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Thread: Social Policies and you

  1. #1
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    Social Policies and you

    update: Ok, time to start incorporating good ideas into the thread, since we've all gotten plenty of time in the game.

    Basic Starts
    First policy choice
    So, you're wandering around and just meeting the city states/enemy civs and an advisor pops up telling you that you should pick a Social Policy. This first policy comes fairly early. (dependant on difficulty level - Prince = 25/1 = 25 turns maximum; France gets their first policy in 25/3 turns = 9 maximum) This will be a very important choice, as it will affect your later game choices. Keep in mind that building an early monument (+2 culture) can speed this up; though, you'll need good production to have it matter before the first policy.

    Your first Social Policy choice sets the tone for the game; but it's never set in stone. The great thing about all of the social policy choices is that you can adapt on the fly to what is going on in your current game.

    Tradition
    - Best for a single city early game start, or when you want a super capital. If you aren't expecting to expand or conquer a city until at least 30-50 turns into the game, then this is your best choice. This is primarily a capital/culture borders based Policy tree with a boost to wonder production tossed in.

    Choosing tradition gives you a bonus to your capitals growth. (+1 food) This opens the door for follow on policy picks that boost you capital (less unhappiness and more growth = bigger population ability), affects your empire's culture coverage (cheaper tile purchases and better defense within culture area) as well as giving a boost to wonder building.

    Liberty
    - Best for early expansions or early puppet states. Everything about this policy screams 'expand expand expand'. Generally best for peaceful expansion, but you aren't limited to that since four of the policies affect all cities. So the best use of this policy tree is for large empire building.

    Choosing Liberty gives you 50% faster settler production. After that, three policies are per city bonuses (prod/culture/happiness) and the others drive faster expansion via cheaper workers + stored growth for the next city.

    Liberty is the only starting policy that has a conflict. It conflicts with Autocracy, which for the most part doesn't matter. If you were headed to that form of playstyle (highly aggressive) you'd be aiming for tradition (early build up) and/or honor (early aggression). So don't sweat it. Basically Liberty is for peaceful expansion, Autocracy is about not so peaceful expansion.

    Honor
    - The warriors code. Anyone interested in getting a beefed up militarily should take this policy.

    Choosing Honor lets you know where the barbarians are appearing without searching and gives a boost to fighting them. (uncovered areas only) Early game this is great for amassing gold. After that, cheaper upgrades, extra XP/combat strength, and a happiness bonus for garrisoning the units when not fighting. It's all a warmonger needs; including a free great general.

    This Social Policy tree is also great for keeping a quality army (small) instead of a quantity army (large) given the unit upgrade/maintenance costs.

    Basic Strategies
    When it comes to sticking to the basics, these three policies do the job quite well. What follows here are some basic strategies that are enhanced via one of the starting policy trees.

    Turtling/single city start
    If you're aiming for minimal expansion while you create a super city, then this is for you. Tradition gives you benefits towards your capital and you can play nice with the neighbours; until you feel it's time to make them yours. Social Policies get more expensive as you expand, so fewer cities is better until you can push out a lot of culture buildings to overcome the costs. (puppets don't count; so you can manage your capital and leave the puppets as a barrier) The downfall of this strategy will be your lack of resources, or at least very limited access to them without settling in a great spot or making puppets of the neighbours. But you will get the boost to wonder creation and have a large city where you can expand via gold and have a good defence while at home.

    Mass Expansion
    Liberty is the way to go for early expansion. You'll capitalize on more resources but you'll also have more area to defend as well as a drop in the rate of getting more social policies. Happiness will also be a problem in the short term, but as you access more and more luxury resources this will be less of a problem. Getting the Forbidden Palace is a must to control the unhappiness of the number of cities you will make; thereby allowing you to add even more cities to your growing empire.

    Early Aggression
    Honor lets you go after those close city states/enemy civs once you get an army going. City defenses aren't that strong for some time, so with these bonuses you'll have a decent shot at taking them. The downfall to that is that you will be missing out on the empire building policies for some time, but with no close rivals giving you problems, you have time for fixing that later.

    Advanced Starts
    If you don't feel the basics are going to work (map type, size, etc), then you can save up your policy picks and era jump into some more interesting choices. Read Great Library usage for era jumping to see how to get to medieval pretty fast. You can push your way into classical early, by going directly up to one of the easy Classical techs, but it will take about as long to research as an era jump, unless you focus on just growing your capital early. You can store 3 or so policy picks before having to make a choice, but the longer you wait the more turns you let go by without benefiting from policies. Patronage and Commerce come in Medieval, so you really need to era jump to get the benefits early enough for them to matter.

    Piety
    Piety is opposed to free thought (Rationalism) and comes in classical. It's primarily about happiness and culture; and making a connection between them. For obvious reasons, you are making a choice to focus on happiness/culture instead of boosts to science. I would choose Piety for larger empires and Rationalism for smaller empires. Golden Ages are really important in this game, so this Policy tree provides a good incentive to keep people happy.

    Choosing Piety gives you a 2 happiness bonus and leads directly to using some happiness for culture production as well as making golden ages easier to get. (and a free golden age to boot) The final choice gives you two free policy picks, which basically boils down to one free policy since you had to pick this one instead of another one to get it. It's great for having a larger empire (-20% unhappiness in all non-occupied cities) which is probably one of the best Policy picks in the game. All cities are 'non-occupied' except for the ones where you just annexed them and haven't built the courthouse yet. Once the courthouse is built, the city is no longer considered 'occupied'.

    Patronage
    This policy tree is all about relations with the City States. If you are playing with a lot of them and think you want to head for a diplomacy victory, then this is a good tree. Else, it's a nice to have if there are some good pets around you for what you need and you can keep them alive. It gets really annoying when you spend a lot of gold making friends just to see your 'ally' go take them out one by one. Otherwise, policy picks (and gold) are better spent elsewhere as this is the only branch that affects entities outside of your empire. (mainly)

    Choosing Patronage gives you a slower decay rate with City States. Basically this means once you make friends/allies with them (via doing jobs, giving gold or liberating them) you will be their friend/ally longer than normal. Since both culture and maritime CS's give a per turn bonus, that's great. Military CS's give units after a number of turns, so the longer you are friends, the more units you might get per gold boost. After the first pick the next two policies make you gold go further (base level is 20 instead of 0 + gold is more effective by giving more influence) and the rest boost what they give you (science boost, more and happier luxuries, options for Great People)


    Commerce
    Ah Commerce, how much do we love thee? Choosing Commerce gives a boost to your capital's gold output. It's like getting a 2nd market but not having to wait to build it since you're all trading posts and no production.

    Of course, the rest of commerce gets a bit unfocused. There's the maritime section, which is awesome for island games. (extra production in coastal cities and a boost for naval units) Then there's the cheaper road/railroad maintenance . (useless for islands/harbour strategy) But it finishes nicely with cheaper purchases in cities and more happiness from luxury resources. (great for every game)


    This is about as far into the Tech Eras that you can get before having to make a choice. Each branch has it's own flavour and shapes the game you are playing. Of course, mixing and matching policies is where you really start building a major civilization.
    Last edited by MadDjinn; 10-06-2010 at 12:42 PM.

  2. #2
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    Beyond the start

    Now that you're moving ahead with an early strategy, it's time to start thinking mid to late game synergies with other Social policies. Some later Social Policies work really well with earlier ones, and some are just extra. At this point though, you start running into more conflicts. Let's explore.

    Conflicts

    - Liberty and Freedom do not work within an Autocracy
    - Piety is opposed to free thought (Rationalism)
    Patronage, Order and Commerce are free from conflicts.

    Tradition start (aka minimal cities)

    With this strategy, you immediately have to make a choice: Culture (Piety) or Science (Rationalism). You have that choice as Social Policies should come fairly quickly to high pop/high culture cities when you don't expand much. The thing is, you have to make that choice early. If you choose culture, then you're good to go in the Classical era. If you choose science, you have to find other ways to spend culture until the Renaissance era.

    Culture
    Going culture (aka Piety) nets you more happiness related bonuses that mix well with culture point generation. Granted, if culture is not you end game, then it could be used to get a quick jump into another Policy area. Just not Rationalism.

    Science
    Everything in rationalism grants you more science. Your people are happy? More science. Have universities? More happiness. See how that's going to work? In the end you also get 2 free techs, so you should save it til you really need it. The definition of 'really need it' is up for debate, but if you're getting hammered and need those mech infantry now, it's a good time. Or waiting until near the future era to pop those spaceship part technologies.

    In either case, there are still more choices, but they aren't limited. Now it's more about flavour. Mix and match parts of the other Policy Trees without finishing them off unless you really want to do it.

    Patronage for diplomatic victories and overall general niceness with city states (extra science and free Great people are great). Commerce for better gold and luxury/navy related bonuses. Freedom for more culture/specialist related help. Everything in Order except for maybe United Front (less influence for other players with city states) and Planned Economy is great for all small empires. United Front is good if you're going diplomatic, but with enough GPT and lots of Patronage Policies, it won't really matter.

    You should probably avoid Autocracy unless you're getting constantly hammered and need a cheaper effective army (due to gpt issues) to hold off the enemy. Or if you are transitioning into a major assault in the late game.


    Liberty Start (aka mass self expansion - ICS starts here)
    Your choices here are more obvious. Piety for a more Domination or Diplomacy path as there are some easily gotten Policy picks (Organized Religion, Reformation, and Theocracy) the can really help with a large empire. But Rationalism makes more sense if you're aiming at a 'peaceful' expansion/Science Victory.

    You won't get as many total Social Policies, unless you really spend a lot of effort on culture production. So you should cherry pick policies, and aim for the ones that will affect multiple cities via buildings, straight additions, etc.

    You also won't be able to go Autocracy, so Freedom is your choice there (especially for Specialist cities); which has Free Speech (-33% Social Policy cost) that can definitely help get you a few more Policies (Especially if you also grabbed Cristo Redentor which can actually bring the price down far enough to get a lot of policy choices).

    Ensure to pick up Order (all of it except maybe United Front) as it really blends well with Liberty. Commerce works as well: Naval move/coastal production side if on islands, else the cheaper roads/more happiness from luxuries is good. Patronage of course to play nice with the City States that are still left.


    Honour start (aka keep it aggressive)

    So you want to be a Despot. Ok, we can work with that. You're going to end up with many cities, but they're going to hate you for a while if you keep annexing them. You shouldn't bother razing cities unless the AI put them in absolutely horrible spots. So your best bet is to make them puppets until math, then annex them and drop in a courthouse. You shouldn't do them all at once, else you'll grind the rest of your empire to a full stop for some time. Your other option, which works best, is to just leave all taken cities as puppets unless you really need one to be able to be a production powerhouse. Any city meant for gold/science can just be left as a puppet without much fear.

    But you can also be a nice warlord. Fight your enemies, but save those city states (especially if you can liberate some). Could be an interesting way to convince the world to make you its democratic leader - by the point of a sword.

    There are some obvious choices here, and maybe some not so obvious ones. Go back and grab Liberty as you expand by the point of the sword. It'll help a lot. Sure you won't use the settler side, but the three per city bonuses (culture/production/happiness) are very important to any large empire. Use this path if you go for a smaller more efficient army, and don't have GPT issues related to military.

    Autocracy is very important. It's mostly military and occupation related bonuses; get them all. Though Police State isn't as great as it sounds. It's only for cities that get annexed before the courthouse goes in. So if you're having a hard time managing the GPT, then this can help. Else, it's just a small stop gap during the time it takes to build a courthouse. Save Total War until you're about to do a big push though, since it's a one time 20 turn bonus for your units. Timing is important.

    Order is useful in the late game to help build up those production cities and keep unhappiness down. The later game units get more expensive to make, so better production facilities is very useful for you.

    Culture vs. Science
    As you take more cities, you'll need more happiness to keep the occupied cities from ruining your empire. So Piety and Commerce can help with that. On the flip side, you'll need to keep cranking up the tech tree to upgrade those units to keep from getting out of date. Rationalism is the key there if you're at a fairly low population total. Whichever way you go, you'll need to ensure both science and happiness move forward at a decent clip. Most likely Commerce mixed with Piety will work best for you when tied to Autocracy.

    Patronage and Freedom should be ignored in favour of the other policies. Patronage is great if you're doing the back door liberation of city states, via ensuring other civs attack the city states and then you step in to 'liberate them'; else all policy choices are better spent elsewhere. Freedom is ok if you aim for the GP generation part and went Liberty as well. It'll help with getting more great scientists to pop key techs earlier, and so forth, but won't let you have a huge army.

    Going back for a bit of Tradition is nice as well. Grabbing Oligarchy can make for some fun battles. Slide in and quickly grab a city and your units suddenly get stronger to defend against the counter attack (if one is coming).


    Minimally final words
    In the end though, you should always look at your situation and decide where you should go. You started with tradition, but the other civs are all warmongers? Ok, time to switch it up to counter that aggression; including getting the city states on your side. Liberty is great until you over expand and have to reconsider whether that local city state really needs to be in control of its city after it gets someone else to pick on you. Honor works well til you find out that everyone around you got wise and built big defenses. Now it's time to get peaceful for a while.

    With all strategies, you're looking to maximize your core strengths or cover your weaknesses. Social Policies are the way to do that. The more you can get, the better position you will have in the game.
    Last edited by MadDjinn; 10-11-2010 at 11:47 PM.

  3. #3
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    Data

    I'd reasonably like to add in some tables with the culture levels needed to get to a policy. I haven't found them in the XML files yet (ok, I'm lazy and haven't looked that closely) or bothered to write them down in a single city challenge (again, lazy).

    Update: I've been checking through the files and it looks like the culture sums to get a new policy are calculated. Not having a great time finding all of the files, so I guess an OCC is needed for the moment, unless someone else has the data.

    So if anyone has them, please post and I'll fill in this space with useful stuff. Like calculating how much culture you need to overcome the 'culture cost' of adding a new controlled city.

    World Size Modifiers
    Map size affects the increase in policy costs per city added. In general, more cities = harder to get culture victory, though on larger maps they have tried to offset this with a smaller penalty to allow you to expand more.

    Huge: 15%
    Large: 20%
    Standard and smaller:30%

    The following are modifiers to the amount of culture needed to gain a Social Policy.

    Game Length Adjustments
    Just checked the XML files, and here's the numbers:

    Marathon: 300%
    Epic: 150%
    Standard: 100% (Ie, it's the base numbers from which the other game lengths are adjusted)
    Quick: 67%

    Game Difficulty Adjustments
    As with Game Length, the easier the difficulty, the cheaper policies get. Prince and above are all at normal cost.

    Settler: 50%
    Chieftain: 67%
    Warlord: 85%
    Prince and above: 100% (Ie, normal cost)


    Social Policy/Culture Enhancers

    There are ways to speed up getting new policies, even via policies! And I'm not talking about the buildings either. Here's a listing:

    Free Policies
    - Free actually means free, so when you get a free policy, you don't have to worry about it costing you more to get the next one.

    The Oracle - Early game free pick. If you got the Great Library and chose Philosophy and already had marble/Aristocracy/Playing Egyptian, then you should have no problems getting this one.

    Piety->Free Religion - It says 2 picks, but really since you pick it as a choice, you only get one additional Policy. It's a good trade off if you haven't hit the era you want to get into yet, but need to make a policy choice.

    Sydney Opera House - Late game Wonder. It's down a very long path that has nothing to do with the military. So generally most useful in culture games (or diplomatic games since the UN is there as well)


    Culture Cost Reducers
    These wonders/policies are a must have if you want to increase your overall Social Policies. Especially for non-culture games. Put together, you're basically taking 58% of the cost of Social Policies out of the equation. Expansion is no longer a limiting factor if you're not going for a full culture game.

    Cristo Redentor - 33% off the top. Great way to overcome adding a few cities.

    Free Speech - Another 25% taken off the top.


    Culture Boosters
    Sistine Chapel - 33% more culture per city. As long as you have a few culture buildings in the city, this will give you a nice boost.

    Hermitage - Double culture in a single city. Just need to have museums in all cities. Most likely use when going for a culture game.

    Liberty->Representation - +1 culture/city. Better than a monument as it's free!

    Piety->Mandate of Heaven - 50% of excess happiness turns into culture for social policies. Great if you're a happy people. See 'happiness boosting' below for more details on how to use this more effectively.

    Freedom->Constitution - Double culture in cities with wonders.


    Happiness Boosting

    The basic premise is get Piety->Mandate of Heaven and then make your people extremely happy. 50% goes into culture. Say you have 50 happiness, that's 25 extra culture. Not bad at all if you can make it happen. A single city maxes out around 60 culture (if a wonder) or 40 culture if no wonder. Not to mention that there are plenty of wonders that give you happiness at no cost.

    To really kick this up a notch though, you should ensure to get Legalism (-33% unhappiness in your cap), Meritocracy - if major expander or lots of puppets - (+1 happiness/city connected to cap), Military Caste - if you need many units - (-1 unhappiness/city with garrison), Theocracy (-20% unhappiness in non-annexed cities), Cultural Diplomacy (50% more happiness from gifted luxuries and you get +100% resources. So you can sell them for more happiness luxuries), Protectionism (+1 happiness from each luxury), Freedom - if specialist focused - (50% unhappiness from specialists) and Planned Economy. (-50% unhappiness from number of cities)

    Speaking of number of cities: The Forbidden Palace and Planned Economy are highly important here. Combined, they reduce unhappiness from number of cities to 0. So you can spam away with the cities and stay very happy (aside from the usual population related unhappiness)

    This does get rather expensive though if you're using happiness buildings, so plan on a great economy. The good news is that the costs for those buildings gets a little less annoying once Mandate of Heaven kicks in, since you can basically assume 1/2 of the happiness given is also going to culture. Ie, a Colosseum gives you 4 happiness and 2 culture (as long as you are positive in happiness) for 3 gold. Not great, but if you think a monument is equivalent to 1 gold 2 culture from the Colosseum, then the 4 happiness now only costs you 2 gold. From 3g for 4h to 2g for 4h. Much nicer.

    The obvious other benefit is that once you also get Organized Religion, your super happy population will also drive you into golden ages fairly often. Which is a good thing.

    It's worth it to note though, that this is only for excess happiness. So unhappy people don't make extra culture and sticking at low happiness means that you're not getting much out of this policy.
    Last edited by MadDjinn; 10-17-2010 at 02:05 AM.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by MadDjinn View Post
    This will be a first pass at discussing Social Policies to help us all get a better understanding of which policies are best for which civs and strategies. Some of the Social Policies seem better suited for certain situations, but not for others. Let's try to compile what we know, and as we actually start playing the game, I'll keep the first/second post updated.

    (mods: once a strategy/etc section is open, can you please move this thread there?)

    First policy choice

    So, you're wandering around and just meeting the city states/enemy civs and an advisor pops up telling you that you should pick a Social Policy. This first policy comes fairly early. (dependant on difficulty level - Prince = 25/4 = 7 turns maximum) This will be a very important choice, as it will affect your later game choices.

    Tradition
    - Best for single city early game. If you aren't expecting to expand or conquer a city until at least 30-50 turns into the game, then this is your best choice. This is primarily a capital/single city based Policy. Extra food, less unhappiness, more wonder production, cheaper land purchasing with a final step of faster growth. Some are ok for more than just the capital, but you won't be expanding much to start.

    Civs that should take Tradition first
    Egypt - Given the faster wonder building SA, pushing your capital up first with tradition means you can get some of the early wonders really fast. (+20%, +33% for wonders)

    India - Less cities = better game. They're tuned for high pop minimal cities, so tradition works well for them.

    Other mentions:
    Persia - Their SA is all about hitting golden ages early and often. With tradition, they can keep the unhappiness down and the culture up so as to fill up the 'happiness bucket' faster. This is more of a preference than a 'should' in Persias case.

    USA - Tradition could be useful for very cheap expansion of the city space via gold purchases. cut a line across an opponents path early and you might not have to worry about them getting in your space early.


    Liberty
    - Best for early expansions or early puppet states. Everything about this policy screams 'expand expand expand'. Three are per city bonuses (prod/culture/happiness) and the others drive faster expansion via cheaper settlers and workers + stored growth for the next city. (Settlers need 2 pop to be produced, so starting with half of that done to start is great)

    Liberty is the only starting policy that has a conflict. It conflicts with Autocracy, which for the most part doesn't matter. If you were headed to that form of playstyle (highly aggressive) you'd be aiming for tradition (early build up) and/or honor (early aggression). So don't sweat it. Basically Liberty is for peaceful expansion, Autocracy is about not so peaceful expansion.

    Civs that should take Liberty first
    Arabia - extra trade per trade route means you need to expand. get a decent road network going and hit up a few new cities and the road cost should be no issue even early with low pop cities.

    France - Extra culture per city means faster everything. kick out a few fast cities and you'll overcome that social policy cost for expanding fairly easily with a few monuments. You also get the policy choice faster (Prince = 25/6 = 5 turns max) so you can time that first settler to occur just after you get this policy.

    Rome - The SA needs you to make more cities for it to be useful. Though, this is the only civ where I'd suggest both Tradition and Liberty. build everything in your cap and then cheaper everywhere else.

    Russia - Russia needs resources. Best way to get them is to expand. extra production and double quantity for strategic resources? yeah, expand expand expand.


    Honor
    - The warriors code. Anyone interested in getting a beefed up militarily should take this policy. First off, knowing where the barbarians are early game is great for amassing gold. After that, cheaper upgrades, extra XP/combat strength, etc it's all a warmonger needs. For now.

    Civs that should take Honor first

    Aztecs - You can speed up your culture production by getting out there and killing things. Much more fun than a stupid monument.

    Germany - The SA is all about finding and getting barbs early and often. Build that mighty barbarian force and go kick someones door in.

    Ottoman Empire - Same as per Germany. Go build a fleet and prep it for upgrades. You also get plenty of extra cash from the barbs as well.

    Songhai - Double gold from barbs is a good thing. Get a nice army going and then start taking out cities for more gold as well.

    Other mentions:

    China - You get faster great generals, so you can get a war machine going earlier. Though, this isn't always important for the chinese really early.


    Basic Strategies

    If you didn't see a civ mentioned up there, then they are not locked into a 'best' starting strategy. They have SA's that are useful in other situations, or come much later. In these cases, you would follow one of three basic starting strategies.

    Turtling/single city start
    If you're aiming for diplomatic or cultural strategies, then this is for you. Tradition gives you benefits towards your capital and you can play nice with the neighbours. Social Policies get more expensive as you expand, so fewer cities is better for this strategy. the downfall of this strategy will be your lack of resources, or at least very limited access to them.

    Mass Expansion
    Liberty is the way to go for early expansion. You'll capitalize on more resources but you'll also have more area to defend as well as a drop in the rate of getting more social policies. Happiness will also be a problem in the short term.

    Early Aggression
    Honor lets you go after those close city states/enemy civs once you get an army going. City defenses aren't supposed to be that strong, so with these bonuses you'll have a decent shot at taking them. The downfall to that is that you will most likely need to leave them as puppet states until you hit mathematics for the courthouses.
    Really good job man, maybe talk a little bit more about late game/overall strategy

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by acpraider6 View Post
    Really good job man, maybe talk a little bit more about late game/overall strategy
    second post is now up.

    The next step is to discuss Policy combinations (Autocracy/Honour, Liberty/Order, Liberty/Freedom, Tradition/Piety, Tradition/Rationalism, etc) and how the benefit you/what their issues are. Though, I think there's going to be a point where we'll have to leave it for Civ specific threads.

    After that, and likely many days of game play, we should start getting into partial policy choices. 'Build orders' for culture policies and such.

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    Hey nice work MadDjinn! Very nice and comprehensive list.

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    England Strategy -

    Great Lighthouse is very important for England to solidify your naval superiority. This also generates 1 Great Merchant points.

    Commerce policy tree is most important as well for navy and economy. This gives you better ships, and +25% gold in your capital.

    Put those two together with a few other key wonders - Big Ben reduces unit hurry costs by 25%, and gives +2 Great Merchant Point. Pentagon reduces upgrade costs by 50% and gives another +2 Great Merchant Points.

    Plonk Great Lighthouse, Big Ben, and Pentagon in your capital. Optionally, also add Colossus, Notre Dame and Eiffel Tower (+1, +1, and +2 Great Merchant Points, and huge happiness boosts plus extra Gold from water tiles). In another City, try to Build Great Wall and Himeji Castle. Great Wall will slow everyone else down in your territory, easily giving you plenty of opportunity to shoot down anyone that attacks you with longbows. Himeji Castle gives you +25% defense in your borders, and both these wonders give Great Engineer points.

    Build National Epic in your Great Merchant farm capital. Surround London with Custom Houses and use some merchants for trade missions to city states. Commerce gives +25% gold output for London, and obviously add a Market, Bank and Stock Exchange there ASAP, vastly boosting the amount of gold you get from those custom houses and Colossus water tiles.

    You can also try to add United Nations later on, and also Kremlin will be a huge boost to your defense. If you have mountains nearby, not only just to London but also any other city, try for Machu Pichu.

    Use all that gold you get combined with big Ben and Pentagon for plenty of rush buying and upgrading, and you will be extremely powerful. The GM farm and Gold Economy nicely synergise with England's and the Commerce Trees naval benefits.
    Last edited by Bhavv; 09-18-2010 at 12:04 PM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by MadDjinn View Post
    This first policy comes fairly early. (dependant on difficulty level - Prince = 25/4 = 7 turns maximum)
    Why do you say so? Palace generates 2 points, and I do not know any other source at the beginning of the game that you always have. So I would guess that it is 25/2=13 turns. Do I miss something?

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    This is a nice theory(since we cant test anyof this for a few more LONG LONG days...)! i knew youd be cookin something up. I would also fling japan up there under the list of candidates for honor. Im still formulatin a good strategy for the iroquois.

    Once again, awesome job!

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    Quote Originally Posted by MxM111 View Post
    Why do you say so? Palace generates 2 points, and I do not know any other source at the beginning of the game that you always have. So I would guess that it is 25/2=13 turns. Do I miss something?
    lol, can't believe I messed that one up

    just checked Greg's stream and it's 1 culture from the palace. So it's actually 25 turns on Prince. 9 turns for france. (since they have the +2 culture)

    I'll update.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by MadDjinn View Post
    lol, can't believe I messed that one up

    just checked Greg's stream and it's 1 culture from the palace. So it's actually 25 turns on Prince. 9 turns for france. (since they have the +2 culture)

    I'll update.
    Page 80 of the manual says that the Palace generates 2 culture per turn. Greg was playing a non finalized version of the game, so its more likely that the manual is correct.

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    but the manual we have is still subject to update. We've already caught some contradictions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Onandoga View Post
    This is a nice theory(since we cant test anyof this for a few more LONG LONG days...)! i knew youd be cookin something up. I would also fling japan up there under the list of candidates for honor. Im still formulatin a good strategy for the iroquois.

    Once again, awesome job!
    After we get in some games, we'll refine the first few posts as we learn more.

    Civ specific strats should be in their own thread; else this one will get very very long and hard to find things.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bhavv View Post
    Page 80 of the manual says that the Palace generates 2 culture per turn. Greg was playing a non finalized version of the game, so its more likely that the manual is correct.
    yup, and the wonder list says 1 culture/turn. (page 161) same for the table on page 218.

    So yeah.. the manual has some issues.

    I'll edit it again on tuesday once I see what it actually is
    Last edited by MadDjinn; 09-18-2010 at 11:35 AM.

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    hopefully someone will make an archive like morte did.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Onandoga View Post
    hopefully someone will make an archive like morte did.
    I'm sure it'll happen after the game starts. Wouldn't want everyone's hard work to just disappear into the mist.. (like this thread which fell a few pages overnight)

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    Quote Originally Posted by MadDjinn View Post
    Piety won't work so well with this strategy, since you'll have more cities = really high cost for policies.
    Why does more cities = really high cost for policies? I haven't played Civ in years, so sorry if this is obvious.

    Thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by joebarnin View Post
    Why does more cities = really high cost for policies? I haven't played Civ in years, so sorry if this is obvious.

    Thanks.
    Each city increases the base cost of the next policy by 30%.

    After 20 cities, the cost is about 700% higher.

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    Thanks Procylon!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Procylon View Post
    Each city increases the base cost of the next policy by 30%.

    After 20 cities, the cost is about 700% higher.
    yeah, from what it looks like, expansion and culture policies don't mix.

    Not to mention that there's very little cultural pluses, so we'll have to see how to best overcome the city expansion issues. I'm sure it's possible, so a few games played and we'll figure it out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MadDjinn View Post
    yeah, from what it looks like, expansion and culture policies don't mix.

    Not to mention that there's very little cultural pluses, so we'll have to see how to best overcome the city expansion issues. I'm sure it's possible, so a few games played and we'll figure it out.
    Overexpansion and polices don't mix.

    The key to keeping a linear progression is to ensure that your average city culture production is 30% of your capital or highest culture city.

    So if your biggest city produces 12 culture, you will want to get each new city up to 4 culture per turn as soon as possible, and you will break even(in the long run). Of course that isn't 100% true, but as a general rule, it should help you keep pace.

    Know when to expand and when not to is going to be one of the hardest things to master. Both happiness and culture are going to being hanging in the balance.

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    now that the game is out, I'll start modifying the first few posts as we get ingame experience.

    can a mod move this to the Strategy section please?

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    I find that Liberty and Piety work well together. Especially when you have a ton of cities. I started as Russia and got liberty for the fast expansion. A while later I went to war and ended up jumping from 10 cities to 35 pretty quickly (about 30 turns). I found that I didn't have near enough happiness. The piety tree helps with that a lot. After going for Piety I was able to annex the cities fairly quickly instead of having double the puppets of normal cities and having it take forever to annex as I slowly built happiness buildings.

    Now after annexing all the cities though, and building court houses. My happiness went from 2 to 63 in the span of 20 turns.

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    Policy Map

    Does anyone know of a link that shows all the policies and their tree's? It would help aid this conversation because at this point I'm not really sure which policies do what. Unfortunatly it's not in the manual.pdf from what I can find.

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    its in there, beyond the credits is a list of all units, resources, buildings, and policies. Kinda misleading that the credits are not the end of the manual but what can ya do

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    Regarding Free Religion:

    The two free policies you get do not increase the cost of the next policy, so
    the trade off you have to think about is whether you want to have the benefit of that extra policy immediately (you get two free policies, but you could have picked one of the instead of picking Free Religion) or whether it is more worthwhile to wait and pick the two extra policies just before you are redy to build the Utopia project. The disadvantage of the latter is that you miss out on the benefits of that extra policy for a long time, specially if you end up not going for a Cultural Victory.

  27. #27
    Awesome read!! Thank you for tips!

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    I have a question, so far based on demo game play...

    If you adopt a policy group (Liberty, Piety, etc), unlock one policy from that group, and then adopt another group (say, the other of Liberty and Piety), I know you still get the bonus from the actual policy you unlocked. Do you still get the base bonus from the first policy group, and can you unlock policies from a group other than the most recently adopted when you next get to unlock a policy?

  29. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by SamBC View Post
    If you adopt a policy group (Liberty, Piety, etc), unlock one policy from that group, and then adopt another group (say, the other of Liberty and Piety), I know you still get the bonus from the actual policy you unlocked. Do you still get the base bonus from the first policy group, and can you unlock policies from a group other than the most recently adopted when you next get to unlock a policy?
    From what I can tell it functions just like the technology tree, once you've adopted a group you can continue down the tree at will. The only exception are the mutually exclusive policies like Piety/Rationality. What I'm not sure of is if you adopt a policy like Rationality after having gone down Piety for a bit can you 're-adopt' Piety at some point and if so does the whole tree open up or do you have to start over?

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    A bit off topic, but I'd like to say this, a quote from George Washington.

    Quote Originally Posted by George Washington
    Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth.
    Does the liberty social policy not reflect what he just said?

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    Quote Originally Posted by WishBear View Post
    I find that Liberty and Piety work well together. Especially when you have a ton of cities. I started as Russia and got liberty for the fast expansion. A while later I went to war and ended up jumping from 10 cities to 35 pretty quickly (about 30 turns). I found that I didn't have near enough happiness. The piety tree helps with that a lot. After going for Piety I was able to annex the cities fairly quickly instead of having double the puppets of normal cities and having it take forever to annex as I slowly built happiness buildings.

    Now after annexing all the cities though, and building court houses. My happiness went from 2 to 63 in the span of 20 turns.
    yeah, throw in Protectionism for +1 happiness/luxury and you've got an easy road if you have most of them.

    I have found that Commerce is the most important Policy group, at least for my style. It's a must have for all games. At least, getting Protectionism (+ happy), Trade Unions (reduced road costs) and Merchantilism (cheaper rush costs) anyways. I rarely have enough production in cities, so it's all gold gold gold.

    though, I've also found that I expand a bit faster than I can overcome the policy costs, so all of the nice Liberty policies end up coming way too late.

    Oh, and I've gotten 30 culture from an Ancient Ruins within 10 turns of the game starting which is basically a free first policy (25 culture cost) and a leg up on the 2nd one. That really changes the tactics since you're now up to 15 turns ahead.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Calouste View Post
    Regarding Free Religion:

    The two free policies you get do not increase the cost of the next policy, so
    the trade off you have to think about is whether you want to have the benefit of that extra policy immediately (you get two free policies, but you could have picked one of the instead of picking Free Religion) or whether it is more worthwhile to wait and pick the two extra policies just before you are redy to build the Utopia project. The disadvantage of the latter is that you miss out on the benefits of that extra policy for a long time, specially if you end up not going for a Cultural Victory.
    I've been playing more culture today, and I've noticed this. Pretty much everything you get for free is actually free. So wonders that give you Great people don't change the cost of the next generated great person. Same for culture policies. (Oracle, etc) More examination is needed I think, but this is on the right track.

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    To unlock the Utopia project you need to set 30 Social policies. That SP lets you unlock 3 for the price of 1. Since there is no penalty running the table to 28 (+2) will take the same total culture. You might as well take it early and have the extra benefit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rrhal View Post
    To unlock the Utopia project you need to set 30 Social policies. That SP lets you unlock 3 for the price of 1. Since there is no penalty running the table to 28 (+2) will take the same total culture. You might as well take it early and have the extra benefit.
    Yes, I realized that later as well. The only reason to put of Free Religion is if you plan to found or capture more cities, as that will put up the cost of additional policies. And you definitely want to use Free Religion before you get Free Speech or Cristo Redentor, both of which lower the costs of future policies.

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    Seems like we're starting to get some good information.

    I'll add a part about the free policies and how they don't affect the cost of normally generated policies. And some other thoughts.

    But that's tomorrow or sunday. For now, back to civ

  36. #36
    Could we have this stickied?

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    What Food?

    Quote Originally Posted by MadDjinn View Post
    This will be a first pass at discussing Social Policies to help us all get a better understanding of which policies are best for which civs and strategies. Some of the Social Policies seem better suited for certain situations, but not for others. Let's try to compile what we know, and as we actually start playing the game, I'll keep the first/second post updated.

    (mods: once a strategy/etc section is open, can you please move this thread there?)

    First policy choice

    So, you're wandering around and just meeting the city states/enemy civs and an advisor pops up telling you that you should pick a Social Policy. This first policy comes fairly early. (dependant on difficulty level - Prince = 25/1 = 25 turns maximum; France gets their first policy in 25/3 turns = 9 maximum) This will be a very important choice, as it will affect your later game choices. Keep in mind that building an early monument (+2 culture) can speed this up; though, you'll need good production to have it matter before the first policy.

    Tradition
    - Best for single city early game. If you aren't expecting to expand or conquer a city until at least 30-50 turns into the game, then this is your best choice. This is primarily a capital/single city based Policy. Extra food, less unhappiness, more wonder production, cheaper land purchasing with a final step of faster growth. Some are ok for more than just the capital, but you won't be expanding much to start.

    Civs that should take Tradition first
    Egypt - Given the faster wonder building SA, pushing your capital up first with tradition means you can get some of the early wonders really fast. (+20%, +33% for wonders)

    India - Less cities = better game. They're tuned for high pop minimal cities, so tradition works well for them.

    Other mentions:
    Persia - Their SA is all about hitting golden ages early and often. With tradition, they can keep the unhappiness down and the culture up so as to fill up the 'happiness bucket' faster. This is more of a preference than a 'should' in Persias case.

    USA - Tradition could be useful for very cheap expansion of the city space via gold purchases. cut a line across an opponents path early and you might not have to worry about them getting in your space early.


    Liberty
    - Best for early expansions or early puppet states. Everything about this policy screams 'expand expand expand'. Three are per city bonuses (prod/culture/happiness) and the others drive faster expansion via cheaper settlers and workers + stored growth for the next city. (Settlers need 2 pop to be produced, so starting with half of that done to start is great)

    Liberty is the only starting policy that has a conflict. It conflicts with Autocracy, which for the most part doesn't matter. If you were headed to that form of playstyle (highly aggressive) you'd be aiming for tradition (early build up) and/or honor (early aggression). So don't sweat it. Basically Liberty is for peaceful expansion, Autocracy is about not so peaceful expansion.

    Civs that should take Liberty first
    Arabia - extra trade per trade route means you need to expand. get a decent road network going and hit up a few new cities and the road cost should be no issue even early with low pop cities.

    France - Extra culture per city means faster everything. kick out a few fast cities and you'll overcome that social policy cost for expanding fairly easily with a few monuments. You also get the policy choice faster so you can time that first settler to occur just after you get this policy.

    Rome - The SA needs you to make more cities for it to be useful. Though, this is the only civ where I'd suggest both Tradition and Liberty. build everything in your cap and then cheaper everywhere else.

    Russia - Russia needs resources. Best way to get them is to expand. extra production and double quantity for strategic resources? yeah, expand expand expand.


    Honor
    - The warriors code. Anyone interested in getting a beefed up militarily should take this policy. First off, knowing where the barbarians are early game is great for amassing gold. After that, cheaper upgrades, extra XP/combat strength, etc it's all a warmonger needs. For now.

    Civs that should take Honor first

    Aztecs - You can speed up your culture production by getting out there and killing things. Much more fun than a stupid monument.

    Germany - The SA is all about finding and getting barbs early and often. Build that mighty barbarian force and go kick someones door in.

    Ottoman Empire - Same as per Germany. Go build a fleet and prep it for upgrades. You also get plenty of extra cash from the barbs as well.

    Songhai - Double gold from barbs is a good thing. Get a nice army going and then start taking out cities for more gold as well.

    Other mentions:

    China - You get faster great generals, so you can get a war machine going earlier. Though, this isn't always important for the chinese really early.


    Basic Strategies

    If you didn't see a civ mentioned up there, then they are not locked into a 'natural' starting strategy. They have SA's that are useful in other situations, or come much later. In these cases, you would follow one of three basic starting strategies.

    Turtling/single city start
    If you're aiming for diplomatic or cultural strategies, then this is for you. Tradition gives you benefits towards your capital and you can play nice with the neighbours. Social Policies get more expensive as you expand, so fewer cities is better for this strategy. The downfall of this strategy will be your lack of resources, or at least very limited access to them.

    Mass Expansion
    Liberty is the way to go for early expansion. You'll capitalize on more resources but you'll also have more area to defend as well as a drop in the rate of getting more social policies. Happiness will also be a problem in the short term, but as you access more and more luxury resources this will be less of a problem.

    Early Aggression
    Honor lets you go after those close city states/enemy civs once you get an army going. City defenses aren't supposed to be that strong, so with these bonuses you'll have a decent shot at taking them. The downfall to that is that you will most likely need to leave them as puppet states until you hit mathematics for the courthouses.
    Maybe it's just me, but when I adopt Tradition, I get NO FOOD in my capitol...

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    Check your capital tile. If it says it has 3 food on that tile, your getting the bonus.

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    Very interesting to see that someone likes Commerce and thinks its a "must have" as its a "never to be used" with my playstyle.

    I'd like to add some of my thoughts:

    1) I totally disaggree you should safe up the 2 free techs. A technical lead is a great benefit for every kind of playstyle and pays out more the earlier you have it. Techs do get more expensive later on but as your science generation also grows I feel like there aren't any mentionable dimishing returns that could make me consider saving the techs up just for this reason.
    Even more important: There are a lot of examples for situations where having a tech before the other civs is a really nice benefit, like being able to finish a wonder because you are the only one who can already build it.

    2) Your thread reads a bit like one should prefer finishing a tree (sry if I got that wrong). Unless you are going for cultural victory I don't see a reason for this and prefer widely spreading my policies to get the best out of almost any tree. There are some policies that are really bad compared to others.
    Ex.: +1 production per city on Liberty (was it Liberty?^^) compared to the +5 per city on Order.

    3) Honour and Authocrazy aren't warmonger trees, they are military trees. They even seem to be much more important to me on games I try to play more peacefully. With a big military based empire I can easily substitute quality with numbers. With a little 3-City-Ghandi every soldier I can finance has to be a freakin' hero or I will simply get overwhealmed by the greedy hordes the AI might throw at me.

    Hope my english doesn't read to funny.

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    all good points. I've been planning on revising the first few posts for some time, but have been playing civ 5 instead

    I still think Commerce is very important no matter what. There's some nice boni in there. But yeah, whole trees aren't all that important. (except for say Liberty as all of the plus/city are at the end of the tree)

    I've gotten by with small militaries and no honour or authority. It's a matter of tactics at that point though, and not letting the enemy get too close.

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