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Early Conquest Guide

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  • #31
    Ch 5) Middle and Endgame Tips

    a) Diplomacy; M.P.E, maps, tech and tribute

    [This section has been tested on Civ2 MGE, which has a more hostile AI than version 2.42. ].

    MPE is huge for gaining tech, maps and tribute. So, get it early. Then, take notes about your enemies' techs (the white ones and map-making) and cities, etc. If they are at war/peace with other civs, that can tell you a bit about their location (in case you can't get their map).

    Then give away tech to raise a civ's attitude. If you are a
    beginner, you may be reluctant to give away tech. But read about tech-gifting in the GL. I am still reluctant to give away feudalism (pikemen) and may have second thoughts about monarchy and poly. But the AI is rarely able to take advantage of your gifts.

    If the civ has tech you need, you can trade tech instead, They must be at least neutral towards you for this. When they are AT LEAST cordial, and you both have map-making, ask to trade maps. If they say no, you can probably give some more and try again. `Worshipful' should always be enough. I prefer to give tech, but you can give gold (or units) instead, and can sometimes get it right back by demanding tribute.

    After you start giving, try not to let them go until you have their map. With MGE, they will not remember your kindness. If they get away, you will have to start over. Try to avoid war until you have their map. If you cannot, make peace at any reasonable cost, which usually brings them up to neutral. Then go for gifts and the map.

    Later on, MPE may show that a civ has built more cities, so make peace and get their map again. Otherwise, finding those cities with your units can be a headache [but there are tricks explained in the forums to help with this - eg, black-clicking, the nearest city trick].

    Sometimes they accept a gift and rudely say good-bye. Maybe that is just bad luck, but they do tend to repeat this behavior for a while.

    You can try doing all of the above as soon as you make contact with another civ, but without MPE it is harder (you don't know if they have mapmaking, or tech that you need, etc). Apparently this option works better with 2.42 because you get a second chance.

    In general, do not make alliances. They can be costly to break when it is time to attack, and your allies will not usually help you anyway.

    After getting the map, you can start demanding tribute. There is a chance they will declare war, but that's usually good (unless you are busy building an outpost on their island, for example). To get tribute you must intimidate them a bit, by having enough units on their continent. According to zenon, the total of your attack factors must exceed the number of their units.

    Getting tribute on an island map takes some planning and patience. On a large land mass map, you just need MPE and about 20 warriors.

    If the 2/3's tech rule forces you to research something you don't need, choose an advance that another civ has, and trade/extort for it. Then you can switch to a tech you actually want, without loss of beakers.

    As a simple rule of thumb, quit science after monotheism + feudalism and then raise taxes. I have made exceptions (for navigation, etc.). Maybe quit even earlier on a `fast' map (eg a small one).

    If you move troops into view of a city with which you are at peace, that civ may ask you to withdraw (you may get a warning first). This can be really annoying if you have spent 20 turns getting them into position. If you refuse to withdraw, you will lose reputation AND the enemy gets to attack first. The best solutions are to avoid peace, to delay your advance, and/or to build a colony nearby (to accept the withdrawn troops).

    Do not trust the AI even when you are at peace. They will sneak attack (which gives them attack bonuses). This is especially likely on a crowded/small map or when you build a colony too close to their cities.

    Notes on your colony: Place it about 5 squares away from an AI city - far enough for safety, but on the same continent and close enough to attack quickly later on. Place it pretty far from your homeland, but not past the civ(s) it's intended for. Don't worry much about specials, corruption, etc. It is mainly for rush-building, healing, and withdrawal of troops. [Warning - if restarts are ON, it can affect re-spawn location].

    Notes from solo about MPE (with 2.42): ``... it may be a good idea to skip this wonder, too. Instead of making 4 caravans to build MPE, build triremes earlier and start exploring instead. The boats are essential later for transporting troops and are needed now to get the first two colonies established early enough to produce two more. MPE is more important in EL games, where the AI become very useful as research assistants; but in EC games, once Monotheism is discovered, research is over. A few useful tech trades are likely via the first few AI contacts made by exploration, which is probably enough help to get to Monotheism quickly.''

    b) Production, Growth, Happiness

    Aim for about 70 units and production of 100-120 s/t by 1AD. You might use 30 anemic cities or 15 super cities. Remember - you probably won't finish with less than 110 units on a normal map, so don't neglect production.

    After about the 10th city, I get tired of micro-managing the worker squares of the size 2 cities. I want shields, but the AI chooses food. So, every 2-3 turns, I look over the city screen for lazy ones producing under 4-5 s/t and just fix those. I don't try to predict riots, but just fix each one with an Elvis (or by leaving a size 2 city empty) until I can find a spare warrior, or reduce the city size. I start to ignore ICS principles after about 10-15 cities, allowing some to reach size 3, and reducing my production of settlers. Roughly, I stop making settlers about 30 turns before my target date for finishing.

    Some people favor fewer/larger cities, up to size 6, backed by Mike's and/or Pyramids. They can get almost the same production levels with less rioting. This has not worked out very well in my play testing. I feel that Mike's is too expensive and comes too late. But I admit my testing is not conclusive, and that I probably don't play the Mike's plan perfectly.

    c) Finishing the Game

    Every few turns, re-evaluate which campaign is critical and focus on speeding that one up (eg, by rush-building). Take reasonable risks in that campaign, rather than waiting to build up over-whelming force.

    Do not take risks in non-critical arenas - if you can wait for backup instead. Waiting within view of an enemy city may induce it to fortify more troops inside (but this claim has not been well tested) so I suggest waiting 3-4 squares away.

    Bribing is faster than conquering.

    Watch out for new cities popping up at the last moment. If you don't care about reputation, you can make peace briefly to get maps and tribute, and then attack again.

    The homeland may become irrelevant towards the end. Use it to make gold, or last-minute wonders like Magellan's, or your late-swarm if you need one.

    DaveV writes "In the late game on a large map, cash is more important than shields, so you can rushbuild units at the front line. Units that will never appear in
    battle aren't worth building: maybe this is the time
    for the old "build and sell barracks" trick."

    d) Game-stoppers and Heart-breakers

    These disasters have ended some promising games. Most are pretty unlikely, but they are a warning not to relax too much. You might want to avoid these:

    - The most common game-stopper is to lose too many attack units in battle, or in transit, ones needed to make a distant campaign work. Of course, you keep playing, but you may have just lost 10-15 turns. This probably won't happen often if you build ST and attack with some patience. But as DaveV writes

    "Early conquest is an aggressive, risk-taking game. My
    ICS writeup concentrated on a safe, guaranteed win.
    For a really early conquest, you have to take some
    risks and have some good luck."

    - You are playing in a tournament with some unusual rules, which you didn't read carefully, or forgot about.

    - You have shipped your 4 elephants 100 squares to surround the most distant capitol. But you have made an alliance with them (doh). You cannot break it, except through diplomacy, and then your elephants will be sent home. BTW - nearby triremes are also sent home in this case.

    - You are trashing the last civ when a settler escapes in the dark and makes a new city. On a small island - one square only.

    - Your good friends, the Aztecs, sneak attack in 2000BC and take one of your 5 cities. This may set you back several hundred years. Use a cheap warrior as a buffer against this, and keep a horseman nearby. Don't ignore barbarians either. Once you have diplomats, you can use them to bribe back lost cities cheaply.

    - La Fayette writes "I always remember my first big conquest game where I was fighting the mighty Mongols: I had just taken 2 rather small cities, each with heavy defences; I had about 20 strong units parked inside the cities in order to protect them after the fight; then came 2 of those smiling young diplomats who bought back the 2 cities for a few gold (half price for previous owner + city disorder ), with all my proud conquerors inside."

    - The `stupid' AI does seem to notice when you stack units, and seems more likely to attack those. Which can really hurt a small invasion force.

    - You may run into an AI super-city; a) built on a river or hills, b) walled, c) with more than 2 defenders and d) with pikes. Even two of these problems in one city is pretty bad luck. You can try bribery (if it is not the capitol), sabotaging the walls,
    inducing the defenders to attack, or coming back later.

    - People have reported computer crashes wiping out their games. Use the auto-save feature, and make saves yourself every 20 turns or so (which also helps you analyze your game later).


    • #32
      6) Other Playing Levels and Settings

      a) Emperor Level

      This level gets almost no attention in forum/GL posts, though it is fairly popular in GOTM's. It is hard to win quickly, because you start with only one settler, and lag behind Deity growth most of the game. The main advantage is happiness; you might even omit HG and Mike's, with city sizes up to about 3-4.

      I suggest an extreme ICS at the start, with fewer militia or early wonders. Try to catch up with the Deity growth charts by 1000BC. After that, play as if on Deity, catching up on wonders and units [MPE around 800BC, first triremes out about 500BC, then ST, etc] until about 400BC. Delay HG until you see the need, maybe about 400BC. Your growth and unit-count will probably start to lag again, but you should catch up to the Deity statistics around 1AD, and can expect similar finish dates.

      Emperor Schedule (averages of just a few games, mostly on normal maps):

      2200bc: 4c, pr3.2, 5a/8 i6/s8, 3.3u

      1000bc: 10c, p3.8, i8/18s, 8a/7@tr, 0W, 14u: 3S,9w..

      400bc: 15c: p4.6, 15a/10, i13/s30, 400g, 1.9W, 33u: 2S,23w..

      1ad: 20c: p5, 20a/30, i42/s16, 600g, no riots, 57u: 3S,23w,10e,6tr,4dip..

      END 420ad: 42c, 25a i65/s25, 110u w 35cru (20lost)

      Grigor adds "At Emperor level, the Size 1 settler strategy is imperative. This means do not found your city unless you will be able to work a forest square or better. Be careful - working a pheasant makes the size 1 strategy impossible." This seems like good advice for lower levels, too.

      b) King and Below

      The only times I have played these for EC were in GOTM's with weird maps. The growth and production rates seem similar to those on Emperor level until about 500 BC, when King/Prince gets ahead. Skip HG/Mike's if you aim for a very EC, before about 400AD. Consider building Pyramids to promote city growth. At Prince level, you can easily keep size 6-7 cities happy with just HG + militia.

      c) Restarts ON [A conquered civ may come back. Different tribe, same color, usually a different location]

      It has been asked - "Why?". This setting adds a huge luck factor, and at least 5 turns to most games. But it adds variety, and you may have to play with re-starts on if you play tournaments. If restarts are ON, you must add another "campaign" to your list. It is the last to finish, so treat it as critical. That is, spread out your spare units (eg tri+cru) across the lonely parts of the map to chase re-spawns. Use MPE to find them, and build extra triremes to hunt them. Expect to finish with 10-15 more units than usual.

      Here is a strategy I've tried several times. It seems to work only about half the time, but doesn't cost much when it fails:

      1) Kill your first civ ASAP. It will probably re-spawn into the map's main `re-spawn zone'. Find this zone by using MPE to get the new civ's map. Sometimes an AI kills the 1st civ for you, so pay attention to the text messages!

      2) Send 2 crusaders to kill the re-spawn before finishing off any other civs. If it has made a city, do NOT capture it - RAZE it! Likewise, do not build an outpost city nearby. You want the other re-spawns to come there too, and a nearby city will deter that.

      3) Leave your units in that zone, to wait for more victims.

      4) There is some luck involved here, so spread out some other troops/boats, as in the usual anti-respawn plan.

      For more on re-spawns, see La Fayette's Apolyton thread.

      d) Barbarians

      I have not noticed that the barbarian setting has much effect on my games. Raging hordes can be good, since they often bother the AI's more than you - and each leader is worth 150g. Consider putting a phalanx on a mountain to lure the barb fighters to their deaths, and then get the leader with a horseman.

      Barbarian cities are easy to bribe, which may be the cheapest way to get an outpost near an enemy civ. And if the barbs take one of your cities, bribery is a good way to get it back. You can also bribe the barbarians themselves, and may even get cheap NON-units.

      e) Huts

      With huts, there is some risk of unleashing a swarm of barbarians, getting un-wanted tech or of causing support problems (during despotism). But in general, it's good to tip.

      DaveV writes "Hut-hunting is crucial in the early and even mid-game. It's probably worth delaying founding your first city on a small map, especially if there's no good special nearby."

      DaveV uses mainly horsemen to tip huts, but many people use warriors. Try using a dip for huts on grass, so you can bribe any barbarians that pop up. A cavalry unit just off a boat can do the same, and retreat back to the boat if necessary, without even slowing down the boat.

      If you tip huts before founding your first city, the units you get do not require support, and you will not get barb's. If a hut is visible at the start, it is wise to tip it first. We'll briefly discuss some extreme hut strategies later, in Ch.8.
      Last edited by Peaster; November 28, 2004, 16:45.


      • #33
        Just a note about MPE, which I consider almost essential in a game where restarts are on. It's needed if you want to track down respawns quickly.

        Another note on general strategy is that I'm finding that a huge army (more than 30 mounted attackers) may not be needed. It may be better to start with fewer cities and wonders, allowing search and destroy to commence earlier. Looks to me that the Lighthouse is the only required wonder when restarts are off.


        • #34
          At Emperor level, the Size 1 settler strategy is imperative. This means do not found your city unless you will be able to work a forest square or better. Be careful- working a pheasant makes the size 1 strategy impossible.


          • #35
            Thanks, Grigor and Solo. I have edited Ch 6 from your remarks. For now, I will continue to recommend HG/MPE/ST in Chs 1-5, since they probably make EC simpler for most people, and I don't think any of them is a real mistake. I will discuss omitting them in Ch 8.

            Of course, I will edit some more after the Holiday T. How we can get SlowT to spill his secrets??

            I hope everyone will feel free to contribute to Chs 6,7,8. Voices of experience (which I am a little short on)
            could make these sections much better.

            7) Other maps

            We have assumed so far that normal terrain and climate will provide a good base for expansion in the opening, and for production in the middle game. But a doctored map or an arid climate can really slow your growth. Likewise, an island map or an off-sized map will affect play.

            a) Poor land (swamps/deserts/etc)

            Arid climate: Expect lower production rates (eg about 2.7s/t per city at 1000BC, instead of 3.9). This will affect expansion, so you may fall 20 turns or so behind normal growth. Gold and rush-building take on greater importance.

            So, try harder to explore for huts and good city sites - specials, rivers, and even grass. You can worry less about large cities and riots, and can use Elvises rather than lots of militia.

            Play a leaner game. Omit SunTzu and delay HG until you really need it (until you have about 8 Elvises at work or are producing 80s/t). You may have to delay monarchy 1000 years.

            A cold/wet climate is not a problem for growth. Extra rivers are good, but extra lakes, forests etc can slow down your cavalry. Try to move mostly by boat.

            If you play in tournaments, you will probably face some hand-made maps designed to take you out of your normal game. On an extremely resource-poor island (see GOTM45) with no grass, consider terraforming near specials before settling, and using your 5-6th settlers for mining/forests. Explore the coastlines for specials. Build triremes to find better land. Try the ideas suggested above for arid maps. Consider the size 1 city trick, even for Deity level.

            b) Islands and Continents

            If you somehow know the map has only one continent, with huts, you can try a hut-popping strategy (Ch.8). But the normal Ch 1-5 system works well too. You can expect lots of early tribute if you intimidate the AI by building 20-25 warriors and/or capture a few cities. You can make MPE your first wonder, to help get tribute quickly.

            If the map is medium to large, with separated small islands, build the LH early to get your invasions going on time. With less early tribute, your economy is a bigger issue. So, quit science and raise taxes earlier.

            You can expect to finish as quickly on an island map as on a continental map. Maybe because transportation is faster, or because the other civs tend to be weaker. In effect, you can start the endgame earlier on an island map.

            If your home island is small, go for map making sooner and expand onto other islands (but not much after about 500BC, since this can be slow to pay off). If you find none, build LH ASAP and consider going for navigation and caravels. If the map is huge, build Magellan's soon after ST. As usual, focus on getting to the most distant civs as soon as you have MPE and Li.

            Outposts on enemy land can be useful in invasions, as noted above. I prefer to capture outposts, rather than use boat space on settlers. Settlers are slower, but safer. If things go wrong, a single settler, plus enough gold, might save your attack.

            A big late swarm is harder to use on an island map, so a huge population is not so crucial. Relax the ICS style earlier (around 700bc to 500bc) to produce more attackers, or wonders. You will not need as many Settlers for roads or new cities in an island world. Consider raising taxes to 70 percent soon after polytheism, depending on how much you want feudalism, monotheism or navigation.

            c) Large and small maps

            A large map will increase the likelihood that your Type A campaigns are critical ones. So, plan your boat departures and first attacks earlier. Growth can wait a bit.

            If the large map is mostly land, make a few more settlers and build 1-2 major roads. If speed is really crucial, planting a city (on a hill/swamp/river etc) is faster than making a road square.

            A small map may save you about 200 years by reducing
            transportation problems. Expect to finish with fewer units than above (perhaps 70).

            On a small map, you may lack space for growth, and the neighbors may sneak-attack . Consider yourself at war from the start. If you are lucky, one AI may remove another AI. Build a few more military units (eg horsemen) in the opening for defense, but then focus on growth.

            Small island-maps can be played more like continental maps. You can probably omit LH, and can probably use a late swarm on the nearest neighbor. Devote fewer troops to early defense than on a normal small map.


            • #36
              Ch 8) Other Strategies

              This guide has presented a reliable system for EC by 500AD on most maps. But there are many reasonable alternatives and it is not clear which strategy (if any) is the best one. Now, we present the known alternatives.

              a) Wonders

              In general, building a 200-shield wonder will slow you down about 3 turns. Or more, if you build it early, or adopt a low-growth style. But they make game-play easier, and the best ones pay for themselves. The list of best wonders is debatable, but here's a list of reasonable ones, in decreasing order:

              HG: I recommend HG pretty early because it allows you to grow past 12 cities by 500BC without major rioting. Most good players build it at Deity level. Solo is experimenting with a very lean approach that omits HG (only LH) and uses fewer cities.

              MPE: It is required if re-starts are on, and I believe it is required if you play MGE. With version 2.42, you might replace it with enough early exploration and AI contacts.

              SunTzu: Among the big three recommended in Chs 1-5, this is the most debatable. It costs more than 7 barracks and is harder to build. Barracks can be rushed easier and don't require feudalism. They aid with healing. They can be sold. But if you want about 10 cities to make veteran attack units, ST is more cost-effective than barracks. Play testing suggests it is OK to build ST - or not. It probably makes the most sense on a big continental/varied map.

              Even non-vet ellies will usually win against non-walled cities on plains. But I suggest building veterans by 300BC, because the extra cost is relatively low, and vets are more reliable when you meet unexpected pikemen, rivers, walls, etc.

              LH: Its value depends a lot on the map. On most island maps it is required for getting to the AI quickly by trireme. So, plan to build it soon after MPE gives you a look at maps, and before your first flotillas depart. Even if you can find coastal sea routes, you will probably save time with LH. It is usually not required on continental maps or even small island maps.

              I seems hard to get to navigation in EC games, and I no longer try. But if you do, consider building Magellan's late in the game with your relatively useless homeland cities.

              MC: Mike's is the most cost-effective solution to unhappiness in large cities. In combination with Pyr, and a little more space between your cities, you might match the shield production of an ICS player. At present, I am not convinced that's worth 400-600 shields, though Zenon has had some success with it.

              LW: A couple of players have tried using LW to promote swarms of horsemen to knights or dragoons. The drawbacks - it is hard to attack very early, and the promoted troops are not veterans.

              Pyr: Pyr (without Mike's) does not make sense in an ICS/Deity game. MAYBE if the terrain is so bad that your cities can't grow normally. It could work in a Prince/King level game, where you have a "free Mike's" and want bigger cities.

              The rest: The other wonders are not used by good players. Maybe a creative genius will find a new plan, but until then - do NOT build the GL, Oracle, Col, KRC or CO. The only reason I see for building the Great Wall is to stop an AI from getting it, but even then I probably wouldn't do it.

              b) Hut Strategies DaveV and Mangor420 have posted amazing BC conquest dates in recent tournament spoiler threads. They both tipped a lot of huts.

              DaveV writes " I think the record for early conquest was set by someone who never built a city, but just conquered with hut units. On a large map, there are so many huts that you can get most of your tech from them, as well as lots of free units."

              For some reason, this idea has not become popular. Maybe it is very risky and/or it depends on hut-finding programs, black-clicking, etc. I tried it a few times without success. Once, I discovered that I was stuck on a large island, far behind in terms of growth. Another try just produced some worthless tech before being slaughtered by the AI.

              Even if you do plan to make cities, you can tip hut(s) first, so that the units you get are NON-units, and there is no risk of barbarians attacking you. I will tip one if it is visible at the start, but do not go looking for more until I have warriors. After that, I will usually tip any hut I see - with a little caution before monarchy (about bad tech or support problems) and about barbs close to my cities.

              Another version of this, explained by Mangor420 in a GOTM spoiler thread, is to start normally, but get seafaring/explorers asap. Apparently, explorers tip huts pretty well, and he finished in 450BC. He reported some luck in getting advanced tribes near his enemies.

              Grigor writes "OK, I am trying the seafaring/explorer strategy. There are some things to work out, but it seems to take 300-500 years off my conquest time. I drop the first two cities ASAP with no roads and set workers to maximize science. I take Map Making as the off tech to Monarchy and then Pottery and Seafaring. I get an average of 5 huts before getting a 9-barb hut which kills the explorer - and more if I can start early - which average to 1 unit, 50g, an advanced tribe/nomad, and a tech for each explorer, plus meeting most of the AI and uncovering the map fast. Pretty good return on investment, and it is especially good on the poles."

              "Some issues with this strategy include: How many explorers to build - I think 2 on a medium map. When to build them - before the fourth city or after the second - How to combine with trireme construction. Under what conditions is it possible - certainly with 2 free techs toward Monarchy or Seafaring and a pretty big continent."

              DaveV adds "The other nice thing about explorers is that they can get to the front line in a hurry. When you need one more unit to capture that empty city, an explorer works as well as any other, and it is more likely to be able to reach the target."

              Of course, you must decide whether the explorer is worth more than other units you could build with 50s, and about the detour to seafaring.

              c) Trade Strategies

              It appears that a few players such as Tim the Enchanter, Slowthinker (and perhaps Elephant and others) have used trade routes in some EC GOTM's. I have not gotten many details of their strategy from spoiler threads or forum questions. But in the recent Apolyton 2004 Holiday Tournament, Slowthinker posted an amazing 1AD conquest using an ingenious trade-based strategy. I recommend reading the spoiler thread for his explanation, but the key points seem to be:

              - Expand normally, but also build a large Super-Trade city (ST city). Build HG/MPE/LH as needed. Delay making attack units, except for defense.

              - Build lots of triremes for a ship chain to a trading partner. Make lots of caravans (mostly hides), rehome them to the ST city (if this is allowed), and rake in the gold.

              - Use your size 2 cities to make settlers, for outposts two squares from each enemy capitol. This probably requires good relations with the AI's. If you use MGE, add more distance. Then build barracks in each one. Around 400BC, start rush-building vet crusaders (about 4) in each outpost.

              - These crusaders will take down the capitol. Diplomats shipped in from the homeland will bribe the rest.

              It is too early to tell if Slowthinker's clever strategy is better than our conventional one. He used an early version of it in GOTM41 to post a 40AD EC (also on an island map). That was at King level with only 5 civs. I used the Ch 1-5 strategy to finish that game in 120AD (not posted). My first guess is that his strategy requires more understanding of Civ2 than ours, but is faster, at least on island maps. It also appears fairly reliable, though it has not been tested very much.

              d) Final remarks (govt, SSC, large cites, etc)

              Most EC players try to get to Monarchy ASAP and then stay with it. Maybe a temporary switch to Republic makes sense. Other gov'ts seem too far up the tech tree.

              Science is mainly important up to monotheism, which you can usually get by about 100AD. So, there probably isn't time to build and use an SSC in an EC game. Some higher techs that have been mentioned in threads, but not often used - Nav, Rep, Fundy, RR.

              Larger cities: Zenon achieved the earliest conquest in Aug04 by building Mike's and Pyr's by 500BC (in addition to our big three!). By 1AD, his 21 cities were mostly size 3-5 and were producing over 6s/t. He had 95 units, including 26 crusaders. He won in 460AD with restarts on. Possibly, his success was due to his skill in the opening - he might have done just as well using smaller cities.

              La.Fayette's "Three Arrow Strategy" is a method for getting to monarchy quickly, even at the cost of some growth. The idea is - if you see no specials at the start, try for a city site (eg near the ocean) where you can get at least 3 arrows, and therefore, two beakers. After monarchy, you can play for growth. Probably, 3arrows works best on an arid/poor map, where growth is slow.

              Later Conquest - after 1000AD: Hopefully, most players can learn to finish by 1000AD with this guide and enough practice. But if tournament directors find new ways to delay us, we may need to use musketeers and cannons and ironclads. For now, browse the CFC War Academy about using such units and associated slower strategies.

              e) Abbreviations: I have tried to curtail my addiction to abbr'ns, but in case I threw some in, here's a key:

              au = attacking unit, e = enemy, CFC = CivFanatics, EC = early conquest, ECG = this EC guide, el = elephant, g = gold, i = income, ICS = Infinite City Strategy, GL = Great Library (the wonder, or the forum), GOTM = Game of the Month (at CFC) LH or Li = Lighthouse, pr = production (shields), s = shield (or maybe science), ST = SunTzu or SlowThinker or Super-Trade city, t = turn, u = unit.

              f) References and Links

              Every serious beginner should read DaveV's guide to ICS in the Great Library and ElephantU's Tips for New Players at CivFanatics (in the Strategy Forum). The GL has an interesting section on the Combat Formula, which you should read if your games deviate much from the crusader-vs-phalanx model described in this guide. LaFayette has a thread about beating re-starts and one about diplomats. CivFanatics has a "War Academy" (like a small GL). As far as I know, this is the only Civ2 EC strategy guide.

              I have learned a lot from reading the forums at both sites, and have shamelessly used many other peoples' ideas to write this guide. Solo has been very generous with ideas and testing. I also learned a lot from the games of DaveV and Zenon, which they were kind enough to post during the August 04 tournament. Solo's ELG and DaveV's ICS guide (in the GL) were an inspiration to get started.

              I expect to edit and update the ECG for at least a few months, so more contributions are welcome.

              THE END (for now)


              • #37
                Very nice job Peaster, filling an important gap in Apolyton documentation. I think you are finding out like I did that competing a guide is only the beginning. Just when you think you've finished, the players here find ways to make improvements and think of things never considered before. We authors bow often to the collective wisdom and benefit from it.


                • #38
                  Congratulations, Peaster, this is great work!!

                  Even if, as solo suggests, other ideas are eventually put forward, your comprehensive effort and logical presentation of these ideas is and will be very valuable for all of us.

                  Thanks very much.

                  so long and thanks for all the fish


                  • #39

                    I enjoyed reading your presentation of a trade-enhanced Early Conquest Strategy. It made me feel very happy to read your logs and to see once again how a completely different approach can be so powerfully demonstrated. This game allows so much creativity!! Congratulations.

                    so long and thanks for all the fish


                    • #40
                      bumped for JG.

                      Moderators - I think this thread should be topped.


                      • #41
                        As a part of my CIV2 Strategy Guide,
                        I brought the ECG into HTML-Format with some JavaScript Functions and CSS.
                        Please have a look at this. Maybe misunderstood something (I'm German, and English isn't my first language).
                        If you have suggestions, please let me know.
                        I've added a table reference
                        and corrected some spelling.
                        Some subchapters are missing.
                        Attached Files
                        There are no silly questions - only silly answers
                        <a href="">Strategy Guide</a>


                        • #42
                          Ramses - It is beautiful !! You have done a great job of organizing and decorating the EC Guide.

                          I changed my plan for some of the chapters and never went back to change the Table of Contents. I am thinking about revising the guide someday, maybe with a little more attention to beginners, to ST's trade route plan [if I ever figure this subject out] and to playing scenarios for EC. There are also a few sections I may remove or simplify, such as the ABC planning method and the combat tables. Suggestions are welcomed.


                          • #43
                            I appreciate your efforts, Peaster and Ramses, for making this guide and making it more available. I have been away from Civ II sites for a while due to illness but it has been an interesting experience re-aquainting myself with the Apolyton and CivFanatic sites. Thank you all again for your efforts.


                            • #44
                              Five years later, still playing for EC in the CFC GOTMs. I think the advice in this ECG has held up pretty well, but a few updates wouldn't hurt.

                              1) The number of military units: I suggested approx 100 in 2005, but this seems like overkill for games with restarts off. Now, I'd suggest about 4 crusaders for each capital, followed by a few reinforcements [or dips], so maybe 30-35, plus boats. Add another 20 or so for restarts. Also, see 3) below.

                              2) Feudalism and Sun Tzu: I almost never research Feudalism anymore, partly because of its effect on rush-buying. And partly because I don't feel I need vets as much. But it still seems reasonable.

                              3) Lean vs Fat EC styles: Grigor [and previously solo, zenon, etc] has experimented with "lean EC". This means:

                              * Much fewer cities, maybe only 10 or so;
                              * Very few WoWs. Build only MPE, if possible;
                              * Very early flotillas, eg 1000BC. If that's before Poly, gamble on horsemen or chariots. No trade vans.

                              I've experimented more with the other extreme [Fat], which is to continue ICS until you have about 50 cities, all the EC WoWs, active trade, probably including Colossus and ship chains, and more overall power than you probably need. I sometimes switch to Republic or even Fundy in these longer games.

                              Comparison games show that Lean usually wins on small maps with good sea routes, and restarts off. It is a bit risky, because failure in any one campaign can ruin the whole game. Fat is safer, and usually wins when you can expect a fairly long game - for example, on a big map with restarts on. I don't think anyone can predict yet exactly when one style will be better.

                              4) Trade: I've learned a lot about this since 2005. It fits well into a Fat EC game, where you can't expect to win before 1AD. In that case, invest in it wholeheartedly and go for ship chains and big bonuses. Skip trade if you play Lean.

                              I am still uncertain whether there is any middle ground, eg on a medium map, to make just a few vans for a little extra gold. At present, this halfway strategy doesn't seem to have much affect, positive or negative.

                              The Slowthinker EC trade game now seems unusual because the rules allowed rehoming and the map allowed massive Hides trading. I don't think anyone plays in quite that style anymore, though it should still work well on certain maps, and it has influenced the Fat style.

                              5) Primitive Conquest: At CFC, Magic Gorter and I wondered whether we could conquer without elephants, then without chariots, etc. Eventually we learned to conquer the world at Diety level with just warriors, dips and boats. One key idea was the Great Wall. Then invade AI lands with settlers, which can build cities safely, and support swarms of warriors. Interesting to do once, but such games do take a while, and the style hasn't caught on!

                              6) Modern Conquest: On certain very unusual GOTM maps, it has been impossible to conquer with crusaders, so new workhorses were needed. Favorite modern units were spies, transports and engineers+RRs. For punch, howitzers, armor or bombers [or, if the AI don't get too modern, Leo's may give you a swarm of Cavalry powerful enough to do the job]. I'm being a little vague, but these games tend to end quickly, when the human player modernizes before the AI.

                              There are still some open questions about EC, such as:

                              * When to build roads.
                              * Which units to put on early boats [Settlers, Ellies, Dips, and/or Vans]
                              * The best order to build WoWs such as MPE, HG and LH [and to build your first boats].

                              Disclaimer: The ECG was written mainly for med/large map Diety games. Most of my EC games since 2005 have been CFC GOTMs, including some games at Warlord level. All kinds of maps. I've switched mainly to vanilla, from MGE. Sometimes I play for score, slightly. Maybe some of these habits have changed my opinions on strategy a little, don't know.


                              • #45
                                I'm still working on it not so sure so many are now though I think some of the others have moved on.
                                One thing I'd like to know is if anyone still reading uses fundy if so do the tithes count towards the base trade. am I doing wrong by sending all carvan through my science city?