Civ 4 City Maintenance @ High Difficulty

My cultural victory path, for what it’s worth:

6 Cities, established in this order:
Capitol (Culture City I)
Food city (heavy population production)
Military City (needs strong production)
Culture City II (needs reasonable production)
Culture City III (needs reasonable production)
Money City (along river, lots and lots of villages for cash)

The three Culture cities should be building essentially only culture related improvements.

The Military City should get barracks then all units. Occasionally, veer off to put in a Heroic Epic or Forge or whatnot, but 95% of the time this city should be making nothing but military units. My rule is 5 defenders in a city (2x Archer, 2x Axemen, 1x Spearman) and then mounted units stationed around to harass the enemy and quickly eliminate threats like catapults.

The Food city is your Great Person factory.

The money City is to keep upkeep from breaking your back.

Early game:
Research as many religions as possible. While you don’t have any, build wonders like Stonehenge in your Culture Cities. Your Food City should erect a temple ASAP and assign one person to being a priest so you can get a Great Profit. You shouldn’t have any trouble finding a square that isn’t really contributing to turn him into a specialist at population 6.

Additionally, your Food City should make the settlers for the last four cities and almost all your workers. If there is a real juicy bonus square near your capital you can build a worker from home, but your food city will be really good at this and have little else to do.

As mentioned above, your Military city should build a barracks then crank out Archers, Axemen, Spearmen and Horsie Archers.

Your Money City should try to get one specialist that’s an economy guy (Can’t remember the name, sorry) to get Great Economists. Always use your economist guys to do the foreign trade route option. On a “standard” size world I trade those dudes in for 2,500 gold minimum when going half-way around the world (takes like 9-12 turns) and 2500 gold will essentially upgrade all of a unit type to it’s next tier, which is invaluable. Other then that, your money city needs to build hamlets and make tons of cashes. It should get all the science and money improvements to maximize it’s money-ness.

Once your food city starts cranking out the artists, go add them to the culture city who is farthest behind the culture race. I’d add them until I got to about 3,500 culture points, then just start +4000 bombing in those cities. Just a general rule, though, so go with your judgement instead.

I’ve found this strategy to be really strong on Monarch provided you can make buddy-buddy like with neighbors. I usually get in one or two wars, but mostly I adopt whatever State Religion that improves relationship with my closest or most dangerous neighbors and commence with as much trade as possible. I always open my borders practically on sight.

Chris Woods

I’m having a great time playing on relatively lower difficulty levels and trying for different victory conditions. I won the space race a couple times, was voted king of the world by the UN once, and won a cultural victory one (that one was a lot of fun, though my civ score was lowest of all there. I took over four cities just by culture. The just gave up, rebelled, and joined me.).

I’m now working on one where I’m a bit more militaristic. I don’t think I’ll wipe out the world, but I might get the population/land mass victory. Certainly if I don’t, I’ll win by score at 2050. Already took over about 4 french cities with Redcoats (against their horse archers and stuff), and so 3/4 of the continent is mine. Tokugawa is next on my list, but he’s doing much better than Napolean was so I gotta build up a fleet of Tanks first.

My one complaint so far, outside of a few small technical bugs (I haven’t been having the problems noted in the other tread), is that I can’t pick an ending year when I’m setting up a game. I can pick “epic” game length, but that also makes all the research and building and stuff take longer. I want to play the normal game, just set it to end at 2100AD or something.

Critical point-- a mistake I made at first. Open borders does NOT let them park outside your cities-- I routinely turned down my neighbors on this, to my cost.

If either civ in the open borders declares war, all units are teleported back to their territory first. So it’s perfectly safe to do this.

I recommend 6-8 cities. Certainly it’s possible with fewer, but otherwise you have problems figuring out where to put national wonders and their pre-requisites. With too few cities, you also run into problems with strategic resources. Plus, it’s extremely useful to have a dedicated food city, which usually suffers from weak production output.

  • Alan

Well, not perfectly safe–you are giving them free intel, and “teleported back to your borders” still leaves them poised for invasion (though they can do that anyway). But it’s not like they can roll an attacking force up to a city and then just declare war and attack it.


That’s your problem right there. City cost is now based on number of cities, it’s got nothing to do with your city improvements. You have 9 cities with cruddy economies.

You know, the thing I liked about Civ I and II was the “rampant expansionism”. I loved taking over the world. One of the things I didn’t like about Civ III was its corruption and the attempt made by the designers to make me play their way, not how I wanted to play.

I dunno, you can still get plenty big, you just can’t do the garbage ICS strategy of spawning an endless number of cities with no economy to cover the earth. I’m pretty sure taking over the world still works just fine.

The problem with the previous civs is that the rest of us who didn’t like the aforementioned ICS were forced to play that way to be viable.[/quote]

Except of course, in Civ3, ICS to my mind was mostly required to make sure you got the resources you needed. One of my gripes with 3 was that they hamstrung you with major corruption to prevent big empires then made special rare resources valuable and thus an incentive to go to war and often times those resources were across the world, on another continent.

I really don’t like the idea of six city civs. That just makes for a dull game. I just played one on Emperor, lost by about 10 turns in the space race, i.e. quite badly. At least I never got invaded. My neighbor Napoleon won and had around nine or ten cities, I think.

You could make sloppy big empires in Alpha Centauri since corruption only affected energy production, not shields. So there was a clear trade-off but it wasn’t impossible by design. You could also make up for some of the lost energy and research production with specialists

Civ 3 made it impossible to be so big because corruption reduced both energy and shields; after a certain point, additional cities were completely unproductive in every way.

So far i’ve found that i don’t have enough space to make large empires. I mean physically, just not enough space. Also the game seems much faster and smaller scale then previous versions that i’ve played. Even on the TERRA map i’ve only enough room for two or three cities between coasts in most places.

Well, not perfectly safe–you are giving them free intel, and “teleported back to your borders” still leaves them poised for invasion (though they can do that anyway). But it’s not like they can roll an attacking force up to a city and then just declare war and attack it.[/quote]

And that does happen, a lot. Especially on small maps or that damned Ice Age one on default settings, where everyone is crammed together. I love the border concept in Civ IV, but man is it tough to manage. Turn down rivals and they often feel hemmed in. Open up and they scout you and prey on weaknesses. I love this, though, because it means you have to judge each nation based on leader tendencies, and adapt your playing style, at least somewhat, to whomever you happen to wind up closest to.

As an aside, never trust that fucking Catherine the Great. She’s boned me but good in three games this week.

Back to the original topic – I love the smaller number of cities. Makes the game more manageable, and seem more realistic. Allows you to specialize and streamline management tasks. I usually wind up with 6-10 cities.

I disagree with Matt about the dullness of playing very small empires. I think that it would have been dull in past civ games, but all the different city improvement stuff they added makes even small-scale empires interesting to manage, and games where you have fewer cities tend to have a brisker pace. It’s not the only way I’d like to play or anything, but it’s nice to have the option.

Or, er, as I like to call her, Catherine the So-So.

I really don’t like the idea of six city civs. That just makes for a dull game.

Dull game? You’re telling us Civ4 is dull? I guess the only thing I can counter with is this: Civ4 is fun.


Which is the highest level where the player and AI are on equal footing?


Or, er, as I like to call her, Catherine the So-So.[/quote]
Someone should make that as a mod.
(Clone High, that is, not just change the name)

I believe that’s the Noble level.

Well, actually what I’m saying is that when I’m stewarding an empire, I like for it to be an empire and not a neighborhood.

I like to think that Napoleon could rise to invade Egypt and become emperor of France after conquering Italy, not immediately drive his country into bankruptcy after taking Milan.

I like “Allow Conquest Victory” to be an actual option, and not just a superfluous checkbox.

And while I suppose it’s possible at the higher difficulty levels, I imagine that it will be extremely rare for games not to end via Space Race victories. They’ll just be too short (the winner launched in 1954 in my failed game) and too demanding on your science/gold sliders for a Cultural and there’ll be too much trade-based squabbling for a Diplomatic.

I suppose what I should have said, and what I meant, is that six city civs make for a dull game of Civ 4. Because you’re channeled into a very specific strategy with no margins. It even limits your choice of leaders.

There’s no tradeoff for even a moderate amount of early expansion-- it’s just outright a losing strategy. Even building a city that doesn’t overlap your capital’s fat cross is a fairly bad idea. This makes Genghis a very sad Khan.

Damn, that sounds depressing, Matthew. That’s exactly what I didn’t want to hear. If my copy wasn’t already in the post I’d probably cancel my order based on that description. I don’t want to play Civ with only one strategic choice. In Civ I and II the playing of a “one city civ” or “one island civ” was a challenge and a choice, not something that the game design forced on me.

I know many people like guiding a small, relatively peaceful and easily manageable civilization into space, but I want to screw space travel and rule the world goddammit!

I’m hoping that either someone will discover how world domination strategies are possible, or the devs will patch the game to actually make it possible.

Bear in mind two things:

  1. The game has been out for a week and a half.

  2. He’s playing on Emperor difficulty. That’s three settings above the default difficulty of Noble (it goes Settler, Chieftain, Warlord, Noble, Prince, Monarch, Emperor, Immortal, and Deity).

On balance, I guess my answer to “I can’t conquer the world on a high difficulty setting after a week and a half of play” is “good!”

Don’t worry Tim, Matthew is throughly misrepresenting Civ4.

The thing is, you CAN exapnd quickly if you want to. It’s a viable strategy. However, slow, measured expansion works as well and has different benefits.

In civ3 and all previous, rapid expansion was the ONLY strategy. Now that is no longer the case, it is possible to grow your civ in several different ways.

World conquest is perfectly viable in Civ4. it’s just no longer the 100% obvious win-win strategy. It also is more challenging, and requires more planning and thought than previous civ iterations.

All in all, I would say, and those who have played extensively would likely agree, that there is much MORE to Civ4 than previous civs in terms of viable strategies.

On Emperor or higher? Send me your save game. I’m willing to believe it’s just highly improbable, but I’d like to see it done.