Technology: how do I keep up with AI?

Can't beat the AI? Is it too tame? Discuss the best strategies!
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Joined: Sun Apr 03, 2022 7:46 pm

Re: Technology: how do I keep up with AI?

Post by Mahler »

I would say first priority should be placing on the resources. When these good places are filled, one can place cities on other places. I don't build settlers from the beginning. I build granary first in the most villages.

Does the AI build farms near cities? I have landed with the freight to AI's territory and have not seen farms :?
Yes, I finished the game - no farms, and no terraforming made by AI.
Posts: 314
Joined: Mon Jun 25, 2018 5:01 pm

Re: Technology: how do I keep up with AI?

Post by nef »

IMO, it is a question of strategy, ruleset and experience. In my games I follow (almost) none of the advice above (including that from Ignatus). But to start with I am using a modified version of civ1. (Some of the modifications are published, some not, but they are ALL designed to improve fidelity with Civ I). Before you ask, I always play cheating, and always with the maximum number of AI allowed by Civ I.

So to some specifics:
  1. Number of cities - 6 makes for a quick and easy game, but 2 or 3 is enough. I end up with zillions through conquest almost all of which I disband. This number (6) applied when I was playing with other rulesets such as classic and civ2civ3.
  2. Because of the (no) auto railroad on city centre I avoid specials (even just grassland if I have a choice). After I get railroad this changes because I can build railway first. (Note despotism means no advantage on plains in civ1/ Civ I.) The key criteria I use is to maximise the number of arable tiles for each city.
  3. I always stay in despotism except while actually creating trade routes.
  4. I select one city to be the SSC (super science city) preferably, but often not, the first city so building a new palace is ultimately needed to reduce corruption.
  5. One high production city with barracks for, err, I forget. Once I get steal and advanced flight I need two or three.
  6. The rest for caravans.
  7. In the opening stages of the game I build sufficient militia (warriors) to claim (and defend) sufficient TERRITORY. Only then do I attempt to fully occupy the territory with cities. There is a strategic balance here - you need cities to build (AND SUPPORT) the militia. As I have said before, the imperative is to maximise the number of tiles worked. (Not the number of cities.)
  8. I make full use of exploits. Compared to Civ I the fc AI are BRAIN DEAD. Learn the exploits. The game becomes trivial. The civ1 ruleset is especially bad in this respect even after the hitpoint / firepower = 2 fix.
  9. I like to have one settler for every two or three cities for gardening. This keeps up with natural growth. I do NOT use granaries until just before I build an aqueduct. Just before railroad I try to double the number of settlers. (In civ1/Civ I railroad increases ALL tile produce by 50% so irrigated grassland gives an extra food bushel and this will support the extra settlers. In other rulesets you have workers.
If you are just starting out, the strategy above will END IN TEARS. One of key attractions to Civ I was that each new game was a new game. You LEARN new skills (and I still do). You have to LEARN the ruleset. You have to LEARN strategic balance. And, you have to learn the idiosyncrasies of the AI. I have said this before but it is worth repeating: the difficulty levels in fc are insignificant. (In fact it took me a year to figure out whether the level applied to me or to the AI, and then it was ONLY because of the way the server command worked.) Because of this beginners will have a tough time getting started, so take it easy; try to last longer in each new game, until you can eventually start actually winning. The key is to learn as you go, and there is no harm restarting a game from an old save (10,20 turns back or so) in order to try variations to your strategy.

One last point, fc mapgen is a pig. The quality of the starting position varies enormously so some will be ridiculously easy; some ridiculously hard. With the latter, don't bother - start again. (Because of an (unpublished) modification I no longer have this problem, but it requires adaptive strategy.)
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Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2023 7:53 pm

Re: Technology: how do I keep up with AI?

Post by PatTheCatMcDonald »

Early game, to keep up with tech, I'll go for harbours, marketplaces and libraries in my coastal cities as a priority. It doesn't give the same short term boost of having lots of small cities but it pays off in the long term.

It's a big slog really, but you get way more trade in the early game from the sea than from the land. Plus, pottery is a very good starting tech, it leads onto triremes and harbours and gives the granary improvement once you get it.

It makes sense to build marketplaces before libraries, to give you the gold to pay for improvement upkeep.

As for special squares, I generally avoid building on them. I like the bonus shield from grassland. Sometimes plains can be better to give a match for even food production but that's more of a late game topic than an early game topic.

I have noticed the AI doing very well by building first city on a mountain with gold and a river. That's one helluva advantage from turn 1. :D
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