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When to Leave Despotism

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  • When to Leave Despotism

    I'm having to get therapy because, as a veteran Civ player, Civ3 is completely humiliating me (on Regent). I continually play the Romans, and I manage to keep in the top 3 throughout the ancient era. My problems begin in the Medieval, where the AI civs go to Republic and simply outpace me in every conceivable way.

    What are some good ideas or benchmarks in knowing when to leave Despotism for either Monarchy or Republic. I'm running through options in my mind like, do I need to have aqueducts in place, cathedrals, etc? I can't keep up with the AI civs, and I prefer to play without having to fight world war-type battles.
    I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble. - Helen Keller

  • #2
    I've always left depotism in Civ2 at the earliest date, so I always ran for monarchy since I'm not usually out on a mission to get a space launch or something, and am not a big fan of republic (even though I use it a lot). In Civ3, however, despotism is more useful since you can rush buildings without paying anything other than the souls of your citizens, but those are much cheaper and worth less than a few gold coins, right?

    In general I still try to get out of despotism early, but now instead of going to monarchy, a lot of times I just wait a few more turns to get to republic before switching. The food penalty on despotism kills your civ once your cities get to pop 6 or above, since it's not always that your cities have good food tiles to keep more than 6 or 7 workers working on enough food. Republic's commerce is nice as well.

    So, to make the answer short -- I switch when I get something better.


    • #3
      When you're in Despotism, do you pop rush a lot? If you don't, you really should consider it. It's almost TOO powerful. I usually don't leave despot until I have enough cash built up that I can safely abandon pop rush in favor of paying for rushing w/ cash. I'll pop rush improvement/unit at least twice in each city and use the units in an early war of conquest.

      Also, play a lot w/ the science slider in the early game. You can really boost cash a lot doing this. I find having a big cash hoard is more important than high science. You just buy tech from others to keep pace if you fall behind. Play w/ slider every turn in the beginning and max cash v science, because it varies so much from turn to turn--you'll be surprised. Later on when you get a decent science clip going, you don't have to micromanage this as much.

      You might also want to reconsider being a pacifist the whole game. Not that I suggest you take up a rush-the-opponent-constantly strategy, but I find it's almost always favorable to take out at least one neighboring civ to expand your borders in Ancient /early middle ages. They too easily can box you in and suffocate you, and this may be part of your problem. Build Forb Palace in former civs country w/ leader you hopefully get from the war and you'll likely have the largest, most productive civ at that point, mostly free of corruption with FP. You'll get plenty of space to have a better chance at the resources you'll need, a TON of slave labor to work your tiles, a possible leader, and more cities for more production to keep ahead of AI.

      From there you can turtle up and play more the perfectionist game and really build your internal infrastructure. It's too hard to keep up without some sort of military expansion early on. This is my first priority and then I settle down in peace and build internally, usually switching to Republic after I've vanquished my foe.

      So the basic recipe I follow is to use Despotism to pop rush units and overwhelm a weak neighbor. You don't have to go after them right away, but fairly soon, like when you have swordsmen or good UU. Pop rush some temples, but otherwise ignore improvements in favor of military. Use despot pop rush liberally. Take out a civ to expand borders. Make "per turn" trades w/ other civs to keep them out of alliances against you. Once the weakling is gone or so throughly defeated as to be irrelevant, switch from Despot to Republic. Once in Republic, you should have enough units from the war to provide good defense and then concentrate on culture improvements and internal growth. Always update your units ASAP, especially from spearmen->pikemen->musketmen, so AI is weary of invading you while you switch to peaceful times.

      I've used this successfully a number of times on Monarch/8-12 civ games. Just fight one early war under despot and you can be a peacenik for the rest of the game if you like.



      • #4
        I think it really depends on the game setting. I have so far been playing 7 civ huge map games, so neighbours aren't always my problems. I tend to take one out (the closest one) early on, and then leave it be because the second one is usually too far to bother with. From then I'd wait until much, much later.

        I don't pop rush that much, although sometimes I do it especially after getting a city. It's nicer than in republic where you have to pay, but I think when you're in the early conquest phase, you either

        1) haven't gotten monarchy/republic yet
        2) don't really want to switch because of the anarchy, unless you're religious

        So it's a moot point anyway


        • #5
          MarshalN, keep up the good posting, my friend. One of these days, we'll get you out of being a Chieftain.


          • #6
            ::gives Steve a "high five" as he walks into the room:: Hey bud!

            As to Despotism....I'd recommend staying in it till you have no more early game infrastructure to build! Pop-rush Temples, Libraries, Coluseums, and maybe even cathedrals, and then switch to something a bit more "citizen friendly."

            The main strength of Desotism is that it's TOTALLY immune to corruption hits to production because food = shields for all practical purposes. Under despotism, the "actual" number of shields per turn you're producing is irrelevant. The *vast* majority of builds under Despotism should come via the Despotic Whip. into that strength and dont' make the switch till you get your infrastructure in place.

            The list of published books grows. If you're curious to see what sort of stories I weave out, head to and do an author search for "Christopher Hartpence." Help support Candle'Bre, a game created by gamers FOR gamers. All proceeds from my published works go directly to the project.


            • #7
              Vel, as we're finding on your threads, pop rushing is really all powerful. Some have gone so far to say Despot is the best gov, simply because of pop rushing. But doesn't it have an effect on happiness at some point? Has anyone studied this aspect? I use it liberally, but refrain from doing it each time I have the opportunity, so unhappiness hasn't been an issue for me. But if you're whipping constantly, even to the point of later improvements like cathedrals, you're talking a lot of mass slaughter over the turns. Obviously unhappiness isn't an issue when a despot, because you keep killing the pop! But at some point you want to build the empire and I'm wondering what kind of effect this has in later unhappiness for growing cities that experiened past mass slaughter.

              If there's a minimal effect on unhappiness, than I would say perhaps pop rushing it TOO powerful and unduly unbalances the game. A solution then would be to make pop rushing prohibitively expensive in terms of happiness after some point.



              • #8
                I think I'd have to count myself as one of those people who hold that Despotism is probably the most powerful government form till it stands now, you can simply bully other Civs for their techs, not research at all, have plenty of money, and rush build everything based on food production/granaries!

                There is admittedly an unhappiness factor, and Gat pointed out in one of his posts that cities where he had repeatedly rushed were hobbled till almost the late game, but....I'm thinking that if you rush purely for infrastructure from core cities and purely for military from Training Camps, then your core cities should not see much long term ill effect from it, and you can eventually disband your training camps, getting around having to pay the piper there.

                In all, I see few long-term downsides to it, and would have to agree that it's probably a "broken" aspect of the game.

                I'm also....ummm....sorta addicted to it...

                The list of published books grows. If you're curious to see what sort of stories I weave out, head to and do an author search for "Christopher Hartpence." Help support Candle'Bre, a game created by gamers FOR gamers. All proceeds from my published works go directly to the project.


                • #9
                  i have to agree with Vel here...despot power is the once you have little to build and cash in your coffers....its time to switch....even if only for a few turns to pump the economy...

                  i play as the switching is of no concern to me..revolt is one turn unlike other civs where it can be 4-7 turns.....

                  milk despot for all you can..... and make the switch....repub comes early but i always go demo and then communist for yet more rush abilities....

                  i hate monarchy..which i feeel in civ3 is pretty useless for my playing style.....especially since republic is right around the corner and its benefits far outweigh the crown
                  Boston Red Sox are 2004 World Series Champions!


                  • #10
                    I've had some bad experiences with pop rushing when I don't have enough luxuries and people turn sour on me. I find that after rushing a few times, the city gets really unproductive and you have to rush again to get anything done.

                    It's good for the short term, but I don't think it's the long term solution. I find using republic and buy things is better for my style in the long run.