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Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword is kicking my ass repeatedly

AstralglideAstralglide Member UncommonPosts: 686

Anybody here a Civ 4 fan who can give me some pointers on how to not get slaughtered. I'm only playing on "Warlord" difficulty and I am just having the hardest time finding the right balance to survive- let alone win a game. I've checked the civfanatics forums, and they're helpful- but I was hoping for more of a few tips and tactics that could help me out.

A witty saying proves nothing.


  • LeKinKLeKinK Member Posts: 899

    I used to clear the map at the 3rd level of difficulties. You need to make the computer fight each other as much as you can with your diplomatie. Oh and rush to knight, then cavalry. Mass product them and invade, take a few city then make peace, start again.. 

    Of course you need a strong capital, I recommand starting over and over until you have a good starting place with lots of ressources.

  • CaesarsGhostCaesarsGhost Member Posts: 2,136

    using the world editor always worked for me ;-)

    - CaesarsGhost

    Lead Gameplay and Gameworld Designer for a yet unnamed MMO Title.
    "When people tell me designing a game is easy, I try to get them to design a board game. Most people don't last 5 minutes, the rest rarely last more then a day. The final few realize it's neither fun nor easy."

  • JayBirdzJayBirdz Member Posts: 1,017

    http://www.civfanatics.com/    Has some great resources in The War Academy.

    Learn what early wonders you like. Must have for me is The Great Wall. 

    Learn about tree chopping (for hammers). Very important early game for building wonders / rush units.  You can chop in a manner which will not only finish / rush the current build along but carry some hammers over for the next.

    Learn about rush techniques and practice rushing early game. Generally I killed the closest neighbor off. Sometimes it's possible to kill two off. Depends on a few things which will be explained or become fairly obvious when you start doing it. It takes troops to guard the cities and if you grow to fast you stagnate your economy.  Which is no good.  Mostly I raised everything except capitals. The AI doesn't generally plant their other cities in the best of locations.


    Learn about dot mapping. While I never actually dot mapped the technique used for dot mapping helped me improve where I plant cities.

    Do not automate workers or cities early game.

    I would recommend to learn about city specialization, science, production, and whipping cities.

  • madazzmadazz Member RarePosts: 2,051

    I typically go for a domination victory and I play on Noble. I also prefer 18 civs total in a game.

    When I go for domination I do a couple of things, I go for the Great Wall so I can expand large while ignoring my army for a bit (the pc simply wont attack to early in the game, even the barbs wont for a certain time). With great wall, barbarians can''t annoy you. That means learn mining and all that good stuff.

    You also want to spread influence as much as possible at the beginning. So its a good idea to found a religion. Thankfully, on the way to learning to build the great wall, you' are already most of the way to learning Monotheism to get religion. By this point 2 other civs will most likely have started another religion.

    I start the game by building either a worker or settler first. After the first is done, I build the other. THe next settlement builds a worker first too.

    Playing as the russians is super easy because you spread infuence so fast, and you get a powerful unit (cosacks) during a good period in the game.

    If I have 3 neighboors around me, I look to make one the odd man out. I will do my best to convert the other 2 civs to my religion, or to theirs if I haven't created one. Then I attack the other. Eventually I turn on them all anyway but I do it when everyone else is at war with each other until I go all out.

    Also, I find I get attacked a lot less than other people and I think it is because I don't do open borders with ANYONE for a big part of the beginning. My economy suffers, but I also save a bunch from not going to battle until I am good and ready. This is because the PC isn't mad you have deals with another civ. Also, they can't see your turf or anything.

    Can't expect to always win, but these are some of the things that work super well for me. There are tons of tidbits I could share. So many strategies and ideas, but these ones have always been a sure fire way to get ahead for me.

  • solistussolistus Member Posts: 10

    Civ is a VERY complicated game.  We will need a lot more info on how you are playing and what is going wrong to help you much.  At your difficulty, once you get the core mechanics and basic strategies down, you should have little trouble winning consistently.


    Early game is extraordinarily important.  You need to get a decent number of cities and get them all developed ASAP - everything builds exponentially on what you already have, so the more efficient your first hundred turns or so are, the better the rest of the game will go.


    Early on, focus on founding new cities.  One or two warriors is plenty to guard each city early on, unless you're playing a mod or a high difficulty with aggressive AI turned on or something.  Within the first hundred turns you should aim to have 3-4 cities and a worker or two, at least.  Depending on the map size, you may have plenty of room to expand or you may be boxed in.  After the very early game, you have to adapt a lot more to the situation.  The rule of thumb is - first make sure you are economically and militarily stable at your current size, then look at options to expand.  Depending on your map situation, this could mean anything from lazily filling in the rest of your territory to racing a nearby AI to found cities in a particularly resource-rich region between the two of you to declaring war and conquering cities another AI founded.


    The other big "basic" thing to understand is the game's economy.  Automated workers are dumb when it comes to efficiently planning cities.  Usually, you want each city to focus on one of two things: food or commerce (the little gold coins).  Commerce drives everything, especially later on; in addition to determining your income to keep you from going bankrupt, it also powers the sliders which give you science, espionage and culture.  So, lots of commerce is very good.  One common strategy is to "cottage spam" - rush to Pottery, then build cottages pretty much everywhere except on resource tiles (obviously, you always wanna build the appropriate enhancement on these to get the resource!) and hills (mines for production are ALWAYS important, can't do much if you can't build anything).  As you get more comfortable managing an economy, you may occasionally decide to cottage a resource or hill anyway, but early on I wouldn't.


    Food, on the other hand, gives you more population.  In addition to letting you work more tiles around the city, this gives you excess population to use for specialists, which generate fixed bonuses and do not work a tile.  They can be almost as effective as improved tiles in producing science, hammers or gold, but more importantly they also give great people points.  Even cottage spammers usually have one city (often the capital) that is designated as the Great People City, where they mass farms for the food and get lots of specialists.  It helps to generate your great people points in one or at least a small number of cities as opposed to spread out all over the place.


    Generally, the easiest way to manage your economy is with cottages, but practicing a specialist-driven economy can be fun as well.  Advanced players sometimes set up hybrid economies, where some cities focus on cottages and others on farms.  For a newer player I suggest picking one or the other - there are various wonders, techs, improvements, civics, etc. that will benefit one strategy more than the other, and if you focus entirely on one it's a lot easier to pick which ones you want (e.g., there's a civic that makes Towns, which cottages eventually turn into, produce more commerce each - this is a HUGE economy bonus if your empire consists mostly of cottages that have by then turned into Towns!).  Also, most players have one or two production-focused cities that spit out units constantly all game.


    Civfanatics has a ton of articles to help with every aspect of the game.  As you get more comfortable with the basics, you an start expanding your skillset there.  When I first decided to "get good at Civ" - read guides, practice playstyle, etc. instead of just doing more or less random stuff and seeing how it turned out - it took me a couple weeks to go from struggling on Noble to wiping the floor with the AI on Monarch.


    On higher difficulties, there are a lot of ways to 'trick' the AI with trades and whatnot, but at your difficulty if you start out strong you should quickly dominate the leaderboard and have a hard time *not* winning.  In general, be very wary about trading away techs, especially military techs, to potential rivals.  Buy or trade for any techs the AIs will give you.  With resources, try to get whatever you can, the more the merrier.  Note that the AI puts a HUGE value on strategic resources (copper, iron, horses, uranium, oil, etc.) as opposed to happy/healthy resources (food, luxuries, etc.).  Never expect to get a good deal trading to secure a strategic resource.  It's often better to risk a major war to seize control of what you need than to pay an arm and a leg for some AI's extra iron.


    Also, I highly suggest disabling tech brokering from the custom game options.  If not, be sure to abuse this "feature".  Tech brokering means trading away a tech you traded to get in the first place.  In addition to making it far too easy to amass techs with trade, it means any tech you trade to one AI will probably find its way to all that AI's friends and trade partners soon.

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