Posts Tagged ‘ancient’

Good UB – Bad UB #7: Unique Buildings in civilization multiplayer

December 22, 2009 10 comments

There are no just good or just bad unique buildings

Even though the title suggests different, there are basically no just good or just bad unique buildings (and units). Every UB and UU has to be evaluated in the context of the game settings and overall strategy it´s supposed to be used in. A (fictional) unique unit archer that gets +100% against melee units is useless in an game played on Islands, where you have no (military) contact with your opponents until Astronomy is researched and archers are long obsolete. A unique building is good if it significantly supports a (playable) strategy.



Unique building for Egypt; Replaces Monument
+1 culture
+1 for Charismatic leaders
Can turn 2 citizens into priests

The Obelisk is a Monument that additionaly allows you to work up to two Prophet specialists in a city. First of all there is very little use for Prophets in Multiplayer outside of Ironman/ffa games. There there are a couple of uses for them like founding a Religion’s holy building in a Holy City or attaching them to a city for additional production and gold, especially early on. Getting wonders like Stonehenge, Oracle and especially Artemis Temple for those Prophets is kind of a possible strategy – or better named – an answer to certain situations the map generator sometimes throws you into in an Ironman like game. Probably more on this from Shizanu some time soon…  Unlike in certain setups in Single Player it´s not a good idea to spend a Great Prophet on bulbing for example Theocracy in Multiplayer.

The main aspect though isn´t even so much whether Prophets are useable in a good way or not, but the fact that in a long game that´s all about research, you want to get a scientist for an academy first and probably another couple of those to settle in your capital afterwards. What the Obelisk could do best is getting you a Prophet earlier then anyone else can – you don´t want a Prophet that early though and even if you did, you´d rather do it via Stonehenge/Artemis/Oracle + Temple.

So in a long term game you don´t want Prophets as early as a monument which the Obelisk´s ablity could do (especially you also don´t want to invest into getting that Prophet that early) – and even if you did, working one Prophet takes a Philosophical leader twelve turns to pop the Great Prophet, that´s pretty long, it´s 24 turns for a non-Philosophical already. Egypt is picked mostly for its Warchariots (read about those here) in ancient, classical and sometimes even medieval start games. There its task is getting as many warchariots as soon as possible, not spamming GPs which can´t even bulb important technologies. There is little synergy between strategies that involve warchariots and those that involve breeding specific GPs like Prophets which rather have a long term effect no matter what used for.

Two rather subtle aspects are the main positive uses for egypt´s Obelisk. If you get it in a random leader long-term game like an Ironman, you´ll be able to later on in the game when having a surplus of food work next to scientists and the one engineer from forge, also Prophet(s). Overall that gives you slightly more options and in the course of a 200 turns game diversifies your GP pool in so much that you get more different GPs for Golden Ages. The other aspect being a point race in an ancient or classical start, where egypt can – if it realizes in time – get a prophet or even two for Golden Age(s) or bulbing a technology, both in order to gain more points.



Unique building for the Greek; Replaces Colosseum
+3 culture
+2 ; +1 from Hit Singles; +1 per 20% culture rate
Can turn 2 citizens into artist

The Odeon is a Colosseum that provides you with an additional happiness (good in long term games just like the Hammam, the Ball Court and the Mausoleum) and also lets you work two artists at a point in the game where no other civilization can do that by any means. Only Greece can get an artist for a culture bomb (read about culture bombs here under “D.” ) in ancient, classical and early medieval at all. Due to the fact that this requires putting one city aside for a considerable amount of time and building the Colosseum into it before that (and having researched Construction for the Colosseum) this is not always a good thing to invest into – but it can well be. The longer the (ancient/classical) game, the higher the probability that the investment is worth it. Main reason why Greece isn´t a “high pick” on those eras is that the Odeon cannot be put to great use everytime since even an artist is not able to make you catch up if the game has been going bad the first half – and in that first half other civs shine more. Still an option and especially in random civ/leader games a fine thing to get if you know how to put it to use efficiently.

For Good UB – Bad UB part #1 click here
For Good UB – Bad UB part #2 click here
For Good UB – Bad UB part #3 click here
For Good UB – Bad UB part #4 click here
For Good UB – Bad UB part #5 click here
For Good UB – Bad UB part #6 click here


Anti-Choke: Dealing with warriors and archers in Ancient

November 20, 2009 1 comment

Reason for sending warriors/archers

During the early stages of an ancient start game, especially during a teamer warriors and archers are send to the opponent in order to slow down his build-up (= “choke”) or sometimes steal worker or even kill him. Of course the warriors and archers can be followed up by chariots, axes and more. If metal isn´t hooked till then, it´s not necessarily game over, but it´s probably looking grim. I´ll try to focus on how to deal with the first couple of units you get early into your land in a 1 vs 1 situation.


The defending player has one worker and warrior each. He cannot hook his corn without at least another unit, preferably an archer if he does not want to give the player who send a warrior to him odds around 50% on winning the game or at least stealing the worker.

What you are trying to achieve when warriors/archers are in your land

Playing well with a couple of units in your land that block off some tiles or form a bigger choke is one of the greater challenges in multiplayer civilization. Your goal is to try to keep up in build-up in relation to your opponent who send or is sending you those units. Remember he spend early hammers on building them, so you probably have a small build-up advantage at first which he is trying to overturn in his favour with slowing you down while not being slowed by any units himself since your are busy dealing with his stuff in your land.

Overall you first don´t want to invest more hammers into getting rid of opposing units then the opponent invested to build them. Killing a chariot with 2 archers, losing one, is a gain of 4 hammers. Second you don´t want to get slowed down in setting up your empire (hooking ressources, expanding …)

1. The first warrior
First thing you need to consider is a potential warriorstart of the opposing team. As long as the starting technologies of one civilization on the other team include Hunting, it´s a scoutstart.
List of civilizations that have Hunting as a starting technology:

  • Ethiopia
  • Aztec
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Holy Rome
  • Celtics
  • Khmer
  • Mongolia
  • Persia
  • Russia
  • Vikings
  • Zulu

I recommend printing or writing a list of those if you play ancient start on Team_Battleground regularly or plan on doing so – here is my old one, which by now I don´t need anymore 😉

If you are facing a warriorstart and you yourself start with a scout – you are behind turn 0. Warriorstart vs. Scoutstart is one of the most unbalancing factors in an ancient start teamer game. In that case get some units early, don`t go worker first unless you know what you are doing ;). Try not to let the other team build up without any opposing unis in their land after just having send their 5 initial warriors. Even if you get choked or slowed down, try to send at least a unit or two to do the most basic choking job. Especially the first unit you send counts – see also the above picture for an exemplary reason for that. One unit send means opponent having two build at least two units to be able to work his land freely.

2. Determining what will be thrown at you
Scout your opponent, especially the fatcross (=the 20 tiles a city could potentially work) of the capital.

  • Did he plant his capital on a tile (plains hill, plains marble/stone elephant) giving him 2 hammer instead of 1 ?
  • Does he have a 3-hammer-tile to work ?
  • Is he Expansive, is he Aggressive ?
  • Does he have a civ with an early ancient unique unit ?
  • What are his habits (knowing his playing style required here) ?

All those are factors that can help you predict or at least take into consideration what your opponent will do, helping you to plan better what you yourself  should be doing. An expansive leader with a 2 hammer plant (and a 2 hammer tile to work) will almost always build a worker first. An aggressive leader with a 2 hammer plant and a 3 hammer tile to work will most probably send you one or two 2-turn warriors first, before starting production of his first worker. Another indicator might be the unique uint available to your opponent. IF he is Inca, he will try sending Quechuas early, if he is Mali, he will probably not send more then one warrior, if that at all and instead get a worker and only then spam out skirmishers. If someone is Maya or Natives, he might save money from turn 0n and upgrade his first warrior to a Holkan/Dog Soldier.

While no factor alone can provide you wiht certain information by itself, with some experience you start making better and better predictions about your opponent´s behaviour.

3. Don´t die to a warrior
Whatever you do, whether you go worker first, whether you send out your first and maybe even second warrior, keep in mind your own safety. It is solely a question of skill (with the very, very rare exceptions from the rule) whether you die to a warrior or not.


  • How long would you need to build a warrior in case of emergency ?
  • In an ancient start Team_Battleground 5v5, are you on the 3-people or 2-people-side ? If the first, front or middle ?
  • Does the opposing team have a warrior or scout start ?
  • In what way can a warrior move in on you – what´s the minimum amount of turns you will spot it before.

I recommend the article on vision range at this point. There are three basic situations in regard to how many turns of warning you have on an approaching warrior, namely one, two or three unless you have spotted the unit before for example with your initial scout or a warrior you build and send out yourself.

In most games you know turn 0 towards which direction the front is (where the opponent can come from). Check what can happen. How many turns warning will you have in worst case scenario ? Do you have a cornre, which would unguarded give you only 1 turn warning ? Maybe send the scout up there as a sentry. If you feel your land provides you with less then 3 turns warning, preproduce a wrarior for one turn – put enough hammers into it, so that you can finish it in 2 turns if needed and only then build your worker. Don´t just blindly go worker first. Also don´t just blindly send away your own warriors not keeping in mind possible ways your opponent might move in on you. Especially if you don´t have hundreds of games of experience, better be safe then sorry (earning you a place in the Hall of Shame of the league 😉 ).

A pretty high level trick (that requires some practice and experience) is to keep the mouse over a warrior in city production screen while the end of the turn approaches, changing the production to a warrior at last second in case an opposing warrior suddenly appears, effectively giving you one more turn of production. Of course for that you cannot go into the city to change produciton, but keep the city bar clicked.

Keeping the city bar open with the mouse over a warrior in order to respond faster to a suddenly appearing unit.

4. Blocking off tiles
In many games you will get warriors and archers into your land. Don´t panic – so far your opponent put early production into building those units, while you potentially made a worker. You are ahead for the time being. The goal is to keep that advantage or not lose too much of it.

Don´t take unnecessary risks by hitting his units with odds of 50 or 60 percent – when a loss results in you being slowed down a lot. Focus on getting your workers to work. Block of tiles so that you can work a food or especially chop a forest, while the opponent has to move around your city + a unit standing next to it in order to be able to hit the tile where the worker is standing on. Build up normally, just spread a couple of archers into your build order. Don´t try to control everything, focus on hooking one food, on being able to consistently chop and on getting metal. Opposing archers and warriors will have a very hard time trying to hit out your archers from forests, especially when you get more units to cover consistently,while his support routes are much longer.

If possible, don´t let the opponent sit on strategic spots. Hill metal is akey target here, another one being forested hills. The last one you cannot always prevent though and on average 2 axes should be able to clear out an archer there.

Most important, try not getting slowed down too much – just get those additional units in order to move and work with your workers and protect a settler for a second city for metal. If your opponent build a couple of warroirs and archers very early and you build a couple more then him, but a little later in the game, the buildup situation should be about the same. Remember that it´s better to manoveur around those units then taking unnecessary risks – though sometimes the situation can be so, that you have no other choice. For example, when the opponent has metal in his capital´s fatcross and will follow those warriors and archers up with axes soon.

5. Odds
When playing under choke, you need to know what you on average require in order to kill a unit sitting in your land on which you probably have bad odds with your first hit.

As a rule of thumb, having around 10% twice should take care of a unit. Meaning if your first archer has 9.9% on an opposing archer, two identical archers should take care of the situation. Don´t count on killing with less then those ~10% twice unless in special circumstances.

In general, try taking advantage of situations where your opponent gives you “good” odds while moving around your land. If he for some reasons moves on a flat tile for example, giving you 40 or 50 percent already with the first unit (example 2 archer vs a protective archer, 2 warrior vs an aggressive warrior etc.) – consider the situation, but in many situations it might be better taking a little risk here, then letting him slow you down more turns until you can hook metal and take a “sure” kill.