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Author Topic: Getting into Civ 4 (+BTS) for the first time  (Read 6992 times)
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Jeff
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« Reply #40 on: July 07, 2008, 04:27:18 PM »

Thanks Freezer, I'm really learning a lot from you guys and I appreciate the help.

I don't have construction yet, and not sure I can even choose it. I may need something else first. I completely forgot about the Civilopedia, i just jotted down a note to remember F12.

I have now spotted catapults heading my way. It doesn't look good with him having those, and mounted units and I have neither. One big lesson learned is that if the Vikings are your neighbor, go military early on  nod

Off to work, more turns tonight.

thanks again to all for the excellent advice.
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Asharak
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« Reply #41 on: July 08, 2008, 12:31:14 AM »

Quote from: Jeff Jones on July 07, 2008, 01:13:54 PM

No, I'm not able to build catapults yet. At least I don't think I can. I can build a workshop, but haven't done so yet. I'm really not sure what branch I need to go down to get them.

Workshops are actually tile improvements - like farms and mines - and not directly related to catapults. I'd actually recommend against building any workshops early: they trade food production on the tile for extra hammers. Initially, it's a 1:1 swap, which means you aren't really gaining anything. They do get quite useful later in the game, though, when some tech and civics can increase the ratio to three or four hammers for one less food - also, when you get Biology, which increases the benefit of farms to +2 food, workshops get more "affordable".

You get catapults, if my memory is working right, through ... --> Writing --> Alphabet --> Mathematics --> Construction.

Others have already given you good advice regarding dealing war/invasions. If you ever want really specific advice about such things, the best thing to do is post a saved game file so that we can take a look at your game directly.

- Ash
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Jeff
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« Reply #42 on: July 08, 2008, 01:43:40 AM »

Ah, ok. Mathematics is a current option, so I'll pick that next and then construction. I'll be lagging behind the vikings militarily for a while, but hopefully I'll be able to catch up before he does too much damage.

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Jeff
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« Reply #43 on: July 08, 2008, 02:24:53 PM »

Quote from: Asharak on July 08, 2008, 12:31:14 AM

Others have already given you good advice regarding dealing war/invasions. If you ever want really specific advice about such things, the best thing to do is post a saved game file so that we can take a look at your game directly.

- Ash

Any suggestions as to where I can host my saved game where others can easily get it? I don't currently have any webspace.

edit found a nice site called filedropper. Hopefully people can get this without need of an account.

Jeff, 710 AD England

Any tips or strategies/advice etc would be very much appreciated.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2008, 02:34:38 PM by Jeff Jones » Logged
Asharak
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« Reply #44 on: July 11, 2008, 10:40:22 PM »

Jeff - these thoughts are probably rather outdated now, because of the downtime, but here's how I'd handle that war:

Lacking catapults, I think you're largely forced to fight a defensive war initially. Fortunately, you have longbowmen (and a significant edge in that regard, since Ragnar doesn't even have Monarchy yet), so I'd initially mass-produce them and give them as many City Garrison promotions as you can (I notice you're already starting to do this). With the enemy a hell of a long way from crossbowmen/macemen, two or three of each in your frontier cities should hold off most incursions.

In the mean time, a couple incidental notes:

1) I noticed you have a settler heading north all by his lonesome. On the higher difficulty levels, you'll find you always want to escort settlers with at least one defensive unit. The frequency of animal/barbarian appearances increases as you go up the ladder - not to mention the obvious issue with founding an unprotected city in the middle of wartime. It likely won't bite you in this game but, at Noble/Prince or higher, sending an civilian into the fog without a guardian is asking for trouble.

2) Do you have any idea how good the defenses in Bjorgvin are? It might be worth sacrificing that already-injured archer by moving him onto the hill by the city to see if it's poorly defended (as I would normally expect a newly-found, marginal city to be). If he only has an archer or two there, you ought to be able to take the city without siege units, which would nicely pen Ragnar into whatever land is east of you. Just send 2-3 units for each defender he has there (2 per defender will be plenty if you can send swordsmen with City Raider promotions) and it should fall easily.

3) Focus your promotions. I noticed a couple axemen with City Raider bonuses. That's probably better given to swordsmen, who already have an natural bonus in that area to stack with it. For axes, I like Combat 1 and then Shock, which gives them +10% Strength and +75% versus melee units.

Once you finish researching Construction, I'd switch production to catapults and prepare to attack Birka. Securing Ragnar's supply of horses for yourself will obviously be a big advantage (in fact, it will probably be enough to get you a peace treaty if you want it). In terms of taking the city, I'd recommend three or four catapults and a force of primarily swordsmen - with City Raider promotions - at least two units larger than his defensive force. If the city's defensive bonus grows to +40% before you can attack, you'll definitely want four catapults but, if it's still at +20%, then three might do (two to bombard and one to attack and do collateral damage before your main units engage).

Anyway, that's probably enough rambling about things that are no longer relevant/helpful.

- Ash
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Jeff
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« Reply #45 on: July 12, 2008, 02:42:56 AM »

Out of date or not, I still very much appreciate the save-game feedback, so thanks Ash. The war is still ongoing, some 1000 years later, but is winding down now with Ragnar and company down to his last 2 cities. I lost a LOT of men along the way, though. It was quite a bloody thousand year period. I made a lot of mistakes and learned a lot of lessons, and so Warlord seems like a good skill level for me to learn at.

I'm up to 1700AD or so now, and just trained my first gunpowder units and I should gain in strength greatly once I finish off the Vikings and have no one around but me to claim all that land and resources.

Noob question - how do you decide whether or not to raze cities that you take? what are the pros & cons of razing vs installing a new governor?

The war cost me a lot of time and resources, and I didn't particularly enjoy it. It seemed like an endless production of military units, a lot of give & take, and battles with lots of deaths and not much gained for either side. This was no doubt due largely to my inefficiency, but as I say, lessons were learned.

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« Reply #46 on: July 12, 2008, 03:57:55 AM »

Quote from: Jeff Jones on July 12, 2008, 02:42:56 AM

The war is still ongoing, some 1000 years later, but is winding down now with Ragnar and company down to his last 2 cities. I lost a LOT of men along the way, though. It was quite a bloody thousand year period.

That's something I really love about Civ4. Getting into the whole in-character or 'in-civ' bit of the game. That was a defining bit of history in your world! For 1000 years the English and Vikings waged war on another. And now one people stand on the brink of extinction.

Quote
Noob question - how do you decide whether or not to raze cities that you take? what are the pros & cons of razing vs installing a new governor?

I suppose there's a few things to think about when deciding to keep or raze a city. Not surprisingly, it upsets the owner of that city a great deal. You'll get a negative modifier to your relationship that I think lasts forever, or close enough. Raze a couple or more cities, and you'll be enemies for life. The placement of the city is a factor I use. I don't often like how the AI Civ's place their cities, so I'll tear them down and build a new one with my own settler. If the city has wonders or is a religious capital, you'll almost certainly want to keep it. And I suppose another is, do you really need the city? Be careful not to over expand too much too early. It can wreck your economy, and when that goes, so goes every thing else. Expansion is a real trick to get right. I probably blow it as often as I get it right. The rule of thumb I currently use is this: Depending on the size map you play on, there are two National Wonders that rely on a certain number of buildings to built in your empire before you can build them. They are Oxford University, and Wall Street. Oxford requires a certain number of Universities and Wall Street requires banks. I try to expand to at least that number of cities. Otherwise, you'll need to take cities by force. I am generally a peaceful player, so I try to get the cities established peacefully in the beginning.

Quote
The war cost me a lot of time and resources, and I didn't particularly enjoy it. It seemed like an endless production of military units, a lot of give & take, and battles with lots of deaths and not much gained for either side.

This is an important point you made. Wars usually stunt your Civ's growth. At least for me smile. After a long war, you may find yourself falling behind the other Civ's. I don't know if you have met many other Civ's yet, but if you have, you may have noticed that you've lagged behind them since you haven't been able to build up your infrastructure while you were building war units. The plus side, hopefully, is that you have new land/cities and maybe new resources. These can help you make up the ground you lost, if any.

-Cota
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Asharak
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« Reply #47 on: July 12, 2008, 04:31:20 AM »

EDIT> Damn you, Cota! slywink

Quote from: Jeff Jones on July 12, 2008, 02:42:56 AM

Noob question - how do you decide whether or not to raze cities that you take? what are the pros & cons of razing vs installing a new governor?

Well, the pros of installing a new governor are pretty obvious: you gain the city, control the resourses around it and any Wonders inside it, expand your cultural influence, and can add all the tax/science/military production of the city to your empire. You also obviously deny your enemy or another AI the opportunity to build another city in the same area.

On the con side, newly conquered cities incur maintenance costs like any other (and, like any other undeveloped city, they are, at least in the short term, a net drain on your economy). You also need to leave behind at least a portion of your army to garrison the newly-acquired town. If the city is located close to one of your own, the tile overlap between the two could also mean keeping it reduces the maximum size to which your own city can grow. And, of course, more cities means more (micro)management in general.

One other consideration is that there is a specific and very strong negative relationship modifier ("You razed one of our cities!") with the AI if you choose to put their civilians to the sword. It also stacks, roughly to the tune of -1 per city razed. If you're winning the war convincingly enough it won't stop them from making peace with you but it can permanently close doors like tech trading with that Civ. Of course, if you convince them to capitulate, then it doesn't really matter how much they hate you. slywink

I will generally keep any cities that I conquer unless any of the following are true:

1) The city is within three tiles of one of my major industrial centers. The production cities are central to staying alive and no one gets to steal tiles - and those ever-precious hammers - from them.
2) My economy cannot afford the additional maintenance. This is rarely a problem: I play Financial Civs, so I tend to have lots of money anyway, and I won't usually go to war until my economy can afford it.
3) I already have at least twice the land area/population of any other Civ. At that point, the additional production (which is already beyond what I would need to win the game) isn't worth the micromanagement involved.

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The war cost me a lot of time and resources, and I didn't particularly enjoy it.

I feel roughly the same way about wars in Civ. Partly, it's by design. It's not that it's designed to be not fun but it is designed to be difficult and to reflect the fact that large scale, global wars are ultimately extremely draining and debilitating to everyone involved. Also, the simple mechanical fact that wartime involves more unit movements and more decisions than peactime means fighting them take me more time than playing peacefully.

On Noble or above, though, wars are essentially inevitable. If you start poorly, the AI will attack you because you appear like an easy target; if you start strong, they'll attack to prevent you from becoming unstoppably powerful. I find the trick is to fight smart. Wars of genocide are generally a bad idea, given how long they take. I usually fight one major war reasonably early in the game to carve out a slightly oversized share of the world for myself (to ensure I have the economic and industrial capacity to win the space race, which is my preferred victory). I don't care if I kill the other Civ or not - vassalage is an ideal outcome. After that, I will fight to gain control of any resources I don't already have in my territory or to defend myself. If I'm after a resource, I sue for peace as soon as I gain it and, if I'm fighting defensively, I try to bloody the AI's nose by taking a city or two as quickly as possible to make it back off.

The end result is that I usually end up in three or four short wars per game, which is a number I like. It breaks up the worker-management monotony of peactime while still keeping me on my toes and making sure I never quite feel safe.

- Ash
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« Reply #48 on: July 12, 2008, 04:42:24 AM »

Quote from: Cota on July 12, 2008, 03:57:55 AM

Expansion is a real trick to get right. I probably blow it as often as I get it right. The rule of thumb I currently use is this: Depending on the size map you play on, there are two National Wonders that rely on a certain number of buildings to built in your empire before you can build them. They are Oxford University, and Wall Street. Oxford requires a certain number of Universities and Wall Street requires banks. I try to expand to at least that number of cities.

Since you brought it up, I'll share my own rule of thumb. As I mentioned in my last post, I typically play to win the space race. This necessitates being at least large enough to research my way to the end of the tech tree first (or very close to it) and having a large enough industrial sector to produce the spaceship parts first. I'm guided by two things in this: the fact that you can build five SS Casings and five SS Thrusters simultaneously and the fact that a good city ratio is three commerce/science cities for every two production cities. So if I want five production cities to build those spaceship parts with maximum efficiency, I need 7-8 science cities to go along with them. And then I add one for a Great Person farm. So I come to a total of 14 cities.

If I can gain that territory peacefully, great: I'll use my early cities to block off my land and back-fill throughout the game, using a peacemonger/turtling strategy as much as possible. If I get a poor (or even an average) start, though, then at least one war is going to be inevitable to gain that much space.

I find this works reasonably well on Standard sized maps; obviously, the numbers need to be adjusted to the space available on smaller or larger maps.

- Ash
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Jeff
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« Reply #49 on: July 12, 2008, 04:03:49 PM »

Quote
I feel roughly the same way about wars in Civ. Partly, it's by design. It's not that it's designed to be not fun but it is designed to be difficult and to reflect the fact that large scale, global wars are ultimately extremely draining and debilitating to everyone involved. Also, the simple mechanical fact that wartime involves more unit movements and more decisions than peactime means fighting them take me more time than playing peacefully.

This was exactly the feel it gave me. It wasn't a 'this sucks and isn't fun' feeling, it was as you said, draining and debilitating. It gives a pretty accurate depiction of how war affects real societies. It's something to be avoided, unless you're managing a militaristic society, I suppose.

In this case, I was attacked first, and it definitely sidetracked me in a big way. I went all out military after that since you told me about Ragnar's 'last man standing' mentality. I'd prefer to achieve cultural or financial victory, or something like that.

I tried to get a peace treaty signed later on, but he'd have none of it. Now I know it was because I was burning all his cities to the ground  icon_twisted
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Cota
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« Reply #50 on: July 12, 2008, 04:40:25 PM »

Quote from: Asharak on July 12, 2008, 04:42:24 AM

Quote from: Cota on July 12, 2008, 03:57:55 AM

Expansion is a real trick to get right. I probably blow it as often as I get it right. The rule of thumb I currently use is this: Depending on the size map you play on, there are two National Wonders that rely on a certain number of buildings to built in your empire before you can build them. They are Oxford University, and Wall Street. Oxford requires a certain number of Universities and Wall Street requires banks. I try to expand to at least that number of cities.

Since you brought it up, I'll share my own rule of thumb. As I mentioned in my last post, I typically play to win the space race. This necessitates being at least large enough to research my way to the end of the tech tree first (or very close to it) and having a large enough industrial sector to produce the spaceship parts first. I'm guided by two things in this: the fact that you can build five SS Casings and five SS Thrusters simultaneously and the fact that a good city ratio is three commerce/science cities for every two production cities. So if I want five production cities to build those spaceship parts with maximum efficiency, I need 7-8 science cities to go along with them. And then I add one for a Great Person farm. So I come to a total of 14 cities.

If I can gain that territory peacefully, great: I'll use my early cities to block off my land and back-fill throughout the game, using a peacemonger/turtling strategy as much as possible. If I get a poor (or even an average) start, though, then at least one war is going to be inevitable to gain that much space.

I find this works reasonably well on Standard sized maps; obviously, the numbers need to be adjusted to the space available on smaller or larger maps.

- Ash

14 cities on a standard map!? How do you manage that? I feel like I'm doing good if I get 14 cities on a huge map. What do you typically run your spending at? Normally, I run a %10 Culture, %10 Espionage, and then hopefully %60 - %80 Science. If I fall below %60 Science for any length of time, I feel like I'm doing a poor job.

-Cota
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« Reply #51 on: July 12, 2008, 05:47:31 PM »

Quote from: Cota on July 12, 2008, 04:40:25 PM

14 cities on a standard map!? How do you manage that?

Well, for one thing, getting to 14 usually does require most of the game and a war or two. My initial expansion tends to top out around 6-8 cities. But I am helped by the fact that I disable Espionage completely, always play Financial civs, and don't give a rat's ass about my Culture. Then I build a ton of Cottages and prioritize economic techs (Currency, Banking, Printing Press). My goal is to run 80% Science/20% Gold as much as possible.

- Ash
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« Reply #52 on: July 13, 2008, 05:24:59 PM »

Quote from: Jeff Jones on July 12, 2008, 04:03:49 PM

Quote
I feel roughly the same way about wars in Civ. Partly, it's by design. It's not that it's designed to be not fun but it is designed to be difficult and to reflect the fact that large scale, global wars are ultimately extremely draining and debilitating to everyone involved. Also, the simple mechanical fact that wartime involves more unit movements and more decisions than peactime means fighting them take me more time than playing peacefully.

This was exactly the feel it gave me. It wasn't a 'this sucks and isn't fun' feeling, it was as you said, draining and debilitating. It gives a pretty accurate depiction of how war affects real societies. It's something to be avoided, unless you're managing a militaristic society, I suppose.

In this case, I was attacked first, and it definitely sidetracked me in a big way. I went all out military after that since you told me about Ragnar's 'last man standing' mentality. I'd prefer to achieve cultural or financial victory, or something like that.

I tried to get a peace treaty signed later on, but he'd have none of it. Now I know it was because I was burning all his cities to the ground  icon_twisted

Instead of fighting every war to the bloody end, you may often find it to your advantage to achieve a few objectives (certain territory/resources/cities) then deal for peace to give yourself time to heal your economy and exploit your new acquisitions.  Then you can come back later on, bigger and stronger, and wipe them up quickly.  Or you may wish to vassalize them if possible.  But that depends on the game situation, of course, and your overall goals.  Some civs are just too annoying or stubborn to be left hanging around.  In that case ....  thumbsdownicon_twisted
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