It's been a while since I put virtual pen to virtual paper and sat down to write something about the game.
Thank you, Theseus....your words are a large part of the reason for my return.
How long a return....don't really know. It will depend on a number of things I guess....perhaps nobody will really care much for what I have to say, and this thread will quickly sink to the bottom with pathetic page views and a one star rating.
Perhaps, some crisis will occur in Candle'Bre that will draw me away from here to there for God-Knows-How-Long....can't really say.
But for now....I'm happy to have returned.
Ahh...but enough of the ramble, and on to the topic in my head (which is, I suppose, simply a ramble of a different sort).
My perception of the Civ traits (like most folks) has undergone some modification since the game was first introduced. "Industrious" has always been viewed as one of the stronger Civ traits, but the more I ponder it and its uses, the clearer it becomes to my brain that Industrious is THE dominant Civ trait, and for a number of reasons, outlined below:
1) Time/Turn Advantage: Time is your biggest enemy in any strategy game, and Civ is no exception. Industrious workers get the job done twice as fast and efficiently as non-industrious workers. This means more food, money, and more shields of production, more quickly than your non-industrious opponents. Over the course of the game, that can add up to an *enormous* total advantage in resources produced.
2) Captured workers: The time advantage mentioned above carries over to captured workers, which are also twice as productive as normal captured workers. Imagine getting a free "regular" worker each time you successfully capture...OUCH.
3) Roads: Roads are vital for three reasons. First, money. Trade. Per turn cash and research. With industrious workers building roads, you get more coin, more quickly. That's generally a good thing, and needs no further explanation.
Second, roads represent the most expedient means of moving your army from Point A to Point B in the ancient era (and in truth, for the entire game up until Railroads). This is all about projecting your power, folks. The fact is, that regardless of how big the continent is, you CAN, with a good road network in place, control it. That means that no matter how many civs you find yourself surrounded by, you CAN conquer them all and maintain order on the continent. A well constructed road network will be pivotal in your ability to do that, and Industrious workers will build it for you with a speed and efficiency that will make other Civs GREEN with envy and WHITE with fear.
This requires the use of a number of your workers in an offensive role (at least 2, preferably four, leap-frogging each other, so that you get a tile of road put down each and every turn (over open terrain...and the four workers can combine their efforts on a single tile if you're building through rough terrain). This also implies guards....think 2 Spearmen and 2 Archers to accompany them if you start really early, and you'd better start really early! (I'd make the construction of your offensive worker crews and their guards the very FIRST priority of your civ, once you have, say, 2-3 cities up and running. Sacrifice initial city defenders and workers to improve tiles...EVERYTHING to start building that road network out to the great beyond....why? Simply because "out there" is where two very important things are....the bad guys (and let's face it, everything other than your civ is, on a certain level, "the bad guys") and more resources! You already know what's in (or what's not in) the immediate vicinity of your cities, and under despotism, there's scant gains to be had by doing early work there anyway (and, what gains ARE to be had can quickly be made by your city improvement workers AFTER the offensive crew gets underway....you'll be able to quickly catch up with your non-industrious counterparts, even if you give them a bit of a "head start"
Long term, you're doing anything BUT giving them a head start, and the fruits of your labor will become readily apparent once you find a juicy resource patch (covered below) or once you discover the location of a rival civ that's a little too close for comfort.
Fact is, once you have located your neighbors and built roads to them, you are in a position to rapidly move and shift your army to any front....threatening any neighbor you choose. Map size doesn't matter, terrain doesn't matter (if you've built your road network well, then you have kept river crossings to a minimum), and even with a slightly smaller force, the added mobility you have thanks to your well constructed road network, will enable you to meet any and all threats defensively, which means that relatively MORE of your troops can be placed on the offensive.
That pretty much spells doom for your neighbors, who are probably still struggling to get themselves sorted out.
Three, settlement. If you are moving your settlers along roads, and your opponent is moving his settlers along open ground, you are moving three times faster than your opponent in terms of settlement. That's a powerful edge. If you find resources out and about, odds are overwhelmingly in your favor that your road network (with convenient off ramps leading right to the tile you wanna build the new city in) will enable you to beat any nearby rival TO that city site, allowing you to set up shop first, and shutting your opponents out, where resources are concerned.
You just can't beat 3x faster mobility for your settlers, compared to your opponents settlers moving over open terrain. Your "offensive work crew" (and they really are pretty offensive, when you think about it....) will do that for you....and more.
(more later, work calls...must slay a few dragons)