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Thread: A builder strategy please!

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    0bsidi0n
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    A builder strategy please!

    I'm a pretty bad player. I am trying to refine my Noble-level game, and seem to have trouble with one issue in particular: empire growth. I have no trouble with conquering my neighbours, but I want to be able to settle my empire like a good builder.

    Can anyone refer me to any threads? I would think this a common problem, but searching is hard with such a vague topic. I've read Vel's guide over and over, but I can't seem to pass this hump.

    I'll run through my general strategy. As Augustus, I research bronze, wheel, pottery. I start a barracks and switch to a worker so that it finishes in time to start building cottages. I probably research writing next, or go for a religion if I can get it. I build/pop a granary and monument, get a second warrior and start on a settler. At this point I get cheesed because someone has settled right beside me, and I switch to my fallback of legionaires and catapults.

    Any advice? Sorry for the newb question...

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    Dis
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    how fast do you expand? How many settlers do you build?

    yeah I know the game punishes early expansion. But you can get 4 cities up and running fairly quickly on noble without much penalty. After that I take a break, but you can still slowly expand after that.

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    0bsidi0n
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    I'm experimenting with a settler-first game right now, but it is difficult balancing settler production with granary, for example.

    I'm going to try for five cities before 0AD on a marathon game... previously this is very difficult, but I'm pulling out all the stops and habits.

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    Swiss Pauli
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    Ditch Marathon - it's unbalanced in favour of warmongering because production and movement don't scale to research pace. I advise Normal speed for learning, as it's easy to switch tack if something goes awry.

    An early war is a perfectly reasonable builder strategy, though it may not sound it! Once you've carved out your niche then settle down for a peaceful remainder of the game.

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    MontyMustDie
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    Workers. If you want to buld an empire, get lots of workers and get them relatively early. Bronze working and aggro techs, also iron if your environment contains a lot of jungle. Push the 60% research thumb rule to its limits - if goody huts gave you some gold you most often can afford to go on -1 to -5. Also your farm/cottage ratio is something you need to pay attention to if growth is your target - more farms, especially on flood plains.

    For this strategy I find Asoka is second to none.

    ...but, you should have an idea of _why_ you want to build - are you looking for space race, diplomacy or culture?

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    joncnunn
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    Maybe it's just me, but neither of the Roman leaders look to me to be particularly well suited for builder tactics. (Granted Augustus looks not quite as bad a builder choice as Julius)

    Rome is more of get a few cities down quick, particularly an iron site, then build your UU and conquer an opponent or two first and then catch up on the buildings once enemy Longbows & Crossbows become too numerious.

    I personally like the Ottomans best for peaceful expansion and building Ancient / Classical / Midevil tactics. Half priced a lot of cool buildings and their UU apprives with Gunpowder and is ideal for taking out pre-Gunpowder units.
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    Dominae
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    Focus on maximizing your Happiness/Health caps, and make sure that every new pop point works a Cottage.

    That's a bit simplistic, but the fundamentals usually are.
    And her eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming...

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    zeace
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    First thing I noticed is you're building a barracks really early. Often I'll go through a thrid of the game before building one. Build a worker/scout/work boat instead. Even a warrior. If you're serious about playing as a builder you shouldn't ever need barracks.

    Also, what map are you playing on. Earth maps are notorious for cramped starts so builder strategies really won't work. Try a large highlands game where it takes many millennium for space to be exhausted. Also the less fertile land forces you to pay closer attention to your cities prosperity.

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    Sarek
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    I generally find that, especially as a builder...
    a) have enough military to scare off any threat
    b) have a nice "culture buffer" so none of your squares get crowded
    c) ALWAYS have the tech lead so that you can bribe others to fight your wars
    * OR temporarily change to warmonger if pressed later and wipe out the threat, then go back to builder-mode

  10. #10
    0bsidi0n
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    Thank you very much for all the suggestions!

    I am definitely a fan of the early war, which is why I prefer Rome, but I just got a little tired of falling into the same pattern the last few games.

    As a few have suggested, maybe it is time to commit and abandon Augustus altogether... he sounded to me like a good fit for a flexible builder/warmonger, but specialization is the key I suppose.

    I play on continents map. I am playing around with ditching the barracks and cottage spamming (as much as I despise it). I'll keep you posted! Thank you for the tips!

  11. #11
    Dis
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    you don't need cottages if you run with a lot of specialists (which require farms for high population). I have yet to do this, as I don't like to micromanage specialists. I just cottage spam like crazy (though I like to have a good mix of improvements).

    which might be the weakest part of my game. I don't have specialist cities. My cities are the jack of all trades type. They have a good mix of every attribute.

    Though I do try to have one "military" city. Very important. You need to be cranking out a steady stream of military units to keep the ai off your back. Though I will try to fit in libraries and such in my military city as well. Just don't forget to keep building those units.

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    couerdelion
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    For builders, find a Financial civ. Building is not why the Romans are in this game.

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    emperor
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    Industrious civs also make great builders (if you're going for a wonder-centred strategy).
    - Lord Parkin / emperor

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    0bsidi0n
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    On the topic of specialists, perhaps I can ask about another strategy I've been employing for about a year then.

    I specify an 'Engineer' city, and only build wonders that produce great engineer points. Similarly for Scientists, artists and eventually merchants. I adopted this as a compromise from an idea I read here: that potentially constructing all your wonders in one city increases the GP birth rate. However, I do not like the idea of randomly generating a GP (a great prophet is generally useless to me, while a great scientist or engineer is almost always useful).

    Ingame, this usually ends up being a lot of great engineers for me: early wonders I often take are the great wall and pyramids. I rush a library and try to produce a scientist before this for an academy in my eventual science city.

    This probably isn't optimal, but I like the flavour it adds to the game. As previously mentioned, I have a lot of bad habits to break.

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    0bsidi0n
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    Originally posted by couerdelion
    For builders, find a Financial civ. Building is not why the Romans are in this game.
    Hehe, well put! As you and emperor suggest, I am planning on experimenting with the Inca.

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    emperor
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    You're correct that it isn't optimal to have separate cities with separate types of great person points being generated in them. The most efficient method of generating great people at the fastest rate is to concentrate as many as possible of your great person points in a single city, with the National Epic wonder. This city you will probably want to be in a location where it can grow a lot (multiple good food resources and potential for farms), so that it can employ many extra specialists to further increase your great person point yield.

    Of course, your strategy is equally valid, if not quite as efficient. It is always nice to be in complete control of the type of great people you will be getting. Personally though, after much experience with the game I've found that it's good enough for me to have a single powerful "great person farm" in which I can change around specialists to increase chances of getting a certain type (for instance, scientists). Of course, I'll still only have about a 60-80% chance of getting the great person I want, but in most cases this will still pay off. Even where it doesn't, I'll usually get a great person that was my 2nd priority anyway.

    If you're trying out the "great person farm" strategy though, it's worth trying to build wonders while keeping in mind their great person point contributions. For instance, it could be worth building Sistine Chapel, Notre Dame, Taj Mahal etc in a different city to your great person farm (if you plan on building those wonders at all), so that you won't "contaminate" your great person pool with great people that you don't want. (In my case, these are generally Great Artists, which I usually try to avoid in all games except where I'm deliberately aiming for a cultural victory.)
    - Lord Parkin / emperor

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    rah
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    I always like have one great artist around for when it's time for my neighbor to die. It's great for getting their ex-cap up to being productive and covering a lot of land before the vultures sent their settlers in.
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    Solomwi
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    I'm with rah on GAs. While I usually have an immediate use for them, either a city of mine that needs to grab some tiles or an enemy city that needs an extra little push toward flipping, I love getting a GA I can hold onto until my next war. Popping that one strategic city's borders in enemy territory can be a huge boost to the war effort.
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    smbakeresq
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    In real life, Augustus built a huge empire and you can too. It is easy to get seduced into running Praetorians over everyone, but you can just sit back and build. You get 2 free culture a turn in all cities which makes for quick border expansion, half maintenance cost civics to make it easier to maintain a large empire, and half cost libraries, theater, coliseums, lighthouses, factories, courthouses. Since you UU is untouchable, you really dont have to worry about others aggression until they get maceman. You can also pick a few cities from the barbarians and the occasional idiot that attacks you.

    If you can wait for the clearing out wars until the about the arrival of maceman, you can generally have such a large empire that you can rush over the others that have built you nice cities to take, just before the arrival of longbowman. On large, epic, by the time of arrival of Maceman, a force of 20-25 Praetorians (with CR 1 promotion) can crush many empires, even without catapults. By that point in the game, it is not uncommon to have 15-20 cities under your control, and neighbors who will fear you so you dont have to worry about the dogpile.

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    One_more_turn
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    As Romans, you need to sustain your economy through plundering enemy cities until you get Code of Laws and Currency. Pop-rush courthouses in all cities, trade techs for money, and build Forums in most prolific cities.

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    popejubal
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    I am very much a builder at heart. That said, I enjoy building on my opponent's lands once I have fully exploited my own.

    The bonus that goes with that is that I can start out with cities that have already been partly developed at another civ's expense!

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    wodan11
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    Both Roman leaders (Warlords versions) are excellent builders on archipelago maps.

    Wodan

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    couerdelion
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    Originally posted by wodan11
    Both Roman leaders (Warlords versions) are excellent builders on archipelago maps.

    Wodan
    How do you work that out?

  24. #24
    rah
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    YEah, I prefer to be on a mainland with easy access to capture other's cities before my Prets become obsolete.
    "If black people robbed you, I'd not consider it prejudice for you to be angry at black people in general" - Ben Kenobi
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  25. #25
    0bsidi0n
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    I wanted to thank everyone for their great suggestions! I stubbornly insisted on trying one last time with the Romans, and incorporating a lot the ideas here, I am on the cusp of a space race victory! I think I used Augustus as a crutch to my old habits, but change is good. My next game will be with the Inca I think, but now that I have an idea of how to stand up on Noble, I must say I really enjoy this difficulty level over the previous ones.

    I will post again with more details of my successful strategies. Thank you!

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    Scylvendi
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    Regarding your GP strategy, I think that with the Romans at least it's not such a bad idea. Normally it is optimal to concentrate your GPP in one city, but in the Roman case that means you are only getting the benefit of their UB in one city. I love playing Augustus, and like you I try to generate specific GP in a couple of cities. Especially if I have early stone, I try for the Great Wall and Pyramids in Rome, then later Build National Epic and Ironworks there. I also try to build a Great Scientist city in which I build Great Library (with one of my GE if I don't have marble). Anyway I like getting the Forum's benefit in more than one city even though someone could probably prove mathematically that concentrating the benefit in one city may pay off more in the long run.

  27. #27
    Kuciwalker
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    Originally posted by rah
    YEah, I prefer to be on a mainland with easy access to capture other's cities before my Prets become obsolete.
    It takes a long time for that to happen.

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