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Randomturn's strategy guide for Monarch-Deity

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  • Randomturn's strategy guide for Monarch-Deity

    The game is toughest in the beginning and middle. If you survive in just equal position to the AI civs, you will still win the late game because the AI still canít wage war very well and because the AIs enormous early production advantage declines on a percentage basis. So, how to survive the early-middle game:

    Civ traits: I prefer religious and scientific civs. Religious give you cheap temples (first building you make and important in establishing your borders early) and cathedrals. Also, the 1-turn transition between govíts essentially gives you a handful of extra turns in the crucial early game. Scientific civs give you cheap libraries and univ.s, also important in the culture war, and obviously useful in their own right. The free advances are nice. Industrious is okay with the worker speed benefit and the extra city shield, but religious, militaristic and scientific already have a inherent industrial advantage. Commercial is also okay; some people swear by it for corruption benefit, but I think corruption is manageable anyway. Expansion is crap. Militaristic is good since you want to maximize leaders (more on this later) and while the advantage to building barracks is nice, the advantage to building coastal fortresses is nothing compared to the advantage to building cathedrals (religious) or universities (scientific).

    Starting Position: because of the clumpy distribution of special resources, you may well start the game one square away from a tile with access to as many as 5 or 6 special resources. One of my cities had 5 gold resources, so I turned it into a science city (pretty much a necessity at the higher levels) with Copernicus, Newton, and SETI. I find it is worth a quick look around with the worker going to the nearest hill or mountain. Often there is a hill or mountain right next to where you start and you can look with the worker before the settler has to do anything. If you find a city with that much gold, try to build it so it has to irrigable grassland, so the population can climb. Youíre going to want a high pop. to work that gold commerce and also to build wonders.

    The AIs will expand to your borders as fast as possible, which is faster than you. After you construct your first couple of cities, visualize where you should build ďborderĒ cities to check the AIs expansion. Note choke points Ė strips between oceans/inland seas that are 1 or 2 tiles thick. Single tiles are especially nice since your naval vessels (and only yours) can cross there. Having mountains in front (to fortify a defensive unit) helps. Look for these kinds of strategically defensible and resource-desirable areas about 10-15 tiles from your capital and send your settlers out there. Youíll be leaving enough space in between that ring and your capital that you can fill it in with future cities. The AI will sneak cities in there, but it will be a relatively easy take-over for you, whether cultural or military. [Ed. note: I now take over these cities by force almost right away. I military "rush" the neighboring AIs when they have 3-6 cities, reduce them to 1-2 and force them to sue for peace at any price, hamstring them, then repeat process. Your empire can only grow at the AI's pace (especially at deity) when you use the AI as a "farm system" for growth.] Keep spreading out this way, moving to strategically sound sites and filling in the middle with subsequent settlers, as fast as you can. Ignore all early wonders. Build only temples, barracks, units, and occasionally settlers and workers. Keep attacking neighboring civs, forcing them to give you techs, money, workers, and even cities in peace talks.

    Even going at this breakneck speed, if you don't rush like crazy youíll soon be outgunned and under-citied relative to the AI at Emperor and Deity. The AI is doing the same thing you are, and it has big production advantages. But it has some important disadvantages that will keep you alive. For one thing, it will stop to build wonders. The only early wonders that are worth thinking about are Colossus, Pyramids, Sun Tze Ė all depending on the particular game you are playing. Colossus (which can be built only on an ocean square) will give you some early tech and commerce. For very big maps, Pyramids and Sun Tze both provide valuable global advantages to every city on your continent, even ones youíve just captured, and neither expires in Civ3. I will discuss the importance of barracks below, which also argues for Sun Tze. The mid-game wonders worth thinking about are Sistine, Bach, and (depending on your style and the game you are in) the science wonders and Shakespeare (for its 5 culture).

    Build up at least to the corruption trigger (for # of cities) as soon as possible. Itís 8 on a standard map and 12 on a large map, etc. As soon as you get the message ďOur people want to build the Forbidden Palace,Ē youíre there. If there are still strategically desirable locations and you are able to do so, keep expanding to nearby locations. I will talk about corruption management in a bit.

    Forget about leaders for the creating armies. I will personally come to your house and beat you if thatís what you use them for. On the high levels, use them to build wonders in one turn. On deity, thatís pretty much the only way to build any wonders at all. Because leaders are so crucial between Monarch-Deity you want to maximize them. One of the most important aspects of war for the higher level Civ3 gamer is not so much conquest as it is to produce a steady supply of leaders for wonder-building.

    That means you want barracks in at least some of your cities. Your odds of getting a leader are an order of magnitude better if you need only go from Veteran to Elite. Once you have Elite units, use them as much as you can, but only in fights you know they can win. Use other, especially older units or catapults, to soften up your enemy so your Elite unit will win. In big games I like to use an early leader to build an army of something reasonably powerful and then build the Heroic Epic (an investment in more leaders). In small games donít bother. Ideally, after your first ring of cities you will move much of your army to one front and get that neighbor to attack you Ė pretty easy to do with Zulus and other militaristic Civs. Youíll gradually pick up cities and create leaders over the course of the game. (Keep some units ďat homeĒ in between your remaining cities; remember, units donít need to be in a city for happiness reasons, just in your territory, so fortify some of them on hills & mtns in-between your cities for back-up.) Station your leaders in cities you want to build wonders in as soon as the tech becomes available. Sell the tech to everyone for as much as you can as soon as you get it; then build the wonder.

    These civs all trade techs constantly with each other and you must do the same Ė the only exception being when you want to protect a tech or its precursor for wonder-building reasons. If you manage your diplomacy and trade routes properly, you will get cheap techs via a combo of your own techs, money, maps (especially valuable early), and luxuries. The civs will trade older techs much cheaper, so if techs that you didnít research and donít need can be had for a song (e.g., 20 gold) later on. Conversely new techs of yours, especially if they allow Wonders that you donít care about anyway, will fetch a very high price. Iíve gotten as much as 30 gold per turn (from 5-6 different civs at once for the same tech), multiples techs, luxuries, etc. As soon as you trade with one civ, offer it to the others or that civ will instead. It will be slightly painful to you to share all your research but do it: this isnít Civ2.

    Along with high culture, trading frequently with the AIs reduces the chances of early wars. Thatís good, because youíll be struggling to keep up, and while you do want war, you want only one war at a time. Use Gold per turn to get into the right neighborhood, and then fine tune with Lump Sum. Your Advisor will tell you when they accept. Donít waste your time proposing trades that your advisor say are ďdoubtfulĒ or even ďnearly thereĒ unless you are trying to pick a fight. You can use Gold per turn on one side of a trade and lump sum on the other. Sometimes the AI will vehemently refuse to give you more than a certain amount of Gold per turn. This is because it only produces so much and doesnít want to change its revenue structure; it does not mean that it wonít give you a lot of something else, like techs, resources, or cash.

    Try to build roads and/or explore coastal sea lanes (if using harbors) to trade resources with AI civs. Only one of each luxury can be used by your Civ to make citizens happy; trade extra for techs, other luxuries, gold, etc. Trading luxuries to antagonistic neighbors seems to reduce their proclivity for war with you, as trading halts during war.

    In big games you will be very tempted to build the Great Library. You will think ďwith all these civs, Iíll be getting techs hand over fist.Ē As for the Great Library, it expires with Education now, not electricity, so its shelf life is just one age. It also comes a little too early in the game, when your production is better spent elsewhere. In large games, think about global wonders like Pyramids, Sun Tze, Hoover and the Happiness Wonders (except Shakespeare); in games where you plan to build these wonders, try to stay all on one continent as many of them work only for that continent. In small games, focus on city-specific wonders like Colossus, the Science wonders, Shakespeare.

    Donít even think about building Leo unless you have 25+ units that are upgradable. You should almost never build this wonder. It doesnít save you much money and itís 550 shields. Be happy itís in the game to waste some AIís time. I personally turn off Diplomatic victory, which I think is deeply flawed, so UN is obviously a waste. Lighthouse is still a joke. Great Wall is useless unless you are fighting all over the place in the early game (which you shouldnít be and wonít be if youíve managed your diplomacy right) and you have lots of city walls. Gardens provide good culture but have a short shelf life now. Magellan and Adam Smith are crap. Cure for Cancer comes late and you probably wonít need it unless you are knee-deep in bloodshed. Hoover is valuable if you have a very big empire. Longevity comes too late to help you and costs 700 shields; make 7 tanks instead. The Science wonders (Copernicus, Newton, SETI) can be crucial depending on what kind of game youíre in. I like to build them all (with Colossus if possible) in a city with 3+ gold tiles. Suffrage now works in addition to police stations and is of game-specific utility. Theory of Evolution costs a lot, and there is a lot more tech trading in this game than in Civ2.

    I try to build the Heroic Epic in big games to invest in more leaders. I definitely build Iron Works when I can to create a super-production city. (You can also build high-production cities by finding a city with some iron or coal, plus some other hills, and mining all of them. You will need to irrigate some grassland to support a high population. Then add workers to the city by moving them inside and hitting the ďBĒ key. Presto, you have a size 6 or 12 city thatís actually working all of those mines.) Armies are overrated, so the Pentagon and Military Academy are strictly for your own enjoyment; they wonít meaningfully help you win the game. Iíve never built the Strategic Missile Defense. The Forbidden Place is essential for large empires, so it gets its own section.

    Just manage your empire right and this wonít lose you the game (though it might irritate the hell out of you). Your empire should look like a large oblong or barbell, with your capital and Forbidden Palace in the center of a clump of cities at either end. Visualize a cell dividing. In some cases you may not want to build it far away from your capital as corruption will cause the build job to take forever and the Forbidden Palace cannot be rushed. Many people like to use a Leader to build the Forbidden Palace.

    EDIT: this thread was created before the "Vassal" strategy was fully developed. Many people find this strategy helpful, especially on higher levels, and you can find it here:

  • #2
    Good stuff, but one correction for you. The optimum amount of citys is 8 on tiny, 12 on small 16 on standard, and I forget what the other two are but one is 24.
    Better to be wise for a second than stupid for an entire lifetime.

    Creator of the LWC Mod for Civ3.


    • #3
      My cities # easily exceeds 16 (26 at last count) on a standard map and I have very managable corruption.


      • #4
        Yeah I was disappointed with the strengths of an army. I came across the situation where I attacked a pikeman in a small city with a 4-horseman (all veteran) army, and I lost the whole gang, inflicting 1 damage to the pikeman.

        I reloaded for the hell of it and attacked not with the army, but with the single veteran horseman on the same square. It beat the pikeman with 2 HP remaining.

        In the rest of the game, I've eyed my army and I kept seeing it lost way more HP in every battle than sinlge units do. I think the armies have a combat-disadvantage.


        • #5
          yes, they're just not an effective use of precious shields. In most military situations you're better off with three different units that you can spread out as strategically necessary, and attack (or defend) three different enemy units with in a single turn, and that you can upgrade. Armies are very underpowered. I was really psyched about them because I loved all the scenario-specific special units in Civ2, like Grant and Sherman in the Civil War, but Civ3 armies are almost unusable in their present form. Patch, anyone?

          Plutarck, thanks for the great correction. I had been assuming that the optimal number of cities was the same as the "Our people want the Forbidden Palace" prompt.

          I'm off to play more Civ3. For you guys that have been playing the game at higher levels, what strategies have you found effective?


          • #6
            Randomturn - Doing pretty much the same thing as you. Relying heavily on tech trading to keep me going. (And trading luxuries. You basically must have lots of atleast two kinds of luxuries in your own territory, so you can trade for the whole set with others. Luxuries + marketplace takes the edge of unhappy citizens for sure.)

            Luxuries and aggressive tech trading is what will win you the game. And controlled wars. Taking over a weak and close civ is a dream scenario. It gets you leaders which you can use to rush build wonders...

            The small wonders are also great, they are about the only thing that lets you save up shields.

            I am also doing a bit of trickery with forests when I misjudge the time to tech. Set your city to build some normal building. Clear forests for 10 shields to that town. (Can be done every two turns per square with enough workers.) When the building is full, switch to a minor wonder, which should be 1 turn from completion when you get your real wonder tech. Switch to the final wonder and watch it roll in. (Can be especially useful in establishing a science city.)

            Still not won on deity. Damn.


            • #7
              As for tech trading, I use a very different approach. Instead of trading off all my tech, I generally pursue the tech tree depth-wise until I get an important milestone (Monarchy, Republic, Milit. tradition, Replacement Parts, etc...), upgrade all my old units to the new almost unstoppable units (instead of spending time producing new units), and then attack a civ and capture or raize a few cities. After that I will offer peace for all of their "backwater" techs. Since every other civ has them, they're not regarded as very valuable, but it fills in all of the techs I need to advance an age. I will then attack them again and ask for peace again until I have all the tech they know. Since they trade with other civs, that's pretty close to all the tech around. This also gives me an impressive supply of free slave workers that are actually useful since I prefer Industrial civs.

              I have been able to keep the leading edge of tech starting during the medieval age using this strategy on Monarch and Emperor. I haven't tried Deity yet. During most of the ancient age, I'm just hoping to not start wars.

              My best civ is Commercial and Industrial. I find the production, growth, and science benefits of those to _way_ outpace the benefits of Scientific. You only get half price libraries etc... once per city. You get reduced corruption and increased trade all game long.
              I'm not giving in to security, under pressure
              I'm not missing out on the promise of adventure
              I'm not giving up on implausible dreams
              Experience to extremes" -RUSH 'The Enemy Within'


              • #8
                Interesting stuff, guys. Keep it coming!

                Lord Maxwell, you are so right about luxuries. A spare luxury can be traded for anoter civ's nerwly-researched, Grade A technology that you can then sell to all the other civs for buckets of gold if the civ you got it from hasn't done so (because it doesn't communicate with them, etc.). In my last few games, I've been buying and trading techs in the early game and spending the middle-late game staying 1-2 techs ahead of everyone else and selling my cutting-edge research at exhorbitant prices. It's a reinforcing cycle, because you place such a burden on these civs by draining all of their income per turn that you stay in the lead. It's almost a flaw in the game, and will be critical to beating deity. As for production, I often have 2-3 cities building a Palace in anticipation of switching to either Great or Small wonders; that works well because Palaces require a lot of shields and can be built in multiple cities at once. Which small wonders do you like?

                David W. that's an interesting strategy. I'll try it out in my next game. As for civilzation advantages, commercial's extra commerce and lower corruption is nice but I feel like I get more tech and money (thru trade) with scientific, and I'm not having that much trouble with corruption. Libraries and Universities and big culture builders, which tends to be important in my particular playing style. That being said, I also play commercial and industrial a lot. It's militaristic and expansionist that I avoid.

                General note: I just built a city surrounded by 7 gold tiles and a river. What a monster. The game is emperor, huge map, high oceans, continents, 5 billion years.


                • #9
                  Actually, I've found the military to be a quite useful tool in early game on Emporer playing the Romans on a regular map. Depending on who is next to you and depending on map size, it will be good to try to take your closest neighbor out as soon as possible. By that time, your precious population can then be liquidated for quick expansion to fill out his space (or the space that you have cleared by razing the smallest cities) and you might get a leader in the process for an early wonder.

                  I look at it as the antidote for my MO in Civ2. Somebody who is expanding quickly is fairly vulnerable to strategic attack (more targets to defend inadequately). The AI is expanding quickly, so give him a black eye.

                  As the Romans, I've been trying the following queue:

                  warrior for exploration
                  barracks for training
                  5x archers or similar to keep your pop happy and to take out your neighbor
                  2x spearmen

                  I'm still trying to find a good mix...

                  One of the things that is apparent in Civ3 is that you have to play to your civ's strengths. This might suck as a strategy for the Egyptians, for instance, while it was fine for the Romans.
                  I came upon a barroom full of bad Salon pictures in which men with hats on the backs of their heads were wolfing food from a counter. It was the institution of the "free lunch" I had struck. You paid for a drink and got as much as you wanted to eat. For something less than a rupee a day a man can feed himself sumptuously in San Francisco, even though he be a bankrupt. Remember this if ever you are stranded in these parts. ~ Rudyard Kipling, 1891


                  • #10
                    I have to say this is about the best thread on strategy on this site. Too much crying and "strategy suggestions" of changing corruption rules and not enough figuring out how to actually win this game. Kudos to randomturn and others with sound advice.

                    random, you say you can't rush FP, but I've done it with a Leader. Are you suggesting that a Leader shouldn't be wasted on a small wonder like this. I find the corruption problems it fixes to be worth it. A bunch of one shield cities suddenly productive. BTW, I love your barbell analogy. That's exactly what I've done. If you're militiristic, I find the best place for FP is in the capitol of a Civ I've wiped out (for lower levels, anyway, haven't dared Monarch or Deity) as this is generally the biggest city and in the center of the defeated empire.



                    • #11
                      I think it is best to put the FP in the middle of your own core cities. Then you can rebuild your palace whenever you see fit. The only problem is that you usually wind up rebuilding your capitol in harm's way.


                      • #12
                        The advantage of the expanionist civs is the early stuff from goody huts. Also knowing the lay of the land helps you to figure out how to plan your expansion.


                        • #13
                          Don't knock expansionistic so hard - it seems very weak on the surface, but the early game is important, and you always get good bonuses from huts, so you can wind up with extra cities (many turns gained), or extra techs (many turns gained). Plus, scouts also save you early turns by quickly getting you into contact with other civs and allowing you to site for cities, borders, etc.


                          • #14
                            I would like to add some detail to my general post above. Basically I have now devised a strategy for getting through the ancient age and keeping up with the Emperor AI. The three big problems at this level are:

                            Unhappiness comes early
                            AI has many more units (production bonus)
                            AI has better tech (science bonus)

                            Keep cities small
                            Wage war without ever losing a unit (not cheating)
                            Pry their stinking tech from their cold, dead hands (see above)

                            OK, with some luxuries and a decent road network, you can have a size 3 city no problem. That?s the biggest I let them get in the early going. I like warrior, warrior, settler (perfectly matches pop. growth for normal cities) for a long time in all cities. If you have an extra growth city with wheat or cattle, add some workers once in a while. The purpose here is to stake out a decent footprint and then fill it in later. You only need two ?bonus? grasslands or two irrigated plains to keep this up forever. Add roads and your trade starts creeping up even with small cities. For better production let them grow one more and build the settler just as the city pops to 4. This will allow you to build the bigger military units you will need. Since the pop. rate is the same for size 1-6, the bigger you can handle, the better units can be built in between settlers, and there?s no penalty (other than a one-time delay) for letting your cities get bigger.

                            I use all the ?obsolete? warriors as MPs if I want bigger cities or I don?t have a connected city somewhere. Note that the best barbarian protection is ?seeing? all of the land around you, so plant lookouts if you have extra warriors that aren?t doing anything else and you never even have to defend yourself. Two warriors for 10 shields gives 2 content faces. Can?t beat that.

                            I depend on Industrious civs to keep my roads and irrigation going, and also to keep the worker count down so that I can crank up the military. I had awesome success with Egypt because of their special unit, but I think it can be done with other civs without much trouble.

                            Conquest time. Build fast units and catapults. It doesn?t matter if they?re weak, just make sure they?re fast! Until you get Mathematics the fast units are enough. Attack cities on the first movement of the unit?s turn, so that if he gets beat up and retreats you can then move away from the city to heal and avoid counter-attacks by archers or worse. Attack in groups so that you wear down and kill the defending units instead of just wounding them and then watching them heal. Once you have the catapults, use them to soften the target before attacking with your fast units (to reduce healing time). Obviously the catapults need protection, but I let 2 or 3 fast units defend them instead of wasting production on spearmen. I was able to decimate Greece and their fortified hoplites without ever losing a unit, and I had only 4 catapults and 5 war chariots (plus about 10 warriors on the lookout). Any time he would send out a raiding party I would chew it up with the same tactics as my city assaults. I took advantage of all the roads my Industrious workers built to outmaneuver him if he ever entered my territory.

                            With lookouts preventing barbarians, and the enemy afraid for his cities, all of my interior cities don?t need any real protection, so all of the modern military can be on the front. Eventually I had enough military so I could start to improve my cities instead of produce more.

                            Tech-wise, don?t research anything you think the computer will research for you, because you?ll get that for free from one civ and then trade it to other civs for even more ?standard? tech. I push for monarchy so that once I?ve destroyed the first one or two civs, I can start growing and enter the peaceful production phase. Don?t forget to offer peace for tech regularly, and then start the war again immediately, but don?t start a war while paying money to a civ per turn, because that upsets the AI diplomats who think you are trying to cheat them (as opposed to just ?honorably? destroying them).

                            By the time I was finished with the conquest of Greece, I had as many cities as the next largest civ (who was peacefully expanding on another continent), but mine were all size 3 and 4, instead of having a few at size 5 or 6 and then a bunch of outliers at size 1 (like the AI civs). I?m guessing that this will allow me to reach a critical mass and outpace the AI?s science in the future. We?ll see. If not, I?ll repeat the whole Idea when I get cavalry?
                            I'm not giving in to security, under pressure
                            I'm not missing out on the promise of adventure
                            I'm not giving up on implausible dreams
                            Experience to extremes" -RUSH 'The Enemy Within'


                            • #15
                              that's good military advice. I need to do more of that. My problem is that I'm trying to beat deity and the AIs just produce units hand over fist. If you let them get too far out in front (i.e., don't go to war early) then their units just get better and better. So it's really tough to win an early war and impossible to beat if you don't.

                              eMarkM: depending on the game and if your other cities are all busy building wonders or whatnot, it can certainly make sense to use a Leader to build FP, because of the immediate local productivity boost you describe.