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Good UB – Bad UB #11: Unique Buildings

March 5, 2010 Leave a comment

Finale

Finalizing the “Good UB – Bad UB” series with those unique buildings that have some effect, but either no real scenario to use them or other drawbacks that make another pick better for a specific strategy. Some have potential uses in very specific scenarios, but aren´t the best option for those strategies. It´s interesting to know though what you can do with them if you get their civ shuffled to you in a random civ/leader ffa game for example.

Madrassa

Unique building for the Arabian; Replaces Library
+25% science; +4 culture; Can turn 2 citizens into priests and 2 into scientists;
Required to build University, National Epic, Great Library
Available for free on Modern and later starts

The Madrasa is a library that gives a city +4 culture instead of +2 culture and that let´s you work 2 additional Prophet to the usual two potential Scientist Specialists. I can think of two ways of using this, each in a different setup.

In an ancient 5v5 teamer where you get a civ shuffled to you randomly (probably the most played setup in common day-to-day multiplayer games), you can use the Madrasa as a small culture bomb in a front city – it´s probably only worth it, if you´re creative and thus get it build much cheaper.

In an Ironman/ffa game a Madrasa could support a GP economy, making it possible to work Scientist and Prophet specialists easily and early. If you get Arabia in an ffa game shuffled to you – especially if you additionally are Philosophical – the way to go is the GP eco. If you can pick freely, you can probably pull this kind of strategy with a different pick just as good or even better. Egypt with its Obelisk comes to mind…

Read more…

Good UB – Bad UB #10: Unique Buildings – Sea Special

February 11, 2010 5 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 a 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.

This edition is all about sea related buildings. Those suck, if there is no or few sea, obviously – so there is no point in judging them for land based setups. Instead I´ll try to come up with scenarios where they could be of use.

Cothon

Unique building for Carthage; Replaces Harbor
Can only be built in a coastal city; requires Optics
+1 trade route; +50% commerce from trade routes
+1 health from Fish, Crab, Clams

The Cothon is a harbour that additionaly provides the city that built it with one more trade route. It does half of what the Great Lighthouse does,  if you get it into every coast city of your empire. In any game where you cannot profit massively from additional trade routes picking for the Cothon is not an option. In order to profit from Trade Routes you need most of your cities being planted next to sea, you need quite a few cities overall and you require the possibility to trade with other civs. Consequently in any game played on “always war” hence no diplomacy (and with it no open borders for trade routes) you won´t profit from picking Cathage (unless it´s a teamer Ironman).

The main way of trying to use and abuse the Cothon is a game on Archipelago or a similar map in a Single Player or ffa game where any city is a coast city and getting the more profitable intercontinental trade routes comes automatically. Build the Great Lighthouse and the Cothon, negotiate open borders with any opponent you scouted quickly with Caravels and watch the output from Trade Routes play a more significant role in your overall GNP than ever before. Read more…

Good UB – Bad UB #9: Unique Buildings in civilization multiplayer

January 21, 2010 Leave a comment

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 a 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.

Bad

Apothecary

Unique building for Persia; Replaces Grocer
+2 health
+1 health from Banana, Spices, Sugar, and Wine
+25% gold
Can turn 2 citizens into Merchants

Garden

Unique building for Babylon; Replaces Colosseum
+1
+2 health
+1 per 20% culture rate

Both the Apothecary and the Garden provide an additional +2 health, one being a Colosseum, the other a Grocer. The only use for Colloseums/Grocers is in longer games like Ironman and even there those two are very low priority and mostly get only build in a few cities if at all. Health on the other hand isn´t too hard to come by, especially in longer games where you expand vastly (or lose).

Good

Dike

Unique building for the Dutch; Replaces Levee
+1 hammer on the city’s river and water tiles
Can only be built in a coastal or riverside city

The Dike is is a levee that additionally provides water tiles with 1 hammer. Also you can build it into any coast city, not just cities next to a river. not just the  It´s a great building that finds its uses on many different settings. Any setup that involves Space Race and water can make good use of it. With Golden Age you can have tiles that otherwise wouldn´t be doing any production give you 2 hammers per turn. On maps like Archipelago or Islands the production coming from dikes can be a big portion of the overall production of an empire, giving the Dutch player a significant advantage over a non-Dutch in the later parts of the game, be that for Space Race or for producing units.

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
For Good UB – Bad UB part #7 click here
For Good UB – Bad UB part #8 click here

Good UB – Bad UB #8: Unique Buildings in civilization multiplayer

January 8, 2010 4 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 a 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.

Bad

Dun

Unique building for Celts; Replaces Walls
+50% defense (except vs. gunpowder-based units)
-50% damage from bombard (except from Gunpowder units)
Required to build Castle
Free Guerilla I promotion for land units

The Dun are walls that additionally provide land units with a Guerilla I promotion. At first look this sounds pretty interesting, but there are aspects about it that limit the uses for this building a lot. The first is the fact that you are already Celtics, having a Guerilla I promotion on your Swordsman anyway – meaning the only other units in an ancient game where the promotion makes sense and is applicable is the archer. Since the Dun requires Masonry to be researched (which is in most ancient games very low priority) AND has to be build first, your double-hill archer come pretty late to do any damage with their additional ability in the early parts of the game, where this could still be possible. So for sending out early archers the cost of getting two buildings (barracks, Dun) and a low-priority technology is too high to make that effective. You´ll rather be sending out Swords anyway – and not build the Dun and not research Masonry very early. Read more…

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.

Bad

Obelisk

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.

Good

Odeon

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

Good UB – Bad UB #6: Unique Buildings in civilization multiplayer

December 11, 2009 Leave a comment

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.

Bad

Assembly Plant
Unique building for Germany; Replaces Factory
+1 unhealthiness; +2 unhealthiness from Oil and Coal
Can turn 4 citizens into Engineers
+25% hammer (+50% hammer with Power)
+50% hammer with Coal

The Assembly Plant is a factory that receives a 50% production bonus from coal and that lets a player work four Engineer specialists instead of two. The main reason to want to be able to work Engineers is the wish of getting a Great Engineer which can be used in order to build one of the corporations Mining Inc. / Creative Constructions. Those are gone in any slightly competetive game once Assembly Line, the prerequisite for Factories, is researched. In any case you cannot research Assembly Line and only then go for the corporations if you want to have a chance of getting them.

It is very rarely a good idea (or sign of a not optimal buildup) to work additional engineer specialists instead of tiles if the goal is increasing production of a city. Those very few instances don´t justify picking for the Assembly Plant.

Finally there is the additional +50% hammer with Coal. At the point in a game where you build factories, city production is already high and numerous other bonuses are available. In an Ironman you have the forge, you have an additional hammer from Universal Suffrage on your towns, potential levees, maybe a Golden Age increasing all those hammers from towns by 100% from 1 to 2 (a Golden Age at this point is very common in an Ironman), railrods on mines, corporations, you might even be Organized (double production for factories) etc. In a modern or future start game, you run a workshop economy anyway, having vast production with Caste System and State Property – so a factory is done in a turn or two anyway, not mentioning that in such a scenario you even have the option of putting a chop into it as well.

In any case, the additional 50% hammer with coal doesn´t do much, at best safe you a few turns in an Ironman like game (2-3 might already be optimistic). Such a gain is meaningless seeing how late this building occurs in the game.

Good

Mausoleum
Unique building for the Indians; Replaces Jail
+4 Espionage; +50% Espionage
+2
-25% War
Can turn 2 citizens into spy

Hammam

Unique building for Ottomans; Replaces Aqueduct
+2 health
+2

Ball Court
Unique building for the Maya; Replaces Colosseum
+3
+1 per 20% culture rate

These are a colloseum, an aqueduct and a jail that additionaly to what they usually do provide an extra +2 . This makes their three civs belong to the absolute top of picks in an Ironman / ffa game (click here for an article on game types in civ multiplayer). The reason being that while running a Cottage Economy (which is basically always, though not necessary solely)  and in later game changing to civics “Universal Suffrage” + “Free Speech” + “Emancipation” etc. confronts you with a happines cap (max amount of population you can have till you get unhappy citizens) that is the main limiting factor of how big your cities can become. Those three buildings increase that cap by two, resulting in 20 or so cities being able to grow two population further each – that´s a lot of additional production, commerce and points.

The main differences between the three lie in the nature of the buildings they are replacing – though the main argument for which you pick in an Ironman rather being the starting techs of the civ and additionaly which Unique Unit they provide.

The Mausoleum (jail) comes rather late and is not a must have in every city, but in another way of argumenting you get +2 and potentially some advantage on spy points you´d otherwise not have seem worth getting for the needed investment.

The Ball Court requires Construction, which in many (most…) Ironman games is a technology with low priority you avoid for a very long time and start to want only if you have to defend against an attack and require catapults or finally want to attack your opponent, sometimes never. Since Ironman games though are in their nature games where you most of the time have to build up your empire first (till around guilds the first big attack waves come), you don´t want to tech Construction too soon. Not a big argument against the Ball Court, but plays a role more often then you´d think.

The Hammam is an aqueduct which you get with Mathematics, which is very high priority. Aqueducts you build anyway and together with their usual +2 health make the Hammam crawl up in the build order even a little bit more. They come early (though aren´t required necessarily too early), come with a must have technology  and the building they replace is a must build in Ironman anyway.

Overall Ottomans have great starting techs (and Janissary are nice, too in Ironman), India has the Fast Worker and Maya the Holkan for being safe early against an opponent sending a couple of chariots. For a long game of civ without a city elimination with lots of buildup it probably goes 1. India 2. Ottomans 3. Maya. Besides that there aren´t many other civilizations that can compete with those three as picks in such a scenario.

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

Good UB – Bad UB #5: Unique Buildings in civilization multiplayer

November 30, 2009 Leave a comment

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.

Bad

Pavilion
Unique building for the Chinese; Replaces Theatre
+3 culture
+25% culture
+1 per 10% culture rate
Can turn 2 citizens into artists
+1 from dye
Stele
Unique building for the Ethiopian; Replaces Monument
+1 culture
+25% culture
+1 for Charismatic leaders
Obsolete with Astronomy

Both the Stele and the Pavillon provide a bonus of +25% culture. The first argument against this building in multiplayer is that cultural victory is only in very rare circumstances an option (sometimes in an Ironman or on very specific, only once in a CCC or so played settings in the Special Event there). The second and main is that there any many other civs that provide you with a bonus that is more important in order to win by getting those three legendary culture cities. One of many examples would be a building that provides an additional +2 letting you having a GreatPerson-city grow higher to pump out those additinal Great Artist you need for the culture victory.

In any case there is no use for those two unique buildings outside a game where you know from the start that you want to achieve a culture victory and even there – as said and without having done the math for all possible situations – it probably wouldn´t save you many turns (a city full with wonders that bring a lot of culture might get a little faster to legendary status) anyway since most of the culture comes from Great Artists.

Never of any use in multiplayer. Not entirely sure about something like a Solo Game or a game on Islands in single player where you just want to get three cities to legendary culture as fast as possible – but what kind of settings would that be ?!

Good

Rathaus
Unique building for Holy Roman Empire; Replaces Courthouse
+2 Espionage
-75% maintenance
Can turn 1 citizen into Spy
Required to build Forbidden Palace
Available for free on modern and later starts

Ikhanda
Unique building for the Zulus; Replaces Barracks
-20% maintenance
+2 with Nationhood
+3 EXP for new land units
Required to build Heroic Epic

Both the Ikhanda and the Rathaus reduce maintenance cost, one by 20%, the other by 25%. That´s a gain of 50% / 40% on an opponent without those buildings. This is a huge advantage which has to always be reflected on the actual, absolute maintenance costs during a game on specific settings. In a game where you build four cities till mid-game and mabye an overall of 6-8 late game, while not being able to solely focus on research (for example a teamer 3v3 Renaissance) maintenance costs in relation to overall GNP are much more negligible then for example in an Ironman, where having 20 and many more cities at some point is normal procedure. The other big factor is the difficulty the game is played on. the higher that is, the bigger the maintenance costs get, while the overall GNP stays the same. Already on Noble in an Ironman, but especially above on Monarch etc. maintenance costs play a significant role. Being able to have 50% / 40% less maintenance cost then your opponent can mean a huge difference in saved commerce.

As a last note I´d like to point out that the Ikhanda is more expensive then normal barracks. The difference is rather insignificant for normal game play though (on fast game speed 40hammer to 33hammer).

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