Civilization 5 - Tips/strategy

I've played Civ 4 to death, just loving it to death, but with the release of the most recent Civ 5 expansion I feel it is probably time to move up and learn to play it. There are plenty of changes to Civ 5 that are very counter-intuitive to me (WHAT DO YOU MEAN I CAN'T HAVE A DEATH STACK!?) and the city-state system is completely foreign to me, so I come here to ask for any tips and strategies to play around with.

Oh, and if you want to know my play-style, I tend to be an expansionist that always tended to get either the domination (75% of the population and land area), cultural, or if in a pinch, scientific victories in Civ 4. I like to build, but military strategies are more than welcome as well.

1 Pick a civ that benefits your play style. Some are good for early game dominance (Rome) others for late game, some are cultural others military.
2a Every unit is important since they take so long to make
2b A lone unit is a dead unit. Move them in groups to support each other
3 roads are expensive, build sparingly
4 you can't expand as quickly as you used to. It's too expensive
5 Diplomacy is very weird/buggy/broken. Don't trust it.

uchytjes:
I've played Civ 4 to death, just loving it to death, but with the release of the most recent Civ 5 expansion I feel it is probably time to move up and learn to play it. There are plenty of changes to Civ 5 that are very counter-intuitive to me (WHAT DO YOU MEAN I CAN'T HAVE A DEATH STACK!?) and the city-state system is completely foreign to me, so I come here to ask for any tips and strategies to play around with.

Oh, and if you want to know my play-style, I tend to be an expansionist that always tended to get either the domination (75% of the population and land area), cultural, or if in a pinch, scientific victories in Civ 4. I like to build, but military strategies are more than welcome as well.

1. Rapid expansion is punitively difficult early on. You'll incur huge happiness penalties, which will decimate your growth rate, putting you way behind. There are civilizations that are good at going "wide" instead of tall, but usually you need a little spin up time before they come into their own.

2. Multiples of a single luxury can be very, very potent early on. The AI will cheerfully buy your excess luxuries, for as much as 900 gold in a marathon game. You can use that gold to slingshot yourself early (fast starts tend to translate to snowball victories).

3. Barbarians seem specifically designed to A) target you and B) wreck your early luxury improvements. If you're improving your terrain, you will NEED to keep at least one military unit close to home to deal with Barbarians. Relying on the city alone won't do it. The Barbarians are no risk to the city itself, but they will cheerfully sacrifice themselves to bust up your improvements, often traversing half the map just to show up on your doorstep and start breaking things.

4. The AI in Civ 5 will make only the most cursory nods to personality type. Don't count on, say, a famously peaceful ruler to stay peaceful long. All AI players play like very stupid human players. They monitor victory conditions and they will turn on you if they perceive you as a threat to win the game, especially if you are chasing the same victory type as them. Which leads to odd situations like cultural civs being your most bloodthirsty neighbors if your culture is high, etc.

5. Unlike previous Civs, saturating with roads will bankrupt you. There's no need to saturate with roads. Links between cities only.

6. Domination victories are almost painfully easy. I recommend varying your victory types. The AI makes poor use of its troops and needs heavy cheating to compete equally.

7. City States are basically one city neutral factions that do not chase victory conditions and will ally with you if you do favors for them or just pay them outright. They tend to be a strongly unbalancing factor...some of them grant extremely useful bonuses, others do not...and certain civs are tailored to take extreme advantage of them. I often end up turning them down or just turning them off altogether.

My number one tip would be to always have a strong defence force stationed in your cities, at the very least have 1 strong ranged unit garrisoned in every city you have. Defence should be strongest in your cities closest to the other players, so that a surprise attack will not wreck you. The AI is pretty terrible at fighting battles, but they can surprise you with a very large force from time to time.

The civilization I play most of the time is China, their paper makers give a massive boost to your economy and research. Their other unique unit is a special kind of crossbowmen which can attack twice in one turn, which makes them extremely powerful in the early game, and they retain their usefulness well into the mid game. China also get an increased Great General spawn rate, and their Great Generals give a more potent damage boost to nearby units, this is very useful if you want to devour other civilizations or even just defend.

Also, the AI are dicks, you could be best friends with them and be helping them fight their wars in one turn, and the next they declare all out war against you. Keep good relationships with other civilizations up as much as you can, but don't ever trust them not to stab you in the back.

One more thing, if you are at war with other civilizations in the late game, they seem to love launching surprise naval attacks so make sure you have a decent defence at your vulnerable seaside cities, particularly have at least one anti air unit to counter their carriers.

a few tips from yours truly:

1. protect your workers. barbarians prey on them, keep a military unit nearby to protect (the worker) and pursue (the bad guys)

2. don't overuse roads: they can be expensive, just use them between cities and improvements, good mobility at a reasonable price.

3. don't expand too fast too early: wait until your happiness and gold is at a reasonable level before going off to add some land to your empire. also, SETTLE WHERE THE ADVISOR TELLS YOU. seriously, see that golden tower symbol? have your settler toddle on over and set up shop there.

4. treat your advisors like children: listen sometimes, ignore them others. their advise can be useful, otherwise they're just stating what's right in front of your face.

5. goody huts: see ruins? grab 'em, they always have good stuff in them.

6. NEED A (building) HERE!: if your city is short on something. e.g. gold, science, food etc. build a library, bank, granary or what have you.

7. scout!: yes, do. the more land you know, the better you can plan your empire. resources you can exploit, strategic land to own, proximity to other nations and rivers.

Tom Milner:
a few tips from yours truly:

2. don't overuse roads: they can be expensive, just use them between cities and improvements, good mobility at a reasonable price.

3. don't expand too fast too early: wait until your happiness and gold is at a reasonable level before going off to add some land to your empire. also, SETTLE WHERE THE ADVISOR TELLS YOU. seriously, see that golden tower symbol? have your settler toddle on over and set up shop there.

2. as long as your city isn't floundering, a few excess roads over the major hills/milled forests can certainly make things a little easier - turning a rough terrain into a roaded terrain is a double positive effect. Anywhere where your troops will be routinely moving across hills, it certainly could be an idea to completely remove them as obstacles, especially if you intend to take the Commerce Policy.

3. I would say never settle exactly where an advisor tells you. they're not very good. They'll give you suggestions, but seriously look around. Usually there's a better spot not far away that they missed for some reason.

Military: If your playing against the AI, then you'll find that they often seem to develop massive armies and expend really quickly. But don't be put off about this since their military AI is very noob. Its often quite easy to fend off a large invasion with a ranged unit conveniently placed in one of your cities with a few melee around for buffer, since the enemy AI often tends to just dance around your cities. You'll find that your archers will be racking up huge amounts of exp just by constantly firing away at enemies from the safety of their city, and before you know it, they'll be fully leveled out and have the badass double attack perk.

Since you prefer a play-style of domination, I'd recommend adopting autocracy. It has some really powerful bonuses like the Police State which helps to eliminate unhappiness from conquered cities.

Science: I'd recommend pushing for more powerful siege units as quickly as you can. If you manage to progress ahead of another civilization you'll find that these units will be quickly tearing down walls. Researching better land units will also be quite important for this. Try not to research everything in a particular era before you move on however. Since getting to the next era will grant you spies which provide your best means for accelerating the research process.

Culture: Cultural victories and policy adopting can become quite difficult if your focus is on conquering, since each city adds an extra 9% to the culture needed to adopt a new policy. So it might be handy to built a lot of cultural buildings and wonders just before you do any major conquering so you can get the social policies you need early on.

Religion: If you want to get your own religion before the opportunity is gone, you'll have to do more then just build a shrine. So try to either rush getting Stonehenge or adopt a pantheon belief that helps with faith. Playing as the Celts is also quite good for acquiring faith early on.

Wealth: Try to get friendly with a another Civ early on. This way you'll be able to sell excess luxury resources for a whopping 240 gold in a regular length game. The prices they accept are often quite fixed and are based on their disposition rather then how much they need the resource. So Friendly is about 240 gold - Neutral I think is 180 - Guarded - 109 Hostile - 80. Also, try not to expend too much at the start, since happiness will be important for golden ages.

A couple of other things. If you adopt Tradition and Honor as your social polices, try to place a scout in every city you have. For a very cheap price, you'll have bonuses to city defense, happiness and culture without any maintenance cost.

Another interesting thing. You'll see early on that producing settlers causes your city to enter a state of stagnation. There's a way to take advantage of this by setting your cities focus to either production or wealth. Normally this can cause your city to start starving, but with the settler in production it will just remain at stagnation.

The tips I've learned so far on my Roman and Japanese marathon games:

-Ignore religion unless you are a civ that gets some sort of bonus or effect from it right out the gates. Otherwise, you are going to be so far behind the other civs that do get religious bonuses that you'll be screwed.

-Siege units are really important now. In Civ4 you could just create a death stack and take cities by attrition, but since you can't do that now, it's very important that you beat them down with siege units.

-Also because of lack of death stacking, ranged units are even more important. They can attack a tile or two away while the melee attack up front.

-Yeah, you know the map type Pangea? Don't count on it always being a big continent. The one in my game was basically a big long winding string of land, making it vary obvious who I needed to conquer next.

In other news, thanks for the advertisement right in the text box, Escapist, making me have to type this out in wordpad first so I could actually see what I was typing.

 

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