Civilization IV: Complete advice

Cool. The wife gave me Civ IV Complete for Christmas. So I have been playing Civ IV plain vanilla for about a year and a half now. It is basically the only PC game I play.

So now I have Warlords, Beyond the Sword, and Colonization to play. So I’m asking those who are familiar with the expansions for some advice on what’s really fun about the expansions. What to watch out for, basic advice, etc. What not to waste time with. What aspects of the expansions you really enjoy, etc.

Just general discussion for the expansions I guess. Thanks.

I havn’t played the expansions yet, but my play style is typically drawn out. I like to start ancient and go marathon sessions in the “huge” globe. I also love reading the tidbits and playing with different civs to learn stuff. I’ll play to the end even if it means coming in last place or getting wiped out. So a typical game for me may last several weeks.

Warlords wasn’t that great an expansion, in my opinion, and all the important stuff was in with Beyond the Sword. There were several Civ changes, so read carefully when picking one. The marathon games will get even longer as there is more balance unit-wise in the modern era and additional turns. The tech tree has also expanded.

I no longer play vanilla Civ IV. I’ve found that the additions to the game by the expansion is a net positive, though there are some aspects I don’t really care for. The restrictions on what it takes to build an army for example. And I’ve never liked that a tie in building a Wonder goes to the computer.

I think you will find that Warlords will not change the game that much. It’s very similar to Civ IV Vanilla, though the Great Generals are an interesting concept.

Beyond the Sword, however, adds some very unique things, and will change your gaming experience. If I were you, I’d play at most one or two games in Warlords, then jump to the BtS expansion. You should note, btw, that if you patch up BtS fully, you no longer have to have the CD in the drive to run the game. :smiley:

Actually, I’ve always felt that it was a cheat that you could build your wonder to finish over the same interim as the computer and yours got done “first”, given that all the computer turns are happening in the same turn as your PRIOR actions, and your builds are coming in the NEXT turn after the AI civs do their thing. :smack:

Colonization may as well be a different game entirely. Keep in mind that it is a total conversion mod.

That being said, Beyond the Sword is a very solid expansion. Some of the included scenarios let you turn the game into a Civ in Space type game, a full-on recreation of WW2, an RPG type futuristic mech game, etc. You’re going to sink a lot of time into this.

Beyond the Sword is the only expansion worth your time.

You’re just getting into it so I’d recommend a few scenarios and later some mod packs from Civ Fanatics (if you have any particular questions concerning any of this theres plenty of advice at the Dope or there).

If your system is fairly new I can’t recommend the Rise of Mankind mod pack enough.

Well I’m into my first game now, playing BTS. I skipped over warlords for now, though I notice the great general feature is in BTS also. That’s a neat extra. There are a lot more civs and leaders which is great. I’m playing the Vikings with Ragnok. The trading post unique ability is good; the berzerkers sounds good on paper but by the time they are available the usefulness of hand to hand melee soldiers is waning.

I’ve just now gotten to the point where spys are coming into play. Though it seems that much of what they do is really terrorism rather than what I would consider espionage. I love the privateers too. I looking forward to see how corporations will play out.

The random events are a neat change, though they all seem to be negative. I also had a foreign mediator come in and offer to make peace in a war I was in. It was a welcome inviation as I was in trouble. But is this another random event or is it triggered by certain parameters?

make that Ragnar

I recommend downloading the latest version of the Fall from Heaven 2 mod, from website.

Beyond the Sword added some cool things for sure, but Fall from Heaven 2 is even better, if you are into fantasy themed games. The civs play very differently from one another, and there’s a lot of different paths to take rather than always following from axemen to maceman and so on.

I haven’t played a plain BTS game more than 2 or 3 times since I upgraded to BTS. The main reason I upgraded was for the new features in the most recent FFH versions which were BTS only.

I’ve recently played a vampire empire, a group of horselords ala Genghis Khan, a nation of filthy rich dwarves, and I’ve tried many other options as well.

I find that the core game has too much similarity from play to play, its always the same thing, just with slight variance such as continents, apolostolic palace and things like that.

Also starting a FFH game is almost like playing a Tower Defense game, in that you have to survive the early game animals and barbarians, which are much more ferocious than those in BTS. That was frustrating when I first started playing but now I enjoy taking on the elephants, gorillas and Orthus (a hero unit controlled by the barbarians.)

Good mod, but they still haven’t hashed out the performance issues in the late game, and the Barbarian Civ mod that you can enable within it never works right for me.

Yeah, RofM seems fantastic but, unfortunately, the performance issues (due to my creaky old machine, not the mod) were enough to send me back to Beyond the Sword.

Just picked this up on the Steam sale a few days ago and am terrible at it. Anyone got any tips for a newbie? Is there anyway to completely/permanently ally with a computer player?

It is possible to get defensive pacts later in the game (though obviously that isn’t permanent) and before that it is possible to create vassal states. Normally, however, the computer is very reluctant to become your vassal and has to be beat into it. It is possible to turn on permanent alliances from the very beginning if you create a custom game.

-In your first city, build a worker.
-Your initial tech goal will depend on your civ. If polytheism and meditation are open to you, you may want to research one first to found a religion. That aside, you’ll want to get Bronze Working as soon as possible so that you can switch to Slavery and cut down forests.
-After the worker is complete, build a settler. Found a 2nd city and repeat process.
-In your first city, you may want to build another worker, or just build it in city 2. Having 2 or 3 workers grouped together allows them to work much faster. Or you may want to build walls or barracks. I generally wait till I’ve researched Archery before I build any units to defend the cities. Or, you may decide to build a Wonder.
-Stonehenge is generally a good Wonder to build first. It puts a monument in every city you have, which helps new cities expand their cultural borders quickly. Cut down trees with your workers around the city to speed up construction. Having a stone quarry cuts build time in half for this Wonder. When it starts getting close to completion, check to see if you can finish it by sacrificing citizens via Slavery.

Actually, building workers and settlers right off the bat has been proven to be a poor long-term strategy, except in certain specific circumstances. Preferable is to let the city get to at least size 2, or even better size 3 before pumping out the workers and settlers. This is for two reasons: first, cities don’t grow when producing settlers or workers in Civ IV, and the speed at which settlers and workers are produced is a function of excess food plus hammers worked, so a larger city pumps them out much faster; second, if you research Bronze Working, you can then switch to slavery as a civic, and then pump out the settlers/workers by “whipping” the population (that is, sacrificing population to produce the worker or settler earlier). You can’t whip size 1 cities.

Speak to Me Maddie!, if you want a whole lot of help in playing the game, visit the two fan sites dedicated to the Civ games:


Proven, eh? Definitively proven. Beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Whatever you say.

Yes, but it’s not always true. In fact, in the majority of cases this is a bad start.

If you research bronze working right off the bat and pump out a worker, he’ll come out by the time the research is done. He can then upgrade one tile, then chop forests to hurry a second worker, and finally both can chop to hurry the first settler. Much faster than waiting for the city to grow, more useful than pumping out who knows how many warriors in the meantime, and your starting cities immediately have built up tiles to work with (which is a huge productivity bonus this early on)

Also, switching to slavery costs you one more turn, and whipping without a granary built and/or the city has reached max pop. and is just about to grow into 1 angry citizen is somewhat wasteful.

Of course, it all depends on the map and starting position - if you don’t have enough forests to chop down (remember to keep a few for pollution control down the road), or you have a sea civ and lots of fish/clams to use up, or you’ve got angry neighbours right on your doorstep, or… You get the idea. There is no one good strategy.

Don’t forget the playable Barbarian horde.

Do you play Civ MP? Do you run testing to see under what circumstances different strategies produce maximizing results?

Ah, yes, the Barbs. :smiley: