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March 1st, 2009, 09:23
Walp, I think I have Civ IV (Prince) figured out.
And it's kinda… boring. I think I'm dialing back down to Noble and trying to go for some of the more challenging victories instead.
(1) Get an edge in the early game (which, for me, finishes at the early Medieval era). Any one of these will do:
* Found at least three religions (Hinduism -> Judaism -> Christianity -> Islam, or Hinduism -> Confucianism -> Taoism -> Islam)
* Fight at most one series of short, victorious wars that nets you some of your neighbor's juicier cities, but ONLY IF you also have cultural dominance — otherwise they'll just rebel and be a constant PITA.
* Grab more land than your rivals, by building settlers early and often, the budget be damned. (Caste System with lots of Merchants helps for this one.)
(2) Once well in the Medieval era, NO MORE WARS. Not against any way serious opponents anyway; if you're lucky enough to have a couple of tech levels advantage over a smaller neighbor, by all means annihilate it, but if that happens, it's a fluke.
By this time, wars are a lot more grueling and last longer, and because of the cultural strength of your rivals there's not all that much to be gained. However, you *will* fall permanently behind in research, which means you're FUBARed no matter which victory you try for. So, at this point, build enough military to be able to deter invasions, but no more. If invaded anyway, repel it quickly and, if necessary, buy off your invader with tech or even a city (if you can spare them).
(3) The rest of the game is essentially research, research, research. You have a choice of shooting for a Cultural Victory or a Space Victory; pick one and beeline it. If you're lucky, you'll win; if not, someone else will get there first. (If Gandhi/India is in play and you're not him, go for Space Victory because he's brutal in Culture; otherwise either is a possibility.) If you have about 10-12 cities and are not too far behind in tech by mid-Medieval era, either one is doable.
This works, repeatably although certainly not every time. And, as stated, it's really kinda boring — all the real action is in the early game, and most of the play-time is basically just adjusting your specialists, building improvements, and picking techs to research. The real kicker is that mid- to late-game wars are a lose-lose proposition, which is not that much fun. So I'm going back to Noble.
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