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The Builder Turned Warmonger

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  • The Builder Turned Warmonger

    After a long break from Civ3 and these boards, I've returned to the game over the last few weeks. Those of you who may have read my previous posts would remember that I was in favor of a builder-style, with concentration on wonder and infrastructure building. Warfare was limited to securing the continent, and often took well into the industrial age to accomplish.

    The changes to the game (notably the much-improved armies) since I left have made the way of the warrior quite attractive, and I've refined my strategy to embrace this. For reference, my previous compliation of writings can be found here:

    http://apolyton.net/forums/showthrea...threadid=40805

    Civilization Selection

    I enjoy playing a multitude of civilizations. In the past I have prefered the Persians over all others, but I have grown to embrace a number of different factions. Industrious, Religious, Scientific, and Militaristic civs all have their strengths, and I tend to select a faction with a combination of these. I have been meaning to explore the reported appearance of GL's from goody huts with expansionist civs, but I have not yet done so. However, the civ which I have become most fond of is the Aztecs.

    The Aztecs have been praised in other threads, so I will not go into them at length, but I would like to note that I do not engage in "jag blitz" tactics at all. The Jag warrior is an exceptional unit for exploration in the early game, and are outstanding barbarian defense. I prefer to save my golden age for the later game, thus any military action in the Ancient Era will not include my UU.

    Opening Strategy

    REX seems to be the standard opening for most players these days, and I too expand as quickly as possible. After a few Jags, I pump out the settlers as soon as cities are able to produce them, mixing in early improvements (temple, barracks, granary, spearman) while the city is growing. Very early in the game, I will attempt to get a coastal city settled, where I will build my first wonder. I rely on my jags for defense in this period, both to protect my cities, and to escort my workers. Road building in the early game is critical, both for transportation and economic reasons. While I will generally wait until I have my first four cities up and running before building my second worker, from that point onward I agressively build roads all over my territory, linking cities and resources, as well as pushing my road network towards my neighbors.

    Research and Wonders - Ancient Age

    One of the great things about the Aztecs is that their starting techs are right along the beeline for Monarchy, and I shoot for it right away. While in the past I have advocated rushing for literacy, I've found an early government switch with a religious civ is quite strong. One word of caution - trading your techs too quickly can result in being beat to the next tech in your tree... if you are on a 35-40 turn timetable for Monarchy, it is often prudent to wait a turn or two before making your trades. The AI loves those government techs and they seem to go for Monarchy as soon as they have the prerequisites for it.

    After monarchy, It's usually Literacy. I've had games where the AI refuses to research Literacy altogether. This is quite annoying, and you may find yourself in the middle ages with no Literacy, and having to research it yourself. For this reason, I now hit Literacy as soon as I have Monarchy.

    In the past I've been a big fan of The Pyramids. Lately I've soured on them, both due to the enormous commitment (see my past posts) needed to win the wonder, and due to the dubious merit of it. Wonders in the ancient world have been taking a back seat in my games of late. The one that I do take a serious interest in is The Colosus. This wonder is simply outstanding, and I plan my first cities around getting it. A suitable costal site is top priority in city site selection. Whereas military solutions may be used to overcome stolen resources, you can never recoup the loss of tech from not getting this wonder. I would estimate that I get the Colosus in 90% of my games.

    After that, it's gravy. If I'm on an island I definately look for the Great Library and Lighthouse if needed. If I can, I'll try for The Hanging Gardens, but this is a highly contested wonder, and it's rare that I get it. If I get a couple of high-food cites in the early game I will try to switch my capitol to wonder building early, but barring an exceptional start, generally it's just the one early wonder.

    Warfare - Ancient Age

    I'm still a big fan of the swordsman for early warfare. I just don't see how you can argue with a unit with the highest attack AND the highest defense of any non-UU unit in the ancient world. While I do use horsemen to some extent, the backbone is almost always the trusty 3/2 meatgrinder. Yes they are slow, and I do use horsemen for patroling the interior and dealing with counterattacks, but for my money you can't beat the cheap 3 power attacker. The upgradability of horsemen is mostly moot. I don't have 1600 gold lying around in 300ad to upgrade 20 horsemen anyway.

    That said, my strikes in this period are generally very limited and usually only in reponse to (a) running out of space or (b) being attacked. While I do want to secure the contient at the earliest possible date, quite simply I find myself in the middle ages before I am ready to go to war. There is something to be said for weakening your opponents early to cripple them, but generally I will wait for knights to make my big push.

    If I am fortunate enough to get a GL in this age, I will always build my army rather than my palace, unless I have an absolutely spectacular place to put it. I'm a big fan of the Heroic Epic (and the Military Academy), and the Militaristic trait combined with the epic ensures I will not lack for a palace leader later.


    Transition to the Middle Ages

    The Middle Ages always come too quickly. There is almost never enough time to get everything done that you wanted to in Ancient Times. Generally speaking, you want to have at few things done by the time you hit this point in the game. All established cities should have at least a temple and aqueduct. All core cities should have a library. Your two best cities should be ready for wonder building. You are probably going to want to start a palace for a later wonder. You should know where your forbidden palace will be (often your closest neightbor's capitol). Your infrastructure around your core cities should be developed to match their size, and you should be linked to your neighbors by road or sea. What you do in this age will generally determine the course of the game.

    Research and Wonders- Middle Ages

    Cearly, Chivalry and Theology are the two most important techs. Sistene Chapel is the most important wonder in the game. Some may argue for Hoover Dam, but generally, the game is in hand at that point, and it's uncontested. Generally I will research Feudalism first, since the Aztecs are not scientific. If playing a scientific civ, I'll hit Theology first and trade it. It's critical that you get one of the first techs in this period. Paying a large amount of cash to a scientific civ for Monotheism and getting Theology is also an option. Regardless of which tech I go for, my second tech is always Chivalry. I want to go to war ASAP (and use a jag warrior to trigger my GA) during the building of Sistene and JS Bach. This is by far the best time for a GA, allowing you to quickly pump out knights and produce wonders. After Chivalry it's Education and then Music Theory or Astronomy.

    After JS Bach and Sistene, the only wonders I really try to build are Copernicus' and Newton's. The holy trinity of these two in your Collosus city is basicly a win if you can get it. Getting all four is rare, but possible through luck or GL's. Every wonder in this time has its uses, and it's nice to get them all. Sun Tzu's is great, as is Leonardo's, but choices must be made. Generally I'll try to secure the ones I don't get through military action as soon as possible. Taking out the city with Sun Tzu's is critical, as an AI apponent with all veteran units is a difficult task.

    Warfare - Middle Ages

    Clearly a golden age-powered knight rush is nearly unstoppable, and it's the backbone of my games. The goal is to cripple every civ on your continent. You want to hit them before they have pikemen if possible, as a knight against a spearman is almost a sure win. A common mistake by many players (including myself in the past) is to waste time eliminating civs once you have them bowed to your armies. Time is of the essence, and it takes no more time to cripple 3 civs than to wipe one out. Taking out half a civ's cities and then suing for peace leaves them just as vulnerable to your later cavalry than if you had wiped them out. Hit them hard and fast, and take what you need (luxuries, wonders), and then move on to the next civ.

    Transition to the Industrial Age

    By the end of the Middle Ages, you should have complete control of the continent. Crippled states should be polished off with cavalry towards the end of the age. As soon as possible, you want to have all wars completed and all enemies exiled to remote islands. Where the Middle ages were an age of conflict, the Industrial age should be one of peace. This is where you make up for the 1000 years of warfare with a little building. By now you should have your Forbidden Palace firmly entranched. Your worker army should have completed their terraforming, ready to build railroads. Military production should cease and those Universities and Banks which you neglected must be built. A government switch to Democracy is advisable.

    Research and Wonders - Industrial Age

    Clearly Steam Power is the defining tech of this age. I tend to shoot Industrialization, then right for Electronics, leaving Sanitation for later. I use a "size 12" city placement strategy anyway, so the tech can wait for after Replacable Parts. After the base techs are done, Flight is next on the agenda... many years away. The three major Wonders of this age are Hoover Dam, Theory of Evolution, and Universal Suffrage. Hoover Dam is the best wonder in the game. Sistene is more important, being so highly contested, but make no mistake, this one is the win. All three are important, and you want them all... but losing Hoover Dam is a disaster. A notable strategy which deserves mention in this time period is the stacking of your Iron Works (hopefully) with your Military Academy. Having both in one city will allow you many of those city-crushing armies which dominate the late industrial and early modern age.

    Warfare - Industrial Age

    While this is an era of peace, you are building for the world war to end the game. Continental invasion is no small task, but a strategy many players neglect is the use of airports. My invasion forces usually consist of 4 transports loaded with infantry and my old cavalry. I time this invasion to coincide with my discovery of Tanks. As the invasion force hits, my airport-equipped high production cities should be cranking out their first tanks. Note that this first invasion force generally includes 4-5 unloaded armies. Armies are not airliftable, and it is a good idea to bring a few empty armies over to load with tanks later. This force takes a single enemy city, in which I immediately rush an airport. After this first city is entrenched (protected with 1-2 infantry armies), new tanks and infantry produced on the home continent are immediately airlifted to the new city. While you may only transport one unit from a single airport, there is no limit on how many units may land at one. This eliminates the need for tiresome water crossings (and the need for any navy at all really), as all your transportation is done through the air. Once your newly-built tanks are moved over, I'm sure you know what to do.


    Hopefully this summary of my current strategies has been helpful to some, but feedback to help me refine my strategies is very much encouraged. If I've learned anything from this game, it is that Civ3 is an incredibly deep game with many strategies beneath the surface. While this guide by no means includes all strategies I use, it's a good start.

  • #2
    I too am a peaceful builder turn warmonger. I didn't like the change at first, but I have adapted and grown to enjoy it more than pure building.

    I'm going to try your airport idea in my next modern era. I usually avoid them because of cost, but I never realized you could land more than unit per turn. That changes everything.

    I usually have 1 major campaign for every era. But my strategy is usually based on the size of my home continent.

    Small - Early attack to gain entire continent. Build lighthouse and get cities on Islands ASAP. I don't stop REX. It takes me a long time to build improvements and get techs up to date, but I pays off later.

    Medium - Short REX followed by barracks and temples. I'll blow the early GA to fast build a vetern filled army and storm the whole continent. Back fill cities and build for a long time. As takes a while to get caught up in tech.

    Large - I absolutely suck on large continents I almost always lose becuase I can't keep an effect Growth, Military, Expansion balance. I've read a lot of good threads but can never turn all that useful advise into a game plan I can keep.

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    • #3
      Well-written strat, Blitzer.

      The middle ages do arrive very early, and it's hard to get everything on your shopping list by then. Especially for a non-scientific civ to get libraries up by the start of the MA on monarch with, say, 9 civs sharing a large map's continent - it's enough to get the required settlers, spearmen, workers & temples to get & hold 10-12 cities in a peaceful land grab.

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      • #4
        Everyone has their own style and Blitzer's closely parallels my own. I have a much lower interest in wonder building, choosing not to take chances and to focus on basic city construction and units. That changes when ToE and Universal Sufferage become available. The lack of focus on wonders may reflect play level (Emperor) and the fact that I play with the largest number of civs in the game as possible. Getting early wonders is not very probable.

        Blitzer -- why do you like Hoover so much. Power plants are cheap by that age. In fact, you sometimes long for anything to build other than tanks very soon after?

        The airport tactic works perfectly, and it does reduce navy cost substantially. Try picking out a very small civ on the neighboring continent -- the civ likely to show the least resistance. Establish your base camp in that civ -- maybe even in the smallest coastal city, especially if there is some nice safe terrain to land on with defense bonus. A little gold gets you an airport. Then with an airport in all cities of the home continent, you can really pump in the tanks without driving youself crazy with micromanaging unit transportation. It's unit built iin city -- click on airlift button -- click on base camp city -- unit delivered. I'm usually headed for modern armour while the first transports are going to the base camp target. So, a barracks in the base camp as the second build will let you upgrade tanks. At that point it's time to end the game with a flood of modern armour. Don't get to fancy with bombardment that will slow you down. A few jets for air superiority will help cut down on the annoying bomber runs by enemy civs. Modern armour can ride railroads though a whole civ in one turn. Enjoy.
        Illegitimi Non Carborundum

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        • #5
          Blitzer -- why do you like Hoover so much. Power plants are cheap by that age. In fact, you sometimes long for anything to build other than tanks very soon after?
          Hoover turns those mid-level cities into core cities.

          Hoover puts a non-poluting power plant in each city long before the availability of solar power.

          Even worse than not getting Hoover is letting the AI get it... try it sometime.

          The lack of focus on wonders may reflect play level (Emperor)
          I play on Emperor most of the time, with the occasional Monarch game when using a new civ for the first time or trying a new strat.

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          • #6
            I play on Emperor level with standard everything and, like jshelr, tend to miss most wonders. I would like to have the Colossus and a happiness wonder before TOE, but usually have one at best. Blitzer's medieval focus on armies and warfare could very well garner the GLs needed to land all those wonders.

            I do pretty much what Blitzer does, but one age earlier. The main difference is that (except for bowmen) I use fast-movers for my ancient rush. Mounted units upgrade eventually, and if their retreat capability is factored in, seem to pack more bang for the buck than swords. Built superfast by GA-fueled cities, these units allow me to secure control of my continent much faster than with swordsmen - by the end of the ancient era. (Note: control, not domination.) I then build nothing but infrastructure in the middle ages, upgrading my mounted units steadily, until I'm ready to either go for a domination win with cavalry around the start of the industrial age, or continue building infrastructure for a peaceful win. I almost never fight in the modern age, because I've either already won a domination victory, or am playing builder going for space.

            I can see how playing on large or huge maps would alter my timeline... for openers, I couldn't win via domination with cavalry. But I often wonder why, going for a domination win, I pause to regroup in the middle ages. Knights are terrific units, and there should be a way to shorten the transition between ancient and medieval warfare. Lack of gold is the obvious culprit, and maybe a focus on maximizing it in the early middle ages is called for. While I extort tech in the ancient era, I tend to research it in medieval times. There is a logic to staying the course with warmongering, and trusting your ancient mounted units-turned-knights to extort tech for you, all the way to cavalry.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Jawa Jocky
              Large - I absolutely suck on large continents I almost always lose becuase I can't keep an effect Growth, Military, Expansion balance. I've read a lot of good threads but can never turn all that useful advise into a game plan I can keep.
              On large continents it's best to keep a decent army running around and pruning all enemies. Keep the wars short (max. 10 turns), take 1 city (the capital), may be a second, raze one, make peace for tech and gold and go "visit" the next civ. Weaken all civs in a row, and when you are through, start again with the first. Your goal is not primarily to take cities, but to weaken the AI civs.

              Start, when you have 2-4 cities. Build barracks and about 10 units. If you have iron, build swordsmen (or upgrade warriors), otherwise archers and spearmen. Don't lose time to hook up iron, you'll succeed later. First attack starts between 2000BC and 1500BC. From this time on, be constantly at war, with one civ at a time. In the cities, build unit-settler-unit-settler, that keeps your army strong and your empire growing. Have some special cities building only defenders for new cities, these known size-2 cities in forests do that well, a spearman every 4 turns.

              Your growth should look something like at this picture:
              Attached Files

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              • #8
                Sir Ralph, what slowed you down after 1000 AD?

                Those pesky offshore Aztecs?

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                • #9
                  They are the Japanese. The answer is, that I humiliated the English (orange) and French (pink) enough (4 and 6 cities) and don't really need their land. The Russians (brown) have 11 cities, and I surely could prune them a bit more, but by P/FP axis is NE-SW and they could give me only a couple of one-shield cities. I'll go for spacerace in that game and unless there's something valuable in the AI's territory, I will give them peace. Also, no plans (yet) for an invasion at the other continent.

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                  • #10
                    That map reminds me of my current game, playing as the Aztecs. This has been one of my most challenging games to date. I found myself in the center of a supercontinent, with 7 of the 8 civs around me. The Iriquois are to the south, and the Americans and Zulu to the north. The Germans, Babylonians, and Persians are the other civs.

                    My first war was right around 1000bc, taking out the Iriquois before their Mounted Warriors could become a nuisance. The Americans jumped in, and I fought subsequent wars with both them and the Zulu. I managed to finally get my first leader, and my forbidden palace was placed between the two large Iriquois cities.

                    After beating the world to knights, I took out the Zulu and Americans without much trouble, but I felt it prudent to ally with the Germans for the time being. The Zulu had a poor position thankfully, but between them and the Americans, I had more than enough on my plate. I fought a very short war with Persia over Sistene Chapel, taking only the one city.

                    By 1200, I had eliminated the Iriquois completely... the terrain in the southern part of my territory was heavy jungle, and the fighting was hard. Germany took out Babylon for me. I "helped" towards the end, grabbing the sun Tzu in Babylon.

                    Towards the end of the middle ages, I have around 30 cavalry, but don't really want to commit to a large scale war before my "designated building period" at the start of the industial age. None of my cities have even a marketplace, as I've completely ignored my improvements beyond the basic temple, cathedral, aqueduct, and library. I'm getting ready for factories now, and the last thing I want is a war, even if I do have a large standing army. 30 cavalry wouldn't be enough to take more than a few more German cities (I did prune Bizmark a little), and I don't really want to fight a 2 front war.

                    At this point Germany and Persia both have Conscription, so I've shut it down and gone democracy while I wait for tanks. Hoover dam is almost ready, and I'm researching flight. Should be a short war when the time comes. A very different situation from Ralph, with the large number of civs on one landmass. I must admit things were not looking great when I met the Germans, Zulu, and Iriquois in short order, but luckily I managed to take out the Iriquois early and both Germany and Zululand had less than optimal starting positions.

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                    • #11
                      image

                      NT
                      Attached Files

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                      • #12
                        Blitzer, in your case I would've started with 2 armies of either swordsmen (if you have iron close) or archers/spears, and I would have started around 1500BC to send both, as I decribed in my thread about the Archer rush. The Northern army would've taken care of America and Zululand, the Southern of the Iroquois and Persians. As the southern civs have powerful ancient UU's, denial of horses and iron would have been the primary goal. The Zulus have also an ancient UU, that can svck pretty much, but so can your Jags. The Americans aren't really a treat in the ancient age. With the Northern army, take also care that the Germans don't settle on the big part of the continent.

                        Btw: In the game I took the above pics from, I made most of the early pruning with archers. Iron was far, roughly 10 tiles from my capital, and it would have taken too long to hook it up and given the AI the chance to grow too much.

                        Edit: Geez, I made BC out of AD...

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                        • #13
                          The advice to take small bites often instead of one big gulp is very sound. Despite knowing that fact, in my last game I got annoyed with Catherine because she wouldn't give me more than 4 techs in peace tribute when I could see about 7 I didn't have. I stubbornly ground her down to 3 cities until she finally give up the last techs. Big mistake. Turning to Germany, it was my stack of swords against his musketmen. Bismark didn't have iron or horses, but I was too late and took only two cities before bogging down. At that point, my civ was large, but stupid and over extended. I abdicated, and doubtless will go down in history as a tyrant who sucked.
                          Illegitimi Non Carborundum

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                          • #14
                            Good post, Blitzer. I too was once a "builder." Welcome to the Dark Side.

                            -Arrian
                            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.

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                            • #15
                              Thanks for the pruining advice. It sounds about right to me. I tend to knock one civ down too long, because the others get to big to pick on. I'll have to try Pangea again once I finish the June Tourney.

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