it's a monopoly on the other continent, it seems likely that the cost of buying it, as compared to what the civs on your continent have to offer, may make the deal cost-prohibitive. I frequently wind up waiting until (almost) everyone on the other continent has a tech before buying it up to sell back home.
     
  20. Bede

    Bede Chieftain

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    Now that is the kind of solid reasoning I like to see. Good addendum, Aabraxan.
     

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