Velociryx

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About Velociryx

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  1. Yeah - I wanted to do a really deep dive so I could get a handle on the mechanics of the game. I love it, but having "broken it," in my head, I've put it more in the category of a puzzle game than pure strategy (there's one approach that always yields a superior result, so similar to Civ 5, the trick for me is to refine that optimal approach. I'm still following it closely, and am interested to see the patch and expandion-based changes that get rolled out, as these may nerf the optimal approach and/or bulk up some of the other approaches, leading to a broader range of choices. Even if they don't do that tho, it's still a kick ass game. :)
  2. Hi Fed! :) Doing well, health wise, thank you! Was freezing my butt off on the mountain top yesterday, but today, the sun has come back, and the weather is shockingly mild - love it! As to the "What for" - I think I understand what you're asking, and can definitely add a section to the guide for that. The short answer in the here and now goes something like this: As important as production and science and faith are...the thing that ultimately drives all of that is food. No food, no population. No population, and none of the rest of that stuff matters. Improvements like Granaries, Water Mills and the like are, in effect, an indirect way of making a tile improvement to the city tile, allowing it to be more productive. A size-one city automagically works two tiles - the city tile itself, and the tile you can assign a worker to inside that city's radius. This, coupled with the fact that once you place a city on a given tile of land, you're no longer able to use builders to make improvements to that particular tile are why building improvements like that can make such a profound difference to your game. The individual impact is quite small, but when measured against the broad arc of time in your game, and multiplied out by every city you have, the total weight of those improvements can be profound. :)
  3. Back! :) Good question, and the short answer is - I don't know. Didn't test that, but will add it to the list!
  4. What Happens After... As mentioned earlier, the game is ultimately won or lost in the Ancient/Classical Eras. A strong start can set you up for literally the rest of the game, and plants the seeds for greatness. The central question then, is what happens after the early brutal conquest that gives you room to grow? This section is all about building the "Machine of Prosperity" that will power your Civ through the other ages of the game, and this is really where the hard work of turning your collection of cities into an actual Empire begins. Central to accomplishing this goal are city districts, and planning out precisely where they go is a major part of the game. Before we get into that though, we've got to talk about the expansion phase of your game. The first part of the game is about blocking out a sizeable territory for you to expand into. That's the true purpose of that Ancient Era warring. Once that's done though, you've got a new problem. You have to bring your newly won territory firmly under control. Barbarians are a real problem in this game. They spawn frequently, and pretty much anywhere you can't see on the map. You first order of business then, is to use all those warriors you've been busily building to remove fog of war to keep barbarians from spawning in inopportune places, where they might pillage terrain tiles, disrupt your early trade routes, and generally cause trouble. Longer term, you're going to be building a number of new cities to occupy those spaces, although you'll still have warriors scattered liberally about your Empire to keep the fog at bay until the borders of those cities expand, at which time, those warriors can be retired as garrison units, or selectively upgraded to current tech to form the backbone of your army in later eras. City spacing and positioning then, is a key point. The AI is prone to build cities four tiles apart. This allows for maximum overlap of city districts, meaning that a single district can serve benefits to the most cities, but this often leaves the map looking and feeling cluttered, and does not allow your cities to grow to epic proportions. I personally prefer a six tile separation, but am unwilling to put captured cities to the torch to insist on that, so my Empire tends to have a hybrid spacing. Captured cities are generally four tiles apart, connecting cities that build to the captured ones tend to be 5-6 tiles apart, while frontier cities tend to be 6 tiles apart, and sometimes seven, depending on the resources I'm trying to capture with those cities. Resource capture tends to not be as important as having overlapping districts, which is one of the key ways to win the game. In terms of which districts it is most important to have overlap on, hands down, the winner is the Industrial Zone, which adds to the production count of any city within six tiles of it, but a reasonably close second would be the Entertainment district, which serves amenities to any city within six tiles of it. The others are less important, in terms of overlap, but their position in context to one another matters a great deal (ie - you'll maximize your gold if you consistently place harbors and commercial districts close to one another). All of these things matter, and the discussion surrounding the precise placement of those districts begins with how close, or far apart, you place your cities to begin with, because this is going to impact how many cities ultimately get served by various overlapping districts. Take some time with this. Pull up the strategic view of the map and use pins to block out where you want your cities to go. As you do that, bear in mind not only distance, but the position of hills, which are pivotal to maximizing the hammer count of your industrial districts. In fact, on higher levels of play, having overlapping Industrial Zones and thus, improved production in multiple cities, is the best way to offset the AI's production advantages. That, combined with having more cities, which you should easily be able to do if you engage in Ancient Era warfare, is the one-two punch that can see you powering past the AI. So, in terms of city planning, allow the future placement of Industrial Zones and maximum overlap to guide your thinking. Even if a city spot has little else to recommend it, if there are a number of hills in the region, and that city can "serve" its industrial production to several of your other cities, then it's an excellent choice, even in the absence of other resources. In general terms, the three most essential districts are: Harbor, Commercial, and Industrial. You'll want these pretty much everywhere. The others matter, but once you've got your religion, Holy Sites matter only to the extent that you want to spread your religion quickly (and if you're pursuing that victory condition). Same thing with Cultural Districts - they matter, but they matter more if you're chasing that particular victory condition. Science Districts matter, of course, but you get science via population, so you can afford to delay building mass numbers of these until you get your "core districts" up and running. The reason Commercial, Harbor and Industrial Districts take primacy is simple: Harbors and Commercial districts add to gold, and increase trade route capacity. Industrial Zones allow you to build everything else more quickly (increasing production). Since Commerical and Harbor districts increase trade route capacity, and assuming you run most of your trade routes internally (at least early on), those districts actually increase production too, which makes them incredibly attractive builds (Pro Tip: if you have a city that's building a wonder, transfer multiple trade routes to that city, and run them interanally to whatever cities will give them the biggest production boost - good, quick way to really slam down the total production time on that wonder!) ((Will be adding to this later!!))
  5. No, sorry - to be more clear, I meant tile improvements...I guess I shouldn't use the two interchangeably, given that infrastructure can now exist on the map proper (and outside the city tile)...the experiment I was trying in particular tho, was this: What if it was possible for a Legion to march up to an enemy city - attack it - take damage, then pillage, heal, attack again, then repair the terrain improvement, pillage it AGAIN on the following turn, and then attack again... Unfortunately, you can't repair in enemy territory, but it woulda been....yeah. LOL (if it worked, since pillaging doesn't actually use up a builder action, you could, with patience and time, use a single legion to just keep pillaging and re-healing on the same tile, and eventually take a city by himself!) - as it is, it's handy, but not game breaking...I can go ahead and attack before I normally would, get some extra licks in on a city, then pillage/heal and attack for the conquest, and then, once the city is mine, I can repair the terrain tiles with the legions to get the city back to firing on all cylinders before moving on to the next target, without having to divert a Builder unit over to fix the tererain tiles.
  6. I was hoping against hope that I'd be able to repair my enemy's infrastructure, which would have been a hoot, but ultimately, would have made Legions a game-breaking unit...even so, the ability to rip up terrain tiles for heals, then fix them all after the city is taken means you're not having to pull your valuable Builders off their tasks - and, if you're faced with a Barb incursion, your Legions can clean up the mess caused if Barbs pillage any of your tiles after sending them to the Elysium Fields...
  7. Embrace Your Inner Barbarian So what does all this mean? Well, there are certainly other viable ways to play the game - you don't HAVE TO BE a giant douchenozzle to the AI Civs you find yourself in close proximitity to, but the long and the short of it is simply this: The AI is GOING to find reasons to despise you. At some point, you'll either be running a government that's different from theirs, one of their cities will "flip" to your religion, you'll settle closer to their cities than they would like, you'll have too many troops, or they'll be too close to their borders, you won't have enough troops (or ships)...something. The AI is designed to just not get along with you in general. True, there are a few civs that you actually can get on well with, but those are few and far in-between. Besides that, your first priority is to your civ. Your "job" in the game is to do stuff that will increase the chances of your Civ's long term success. No iteration of Civ has ever been a wargame in the classic sense of the word. It's an Empire Building game. Part of the process of building an Empire though, is conflict. It's simply unavoidable. You can allow the AI to dictate the terms of that inevitable conflict, or you can take a little bit of time out of the earliest part of the game to absolutely throttle the AI's nearest you, and in doing so, give your Civ the space and the additional surge of resources it needs to thrive in the middle and late game. I have backed away from my recommendation that you try to wipe every civ on your starting continent out in one bite. That's actually not required, and at some point, due to the increasing tech level of your rivals, you start seeing diminishing returns. Here's what's true though: If you find a rival who's 12 tiles or less distant from your capital, that rival (or rivals, plural) needs to die an early and violent death in order to maximize your chances of success. If you find a rival 13-18 tiles distant from you, strongly consider adding them to the must-die-early list, and assess the situation before you head that direction (if you start seeing Ancient Walls appearing, you may or may not want to proceed, but below, I'll outline how your now veteran force can rip through Ancient Walls quickly and easily). If the Civ in the 13-18 tile range is an Ancient Era civ, you may be better off letting them live till a later era, simply because you know you'll be going up against their UU, which may well be stronger than anything you can field, and this should definitely shade and color your thinking. Here are the key points of ancient era warfare to bear in mind: * 3 Slingers and a Warrior are all you need to begin an ancient era war (once you get the Archery tech, you'll upgrade your Slingers to Archers and start marching). * Animal Husbandary should always be your first tech if you're looking to conduct an ancient era war. The other techs are important, but you won't be building a Builder immediately anyway, and Animal Husbandary is the Unlock for Archery * As soon as your first slinger is trained, use him aggressively to look for a kill - this halves your research time on Archery * If religion is important to your game (and it probably should be), then Astronomy will be your next critical tech. The reason? If you capture an enemy city, and that city has a Holy Site, but you don't yet have Astronomy, you lose the Holy Site. You want to keep these, so obviously, that tech needs to be in hand before you capture a city that has a Holy Site. * Three Archers can rip down an unwalled city's defenses in about 4 turns. 4 Archers can do it in three turns. If you meet a commercial city state, or as soon as your budget permits, add a 4th Archer to your force. Four archers and two to four warriors can make quick work of a city with Ancient Walls, too, so don't be intimidated just because you start seeing walls appearing. Now, a walled city WITH an Archer garrisoned inside is a different matter - still doable, but that presents a significantly harder target that will likely take longer to deal with and require more unit swapping and healing. * Spam warriors, and even consider delaying the acquisition of Ironworking so you can continue building warriors for longer than you'd normally be able to. Warriors don't cost maintenance, and the presence of so many warriors has multiple good impacts on your Empire. First, the AI's leave you alone, because you have a "big army." Second, you can use these maintenance-free troops to push back toe Fog of War and thus, stop barbarian incursions. Third, later on, you can pick civics that allow bonus amenities if a city has a garrison - and you can use your free troops for garrison purposes. * You capital is your strongest city, by far. This is especially true once you adopt "Charismatic Leaders" and begin getting Envoys at regular intervals. Your first priority should be to put an envoy in every city state you encounter, because that further boosts the resource count of your capital, making it richer, more of a cultural powerhouse, making it generate more faith more quickly, build improvements faster, and train troops faster (your capital should not be building warriors, btw - at least not after you've begun to capture enemy cities. Let them build the cheap warriors, and your capital can focus on other stuff you need...your first trade unit to boost the currency tech, that extra archer, your first couple of builders and settlers, etc - these should all come from your capital. * Having MORE cities is generally better than having better developed cities in the early game. Yes, this delays the building of your infrastructure, but once you've blocked out a comfortable space to develop in, filling that space up with your own cities is much more important than building early game districts, especially if you're capturing cities that already contain Holy Sites. Given the slowly increasing cost of Settlers, this will (eventually) reach a point of diminishing returns, and when you start seeing settler build times that are in the 40-odd turn range, it's probably time to begin changing focus, even if you haven't filled up all the available land yet...that's your signal to start developing the cities you HAVE, and continue your expansion later (note: it's important to review your civics at every opportunity - while you're building settlers in bulk and spamming warriors, you're going to want both Agoge and Colonization - after that time has passed, other civics need to be plugged into those positions. Now, some people might say, "But Vel! I'm a Builder at heart! I don't want to be a bloodthirsty warmonger!" I hear you. Believe me, I do. That's actually the idea. By ridding yourself of your nearest rivals early on, you open the door to actually PLAY a Builder game for pretty much the rest of the game if you want to. Or, you can complete the conquest of your starting continent, and indeed, the world, in stages. The point is, a bit of warring early on, makes all the victory conditions possible, and indeed, significantly easier to achieve. So having made what I feel is an extremely strong case for ancient era warfare, let's take a look at the other "first build" options and see when it might be attractive to break those rules of thumb: Monument First - Advantage: Faster Ancient Era Civics. The best case for doing this would be if you start off building something else first, but the first city state you meet is one of the Builder Civs that give you extra production when working on buildings. Since your capital already gets a boost to culture, this is actually a fairly weak starting build, because you're relying on your singular warrior to do all of your exploring. You're essentially flying blind. Having said that, if a core piece of your strategy involves getting a certain civic choice very early, this is a good fit, if highly situational. Builder First - Advantage: Faster resource improvements. The only time this is really recommended is if you've got a TON of high food tiles and bonus resources (wheat, rice, flood plains) you can bring into play with no other techs in-hand. You goal here will be to add +3 food quickly (or +2 food and +1 production if you make mining an early priority) and try to make up the difference later, because it will slow down the building of your ancient era attack force. Remember, the longer you're sitting on an unused builder charge, the less helpful a Builder first play is - if you're going Builder first, then you want to use all three of his charges fast, for maximum impact. Special nod to the Sumerians here - their special terrain improvement can be a real boost in the Ancient Era. Builder first is the hands down fastest way to get a second city, not by conquest though. The question is, is it worth the price you pay? If you go builder/settler, then you're essentially giving up on early game exploration, and will be flying blind. You won't even know for certain if your second city is in a truly optimal spot, AND you'll be extremely vulnerable to an early game attack, with two cities to defend, and a single warrior to defend them with... Slinger First - Certainly viable, although slingers are relatively weak in hand to hand combat. If you're using your warrior for exploration purposes, then your slinger won't have any backup right away. Can be risky, but getting him out early makes it easier to score a kill and speed Archery. Warrior First - Also viable (and a no-brainer if you're playing Aztec), but you're adding a unit to the pool that you already have. Warriors are great units in the Ancient era, but they won't be able to quickly explore the map. Scout First - My personal go-to choice. I want a unit that can be vicious if used correctly, but can also be my "eyes" on the field. I want to know where stuff is, and I want to know that quickly, so I can begin making longer term plans.
  8. Fun, random fact about Rome - Legions get a single builder action, which they normally use to build forts, but - this also gives them the ability to REPAIR infrastructure, which makes Legions even better/stronger than they appear at first glance. It basically means you can take a "free hit" against a city you're attacking, pillage the tile you're standing on for the heal, then, when you actually TAKE the city, repair the damage you did to the tile, no Builder required. :) (and since repair doesn't cost an action, they still preserve their ability to build a fort later)
  9. That sounds like an awesome game, good sir~! I'm getting better at finding the right balance - having done about all I can do re: early conquest, the next step in the ongoing experiments is to find ways of turning those early gains into gold faster. Latest experiment - back to Rome, ancient/large/marathon - This one would really make a great AAR, I think. China and England started out VERY close to me, with France and Greece farther out. I got extremely lucky, and got a relic from my first friendly village, which gave me 4 faith per turn, and met Kabul first (along with a few others, but Kabul was key for the extra hammers when producting units). Took God of the Forge as my Pantheon (I don't know if it's fixed or not, but literally the only thing I used it for was to buy warriors and slingers - so I had the 25% bonus from that, the 50% agoge bonus, and the +1 hammer from Urban Planning - fastest I've ever gotten my ancient era attack force ready. China jumped England early, taking the city of Leeds. England was left with Just London, while China had three cities, so China became the defacto first choice. England was THRILLED with me for DoWing China, and became a friend (briefly). My first goal was to show China that there's only one top military dawg on the continent, and they weren't it, but England would not be spared my wrath. They and China were just too close. I didn't have room to expand, especially when England plonked Bradford down in my expansion zone. Anyway, my force went to work, eviscerating the Chinese army, then pounding her cities. After their capital fell, England gleefully DoW'd them too, tho they didn't do much more than harass. As soon as my veteran forces recovered after the last siege, we DoW'd England. I was fortunate to have also made first contact with a cultural civ, and that, plus my free monument saw me rip through the early Civics like nobody's business. England still hadn't recovered from their earlier war with China, so their "army" wasn't much to speak of. We demolished them in short order, and I was running so far ahead, troop wise, that I immediately set one of my Chinese cities to building a Trader unit, while my capital got busy with two builders and two settlers after doing a couple of warriors for padding. End result: I foiund myself with six cities and a settler building by around turn 110. Greece though, was having none of it. They were strong (3 cities) and well organized, and sent an army to Rome, declaring a surprise war on me while my troops were recovering from the last siege of the English city. If not for the free road back to Rome, that actually could have been dicey, because we had forbidding jungle to slog through, but thanks to the road home, my seasoned troops raced to the scene of the action, and we began methodically picking his attack force to pieces, then began relentlessly advancing toward Athens. Athens was a bit of a problem. Not only did they have ancient walls, but they also had an Encampment set up that was en route to Athens itself. It would have to be dealt with first, then recover, then advance further, so that was the plan. The Encampment was staffed by a Hoplite, and that's one tough customer! But, we surrounded it, ate the fire from it, and eventually took it out. As luck would have it, he had built another settler, planning to sent him my way, and he was stationed in the Encampment with the Hoplite, so when we took it, we captured the settler too! At this point, his other two cities had walls as well (well, I'm assuming Sparta did, tho at that point, I could not see it), and we were going to be hard pressed to take them, as close together as they were. Fortunately, Greece had been savagely beaten by this point, and we exacted a harsh piece, taking the city of (Knosis?) from him as part of the peace terms. This was a huge coup. Greece was down, but definitely not out, and I knew we'd have to have another showdown. I was TAKING Athens! As our realm entered an extended and uneasy period of peace, I adopted a policy of Colonization, and most of my cities were set to either build warriors or settlers, so we could begin the not inconsiderable task of making our expanding realm a safe place. I used the captured Greek settler to build a new city five tiles east of Athens, and spent lavishly to buy land tiles that butted right up against their territory, in both my new city and in ceded Knosis. In these locations, we built Encampments of our own, planning to use them as vital parts of our next war, to bombard the hell out of enemy troops (encampments can't bombard cities, tho that was the initial plan, both being two tiles from Athens, one to the north, and the other to the east) Of special note was the founding of Cumae, which gave us access to Iron, which halves our time to researching Ironworking when we rushed a Builder and built the Iron Mine....that was the biggest win, because I had enough cash to upgrade two of my warriors to legions. I took a GREAT screenie of a Hoplite manning the Athens Encampment, right next to the Legion manning one of ours...classic! So after both encampments were completed, we DoW'd again (formal war), but by now, I had two Crossbows and two Legions. That, plus the two encampments, and Athens never had a chance. After it fell, he ceded yet another city, leaving Greece with just the city of Sparta (which is formidable indeed). During this period, on the frontier, the barbarians made a serious push, two horsemen got the drop on one of our warriors and killed him, prompting Rome to divert a crossbowman to the troubled region to bring it back under control, and after the second war with Greece, we again entered into a period of Colonization, this time, mixed with building our first specialized city districts. Rome spent most of her time building traders and shipping them to cities with poor production (all internal trade routes). This was an extended period of peace, and we expanded to fill up the bulk of the continent. There's an area of wild country in the north we have not attended to yet, France has three cities, Greece still has one. We've built the Pyramids, and are on our way to completing both Petra and Alhambra (both of those cities got all our trade routes thus far), and a number of cities have completed districts (one campus, 3-4 holy sites, several commercial hubs, and rome built the first industrial hub). We managed to squeeze in building a galley, and explored as far as we were able, but toward the end of this extended peace, we picked up Cartography, upgraded him to a Caravel and took to the high seas. We also founded our religion (Judaeism), and have spread it to about half of our core, but France has been busily spreading their faith to our western cities - so far, we're about half and half in terms of which faith is in what Roman cities. Now though, with Musketmen and Crossbow, it is time to curtail French ambitions. Her cities are strong (walls, 50 strength), so this will be no trivial task. Our exploring Caravel has found one other Civ so far - America, but we'll keep exploring as we press our claims and continue to push out into the frontier on our continent - truly building an Empire that will stand the test of time...
  10. Hmmm....weird 'bout the image not showing. I can see it from here of course, and I didn't "do anything" differently this go. Will investigate! And GREAT pics of yours! Way to go! - right, once you get all your fighting done in the ancient era, you've basically got the whole rest of the game to build your Civ, your way. Sure, you might get attacked here and there by the AI, but honestly, it won't matter. With a couple of cities dedicated to churning out troops to guard your empire and the rest building infrastructure, nobody will be able to seriously threaten you. :) I think my next experiment will be Kongo. Probably going to drop back to King level for that one, and the goal will be to define some size parameters for myself from the get-go (ie - don't eat the entire continent, but use prevailing geography to create a proper "country" and then force myself to stay within those confines. Then, I'll spend the rest of the game seeing how "pretty" I can make it. LOL
  11. Heh...c'mon now...I'm not conquering! I'm just...preemptively and decisively settling those stupid disputes about how close my troops are or the fact that I converted one of their size two cities two and a half thousand years ago...
  12. Hmmm...I dunno. At that point in the game, cities are so small that a boost to amenities really wouldn't be attractive to me. If warriors cost 1gpt, I'd probably use scouts instead (then beeline to rifling, which would turn my scouts into genuine menaces). I tend to have a bit more fog than most, because I try to spread my cities out 5-6 tiles (the AI packs them four apart, which is too close for me). It's not annoying enough for me to raze the AI's second city, but when placing my own around them, I want them at least a little farther apart. On the other hand, with higher maintenance, I'd be more inclined to tightly pack 'em, which would reduce my fow. I don't think the scaled costs for settlers is high enough - it's too easy to spam cities (esp. with the 50% production boost policy). Once you get a stable of captured AI cities, it's easy enough to just put them all to building settlers (2-3 apiece), and just fill up the continent. Sure, they're small cities and they don't have any infrastructure, but once you HAVE them, you can start churning out infrastructure, and specializing them out (get a few troop centers up, and sure, early on, they'll take forever to produce troops, but that will improve as they grow - and you've got so many more production centers than the AI, that their production advantages don't matter.
  13. I think 1gpt actually wouldn't be enough - if you just made it 1gpt, then it would just pull you to take the "Conscription" policy (-1gpt). I tend to take it anyway, to save 4-5gpt on my Archers, but if warriors only cost a single gold per turn, it would prompt everybody to almost universally adopt that policy. Nothing else would have the same bang for the buck, policy wise. (unless they changed Conscription to work like this: Conscription reduces per turn unit costs, UNLESS they only cost 1gpt....then it does nothing).
  14. Here's a shot: 1950 BC - the warriors seen here are just keeping camps from spawning around my newly acquired/planted cities. My actual *army* is off to the north fighting the germanic tribes...