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Civ choice for the "builder"

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  • Civ choice for the "builder"

    Ok, since I started a thread on civ choice for early warmongering, I figured I'd go back to the other side of the spectrum and discuss civs from a builder perspective (which I happen to be better qualified for anyway). "Builder" style tends to be peaceful, although many builders play a hybrid style - some warmongering along with the building.

    Again, I am assuming "culturally linked starting locations" is on. Obviously, this whole post carries the disclaimer: IMHO.

    First, ranking of the traits, from a builder perspective:

    #1) Religious. Cheap temples (right away) and Cathedrals, no anarchy. That's a lot of turns saved, both in gov't switching and building those improvements. Strong culture early helps with cultural defections, and makes ancient era culture bombing possible.

    #2) Industrious. 2x worker speed, some extra shields in large cities. The double time workers really help expansion, which is much more important to the builder than the warmonger. The warmonger will take by force... the builder must beat the AI to the good city sites. You also start with masonry, which is a nice bonus.

    #3) Scientific. Cheap libraries & universities, 1 free tech per age. I was torn between Ind & Sci for the 2 & 3 spots. This one is a solid builder trait too, and saves a lot of turns building those improvements, not to mention 12 turns minimum from research (3 techs x4 minimum each = 12). Bronze working means you can build spearmen right away... no biggie.

    #4) Commercial. Lower corruption (not by much, in my experience) and extra gold in large towns/cities. Not a strong trait, really, but it can be useful, particularly if you have room to expand. EDIT: v. 1.29 has boosted this trait considerably. It could be argued that it challenges scientific for the #3 spot.

    #5) Expansionistic. Scouts, nice huts. This can bump commercial from the #4 spot on maps larger than "normal." Free tech, settlers and gold is hard to argue with.

    #6) Militaristic. We're talking "builder" here.

    The Civs -

    Babylon: Rel/Sci, neighbors Persia & Zululand. Well, the traits are awesome for the peaceful builder, particularly on smaller maps. The UU is nothing to write home about. Zululand could present problems, but they are fairly easy to placate. 'Ware the Impi! Oh, and the Immortal too. The key is managing to stave off attack until Chivalry. Grade: A

    Persia: Sci/Ind, neighbors Babylon & Zululand. Good trait combo for building, although not being religious hurts a bit. Strong ancient era UU, can be used in a pinch until Gunpowder, after which it is largely useless. Zululand, as noted above, can be a serious nuisance (thank your lucky stars the AI is not Aeson), but placating them is usually not too hard. Also, if you do get attacked, you can throw Immortals at them. Babylon is little threat. Grade: B+

    Zulu: Exp/Mil, neighbors Persia & Babylon. Pretty bad trait combo for the builder. UU is great for terrorizing the enemy early on, but doesn't help the builder all that much, though they upgrade all the way. Persia is a potential problem, due to the Immortals. Grade: F

    Egypt: Rel/Ind, neighbors Greece & Rome. Great trait combo, especially on larger maps where the 2x worker speed really shines. UU offers cheap mobile defense early on, and is in the horse upgrade path. Rome can be a terror with those Legions, but is often very weak when played by the AI. Greece is often more of a problem, but once you're in the middle ages the playing field is even. Grade: A

    Greece: Sci/Com, neighbors Rome & Egypt. Decent traits, strong defensive UU. Rome, as noted above, has a strong UU, but your hoplites (which eventually upgrade to Mech Inf.) can match them on defense. Egypt expands well, so they can eventually be more of a problem than Rome. Grade: B

    Rome: Com/Mil, neighbors Greece & Egypt. Terrible traits for the builder. Strong UU in the ancient era... no upgrade path, though. Neither neighbor presents much of an early attack threat, but each can be problematic later in the game. Grade: F

    England: Exp/Com, neighbors Germany, France, Russia. Terrible traits, unless playing a huge 'pelago map. UU is largely useless, except for the aforementioned huge island map. Germany presents a threat early, middle and late, so beware. France is largely peaceful... Russia is in between. Grade: D

    France: Ind/Com, nieghbors Germany, England, Russia. Good traits, particularly on larger maps. Herr Bismarck is a problem, Lizzy can never be trusted, and Cathy is often ornery. And you wonder why French is the language of diplomacy? Oh, yeah, almost forgot about the UU... wonder why? Grade: B

    Russia: Sci/Exp, neighbors Germany, England, France. Ok traits, better on larger maps. The English are usually weak, the French are usually peaceful (at least in the beginning), but Bismarck is very aggressive. Grade: C

    Germany: Sci/Mil, neigbors England, France, Russia. So-so traits. English are normally weak but meddlesome, France solid but passive, Russia difficult. No militarists in the bunch, all have Middle Ages UU's, but none of them are anything special. Your UU comes late and is fantastic. Grade: C+

    India: Rel/Com, neigbors China and Japan. Solid traits. The Japanese are militaristic and aggressive, so they are a concern. China, while militaristic, is fairly docile. Each has a very strong Medieval UU, while you have a knight that needs no resources. You'll love it if you lack iron and/or horses, but otherwise you may as well not have a UU. Grade: B-

    Japan: Rel/Mil, neighbors China & India. So-so traits. Your neighbors are usually peaceful, though watch out for those Riders. Your UU is well-balanced and concurrent with your neigbors'. Grade: C

    China: Ind/Mil, neighbors Japan & India. Poor traits. One peaceful neighbor, one aggressive one. Your Riders vs. Japan's Samurai = bloodbath, so avoid Medieval war with them. Grade: D+

    America: Ind/Exp, neighbors Iroquois & Aztecs. Poor traits, though better on Huge maps. The Aztecs are a major concern early, but the threat lessens with time. They remain dangerous, though. The Iroquois are less aggresive, but can do much more damage if they come for you in ancient times. Beware both. Grade: C-

    Aztecs: Rel/Mil, neighbors Iroquois & Americans. So-so traits. Both neighbors can be problematic. Abe can be quite aggresive, and the Iroquois have the Mounted Warrior. Your jags are a warmongers dream, but don't really help a builder. Grade: C

    Iroquois: Rel/Exp, neighbors America & Aztecs. Ok traits, good on large or huge maps. Your UU is powerful, but ancient. If attacked, however, you can open a serious can of whoopass. The Aztecs are always a concern, and America can be even more troublesome. Watch your back. Grade: B-

    Gather, discuss.

    grog want tank...Grog Want Tank... GROG WANT TANK!

    The trick isn't to break some eggs to make an omelette, it's convincing the eggs to break themselves in order to aspire to omelettehood.

  • #2
    Babs, hands down. The only lack is Industrious, so buy every worker you can find.

    When pursuing a builder strat though, where do you set research?

    (sidenote as warmonger: boy do I love demanding 5 techs for peace!!)

    "Verily, thou art not paid for thy methods, but for thy results, by which meaneth thou shalt kill thine enemy by any means available before he killeth you." - Richard Marcinko


    • #3

      My normal "builder" research track:

      Step 1 - Literature (and build G.Library)

      Step 2 - Currency

      Step 3 - Republic

      Step 4 - Feudalism

      Step 5 - Theology

      Step 6 - Invention

      Step 7 - Education

      Step 8 - Astronomy

      Step 9 - Economics

      10 - Theory of Gravity

      11 - Democracy

      I'll stop there, but I could probably give you the whole tech tree start to finish. Beginning research rate I leave at 50%. If I see I'm making more than 5 gold/turn, I up it. Obviously, I play with it with 1 turn left on a tech.

      Yeah, warmongering does offer that way of catching up. The Great Library is the builder's version of that.

      grog want tank...Grog Want Tank... GROG WANT TANK!

      The trick isn't to break some eggs to make an omelette, it's convincing the eggs to break themselves in order to aspire to omelettehood.


      • #4
        Ah my poor Zulu, can't really defend them in this thread. You're right on with the Persian comment... The Persian Iron is always my primary target!

        I like Greece on higher difficulties as a builder. The hardest thing is catching up in tech without going to war. Usually I get a Civ without Iron to attack me, and just wait until they throw all their offensive military away against my Hoplites. Then make peace for several techs. I don't think this counts as warmongering too much! The early GA helps with expansion, which pays off throughout the game. The Greeks are very good at OCC games too, mainly because they start with Alphabet and a Wonder (Collosus) to store shields in for the Great Library. B+ for the Greeks!

        That's about all I can find to differ with. (and a paltry half grade from passive agressive warmongering at that)


        • #5
          Hmm, it's true that the highest difficulties (by which I mean Emperor & Diety) may change some of the grades, but then again, I kinda ignored those levels, since only a very skilled, very patient player can successfully use a builder strategy when put at such a disadvantage.

          The Greeks can be strong, and the AI usually does fairly well with them. The cheap, no-resource pikemen from game start is nice to have... but I'd rather have a unit that can hit. Even as a builder.

          grog want tank...Grog Want Tank... GROG WANT TANK!

          The trick isn't to break some eggs to make an omelette, it's convincing the eggs to break themselves in order to aspire to omelettehood.


          • #6
            If considering pure builder style, my choice would be:

            1. Egyptians - for quick tile development and a good culture (religious branch)
            2. Babylonians - for a very high culture (both religious and scientific)
            3. Greeks - for the darn good ancient defensive UU and a good culture (scientific branch)

            Since I am not a pure builder, but about 2/3 builder and 1/3 warmonger, "my" Germans seem to be a good choice for me, for being both cultural (scientific) and militarily strong.

            Arrian, may be after this one you open a thread for "mixed" strategy?


            • #7

              In truth, I'm about 2/3 builder 1/3 warmonger too. I don't want to just win, I want to win big, so I've gotta fight. Plus, I want my people happy, but the AI won't trade me luxuries at anything approaching a fair deal (subjective, I know), so I'd rather bash some skulls than pay.

              Regarding another thread for hybrid strategy... well, I think that's harder to categorize. Anyway, the grades I handed out in this thread were not purely based on peaceful building. So in a way, the grades here are for a hybrid stategy, less warmonger than builder.

              Ah, what the heck...for the 1/2 warmonger 1/2 builder:

              Babylon: B- (better on small maps)
              Persia: A- (B+ on larger maps, A+ on small ones)
              Zulu: C (C+/B- on larger maps)
              Egypt: B+
              Greece: B-
              Rome: C (better on small maps)
              England: D- (better on 'pelago, of course)
              France: B-
              Russia: C (slightly better on larger maps)
              Germany: B
              India: D+
              Japan: A-
              China: B- (B on larger maps)
              America: C- (slightly better on larger maps)
              Aztec: A- (A on larger maps)
              Iroquois: A- (A+ on large maps)

              Tough to rank these, because it all depends on when you intend to fight vs. build. Hence, a fairly high grade for China. For the straight builder, China is a poor civ. But if you start off with a horseman rush, and turn that into a Rider rush... and continue with Cav if you want...OMG.

              grog want tank...Grog Want Tank... GROG WANT TANK!

              The trick isn't to break some eggs to make an omelette, it's convincing the eggs to break themselves in order to aspire to omelettehood.


              • #8
                I, too, am really a hybrid player, in that a) I have found that you need to build happiness-generating buildings to deal with war-weariness, and b) my primary purpose in warfighting is to generate GLs, which I use to build Wonders, many of which are "build-magnifiers."

                On the other hand, I really really LIKE warfighting. So I'd probably peg my strategies as 80-20 warmonger.

                That being said, I would still give the Babs an A if focused on the builder side. Arrian, I think your grades reflect a little too much focus on the UU. Being both Rel/Ind, the Babs are cultural kings. In there case, the UU is not a warfighting advantage, but rather a blessing in disguise for GA timing. You just have to prosecute wars using normal units. I don;t think realtive strength compared to the Immortal is all that bad (think extra vet fortified spearmen on both defense and offense), and Impis aren't much of an issue beyond the early early stages of the game.

                I have played some great games with them, but I find that I have a slight edge in using fast-moving UUs in creating GLs is all.

                "Verily, thou art not paid for thy methods, but for thy results, by which meaneth thou shalt kill thine enemy by any means available before he killeth you." - Richard Marcinko


                • #9

                  I did give the Babs an "A" for building. They're my favorite civ! Yeah, they're the best culture civ in the game, and if left alone for a while, they "build up" really well. 1/2 price temples, libraries, cathedrals, universities and research labs (not that it really matters by then) are really nice, along with no anarchy and 3 free techs. I could care less about their UU, if I'm playing a mostly builder game.

                  I didn't really pay much attention to UU's when I rated civs for the mostly builder style, but my second ranking involves more fighting. Therefore, UU becomes more important (both effectiveness and potential golden age timing). The bowman is poor in both categories, IMO.

                  grog want tank...Grog Want Tank... GROG WANT TANK!

                  The trick isn't to break some eggs to make an omelette, it's convincing the eggs to break themselves in order to aspire to omelettehood.


                  • #10
                    I guess I'm saying that for a more hybrid, balanced strategy, I would look to the Babs for their insanely great builder characteristics, and just be a warmonger anyway with only normal units. I would NOT use the UU in warfighting AT ALL, and instead very precisely trigger my GA. This is actually very cool... if you are having problems with warfighting early, trigger the GA to pump out units. Or if you see that someone is going to beat you by a hair to a given GW, if you have enough time left and it will help you win the race, trigger the GA. Or wait until early industrial, when you have loads of cities, maybe your FP, and are starting the race for that great cluster of GWs.

                    Actually, to one of Vel's points, I think this could make for a more prolonged period of "balance" and therefore fun, especially on Monarch.

                    You are at risk from the Impis early, so I would probably target the Persians first, before the get their Immortals, with a warrior rush, and as soon as I got Horseman, a-Zulu hunting I will go. Man, I love this... set for 40 turn research, build settlers, warriors only, except maybe 1-2 barracks at the front, and then while at very early punishing /denial war with Persia, build temples and then maybe a few more barracks, then Horseman rush and warrior upgrades, then while the Impi extermination is going on, build libraries than spearman, turn on the research heat, get to chivalry, upgrade your horsies...

                    Big empire with 1-2 vassals; big, veteran / elite combined force in place; temples and libraries in place, and ready to build out the other goodies, probably several GWs and an FP.

                    I would expect a couple of hair-raising battles and risky situations along the way? What's not to like, even for a war-hungry bastard like me? My only complaint would be that I'd expect a few fewer GLs, by virtue of not using a fast-mover UU.

                    I give'em and A- overall.

                    "Verily, thou art not paid for thy methods, but for thy results, by which meaneth thou shalt kill thine enemy by any means available before he killeth you." - Richard Marcinko


                    • #11
                      I have never really fought an ancient war as the Babs. The one exception was the game where I found Beijing undefended, with a settler in it, in about 3000bc. I thought, "thank you, Civ gods!" and took it. But I still played that game with a builder mentality. Since the AI civs took turns trying to kill me, I was often at war, but I was so strong that I kinda fought with one hand behind my back (busily "building").

                      The thing is, if you are going to play as a warmonger, you're gonna get big, you're gonna have great leaders, which means a forbidden palace, which means double productivity fairly early, which means a MUCH stronger economy than normal, which means that you can lead in tech AND have a ton of cash... which means having 1/2 price science improvements just isn't that important. You can just rushbuy that stuff. Yeah, that's even cheaper for the Babs, but I'd rather have industrious workers (mmm, Egypt). Oh, if only Egypt had a later UU, and didn't start next to two civs with a 3 defense UU. Heh. Maybe I'll take the linking starting locations off and try a horseman rush with Egypt (so I don't blow the GA).

                      grog want tank...Grog Want Tank... GROG WANT TANK!

                      The trick isn't to break some eggs to make an omelette, it's convincing the eggs to break themselves in order to aspire to omelettehood.


                      • #12
                        In my experience, the Egyptians are your best bet for a builder strategy, especially 1) when playing at higher levels (Monarch and Emperor...I'm not in to torturing myself by playing Deity) and 2) if you don't like restarting in case your game is suboptimal.

                        The key is to play a 80% warmonger 20% builder hybrid strategy until you have a decent land mass with which you can build to your heart's content. The Egyptians are most successful at this because their cheap War Chariots allow relatively early rushes (don't go picking a fight until you have around 8-12 offensive units on Emperor, trust me!), which in turn is made possible by Industrious workers. In my opinion, the Egyptians can generate an effective early-game army faster than any other civ.

                        Specifically, my strategy is to set a few core cities, and my workers (only 2-3) to connect them (at the expense of irrigation and mines). I research The Wheel and gain access to Horses. At this point I drop everything (usually Warriors/Spearmen and Settlers) and crank out the War Chariots, the last wave of which is pop-rushed. I then ruthlessly attack the nearest civ. The first thing I build in the newly-conquered cities are Temples; I defend the city a War Chariot until I can pop-rush the Temple. Finally, I connect the new cities to my road network (again, at the expense of irrigation and mines). The point here is that all the steps I've just mentioned are made "easy" by Egypt's strengths.

                        What does this accomplish beyond the pure Warmonger strategy? Well, I've accomplished the following things:

                        1. Doubled my land mass and city count (roughly).
                        2. Connected all my cities with roads.
                        3. Built Temples in all my border towns.
                        4. Protected my empire with a fast defensive force (War Chariots).
                        5. Captured a bunch of workers.
                        6. Initiated Golden Age.

                        To me, this is an ideal setup for a Builder. Furthermore, I doubt a pure builder strategy accomplish this as fast; conquering cities culturally takes a lot longer and requires improvements, and building workers is simply slower than capturing them.

                        On Monarch or Emperor, the AI, given enough space, can usually build 1.5 cities for each of yours, even if you're being a pure Builder. Early warmongering is the only way to even the odds and set up favorable environment for building. Also, if you're starging locations isn't exactly favorable, the above strategy is still doable, allowing you to dig yourself out of a hole as an alternative to restarting.

                        The only downside to this strategy is that Chariots can't traverse Jungle or Mountain squares. I've actually quit a game where I had about 12 Chariots really early, but they were blocked in by a huge jungle. Ugh.

                        Anyway, that's my two cents on Builder.

                        And her eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming...


                        • #13


                          • #14
                            I've gone through several different phases with Civ III. I generally prefer to play a builder-type of game, and on Monarch and Regent I can outbuild the AI following REX expansion. Occassionally I decide to be somewhat belligerant and go smack around some neighbors, but I find lenghty wars to be tedious.

                            Given my experiences, I've become somewhat attached to the Industrious trait. I like larger worlds--continents and pangaea. I've played all of the Industrious civ's at one time or another, and while the religious Egyptians have tremendous advantages, so do the scientific Persians. I may be a bit odd, but I actually like the American Expansionist's a lot. I really like those early scout units.

                            With a build queue of scout-warrior-settler-warrior-settler-scout, I'll have the region surrounding me explored in no time. Since huts pose no barbarian troubles, both techs and settlers beckon. Of course, what you get is random (cash is such a disappointment), so each game is a little different.

                            The problem then become the build cost of both religious and scientific buildings is normal and I slow down a bit. I find myself with a bit of a double peak -- an ancient lead with the computer catching up. Then extending my lead again with the burst of Wonders in the medieval era.

                            With the Egyptians, I find myself just absolutely pulling away. If I don't pick a fight, though, everyone catches up and eventually supercedes me.

                            The Persians, however, have a great UU and an trait that gives throughout the game.

                            It's a tough call, but those are my three favorites.

                            I must admit, at one time I was enamoured with the French, too. On the larger worlds I play, though, I just find the American Expantionist trait more valuable.


                            • #15
                              I have pretty much settled on the Egyptians as the best overall builder civ (particularly on larger maps), with the Babs right behind them. I can out-build and out-wonder the AI w/o even fighting on Monarch (last game - Great Library, Hanging Gardens, Sun Tzu, Sistine, Copernicus, Leo's, Newton, and I could have taken a shot at Bach's, but decided I had other things to do). I have opened up the largest tech lead under 1.17, as a builder, with the Egyptians (largest ever under 1.17 was my Japanese warmonger game). It would seem like the Babs are a better choice for that, but it seems that the early infrastructure boost you get as an industrious civ really pays off later.

                              I'll definitely have to try the horseman rush as Egypt to see whether it's worthwhile. I'll build WC's and use cash to upgrade them to horsies. Then, when I'm ready to stop fighting, I'll use one WC to trigger a golden age...or maybe even wait longer than that. We'll see.

                              grog want tank...Grog Want Tank... GROG WANT TANK!

                              The trick isn't to break some eggs to make an omelette, it's convincing the eggs to break themselves in order to aspire to omelettehood.