The Ailing Civilization Strategy
It’s a strategy devised to catch-up techwise, obtaining numerous techs in a short span of time through trading.
When I’m lagging behind in the tech race at, say, Emperor level or above, I look at the Power Chart and trace a feable civilization with high culture (which probably means it will be ahead of me by several techs). This has been a civ that has typically prioritised research in the earlier game rather than building military units and is currently being overun in an ongoing war by some powerful neighbouring civs.
Requirements for the ACS:
I. The ailing civ must be at war with TWO or MORE civilizations.
II. It must have FIVE or less cities left to be annihilated.
III. Your reputation must be flawless enabling you to trade techs for gpt.
I hit the F4 key, and strike a deal to exchange all the gpt they ask of me for as much techs as I can possibly afford (I adjust the tech slide to zero before the deal, F1 key, so as to free up all the gold per turn available, the AI knows how much you make per turn). Haggle all you can for each and every tech in every deal. Remember, the ailing civ will be several techs ahead of you, but your cash supply is limited. That extra gpt haggling, tiresome as it may sound, might save you enough gpt to buy yet another tech.
Thus after about a couple of turns, the ailing civ is wiped out and I have kept 5 techs or more, at the least, aswell as all the money I do not end up paying because there is no one whom to pay it to. Plus I’m still honourable before the eyes of all civs because I stood true to my word and paid whilst they were alive (I do not have to declare any war to safe myself from paying what I owe them).
Regarding the reputation hit: no one has ever declared war on me for using this technique. You won’t get a rep hit for using the ACS when trading for TECHS, not resources !!.
Check this article by Microbe on Trade Reputation.
Also, it’s not as If the road which connects a resource between both of you had been pillaged or disconnected, in which case you do get a rep hit. I always make sure to keep the AI happy by means of signing ROP or giving them luxuries for free (very rarely, unless I am weakling militarily) or below the market price or simply by giving away a small amount of lump gold. I do this in the same turn the ailing civ gets wiped out so as to keep up my good reputation. I do not have problems regarding this issue. And as I say I continue doing it through out all the game until I catch up.
This technique (the Ailing Civ Strat, ACS) is great for catching up techs in such a short span of time and at no cost really (well, almost). The point is getting all the techs you can within one single bargain, you can then trade them off with other civs and so on.
This strat works optimally if:
I. You select in the initial menu, the tab that enables civs to be more aggressive than usual. The more aggressive civs are, all the better. The ongoing wars unleashed will allow you more opportunities to implement the ACS.
II. Play in huge pangaea maps. It will be easier for other civs to crush each other in the same landmass from earlier on. Also the exchange of techs will ocur fom earlier contact, so the tech pace will be much faster, think of it as collusion amongst the AI speeding up the Science Rate. The faster the tech pace of the AI, all the better to put forward the ACS. Archipielago maps are not suitable for the ACS. The AI is useless attempting D-Day’s, so the chances of total annihilation of the ailing civ using amphibious warfare by other AI’s are slim.
III.- The more civs you play against, all the easier it gets to use this strat. More opportunities crop up to use it at will.
IV.- The higher the level of difficulty. Because the tech pace will be faster and other civs will be ahead of you. This strat is thought really for higher level of gameplay, Emperor onwards IMHO. In the lower levels, the techpace is too slow to apply the ACS. The faster the tech the pace, all the better, because you’ll be playing from behind.
This strategy works very well for C3C. In PTW, when you sued for peace with the AI’s you were warring, you could keep plenty of techs in the ensuing negotiations. But in C3C you’ll find that even if you conquer all their empire, but one city, they will hardly give you any techs as part of the peace treaty (nor cities IIRC).
If you come to think of it, you can use this strat much in the same way as you use the GL, but without actually having to build it as a crutch. You can actually put your research to zero and rely almost on it to acquire all your techs, providing you have/make enough gold/gpt so as to strike the deals when the chance arises. Once you’re on par techwise, you can start researching at full throttle.
E.g. In a game I played, the Iroquois were about to be wiped out and I traded 10 techs from them in a single deal. They refused to trade more techs because I just couldn’t afford more gpt, I only lost like a thousand gold or so in the following two turns (500 g in each turn), but I saved so much money on the long run, plus I was immediately on par techwise with everyone else at Emperor…So, If a tech has an average cost of say 2.000 gold (*) each, for example, 10 times 2.000 is 20.000. I only paid 1.000 for them really in those two turns, saving myself 19.000 gold, and what’s more, the chance of catching up in time (saving sooooo much time), and beeing able to “see” in the map new strategical resources unlocked by the new techs.
*= the price of techs depends on various factors, being the main ones:
1.The size of the map you have chosen (the larger the map, the more science beakers required, i.e. gold)
2. The number of civilizations alive in your game (it’s enough if you only leave them with one city). The more civs, the cheaper it is to research the tech once it’s available.
3. The level of difficulty you are playing at. At Emperor the techs will be 1/.8= 1.25 times (25%) more expensive than Monarch. At Demi-god 1/.7=1.43 times (43%) more expensive than Monarch, at Deity 1/.6= 1.67 times (67%) more expensive than Monarch and so forth. (Arathorn takes the credit for this).
4. The number of civs that already know the tech. The more civs that know the tech, the cheaper it becomes priced.
There’s a utility that prices techs in the utilities forum:
One last warning: this is a gamble you’re taking when applying this technique, it’s not 100 % certain. It’s an educated guess. You’ll need experience. Remember to follow the wars closely and spot a civ on the map that’s about to be exterminated for good. Don’t attempt this strat If they aren’t at war with more than one civ even if they only have a few cities left, because they could sue for peace and you would be left stuck paying huge gpt.