Let me start by saying that I DO build wonders, and I think they are a wonderful part of this game. They create variety and lead to a myriad of different strategies. Having said that, had I not been a victim of ‘wonder fixation’ as a newbie I would have become a better player FAR faster. My learning curve to Monarch would have been reduced by months – my first Deity victory would not have taken over a dozen failed attempts.
New and inexperienced players (chieftain to regent) make certain common errors. High among these is “Wonder Fixation”. I too was not exempt from this common newbie mistake. In my chieftain/warlord stage I would feel angry and cheated if I didn’t pull the Pyramids or Great Library. My second city was ALWAYS a wonder city. Even in my warmonger games I would set aside 2 core cities to try and ‘hog’ the wonders. This habit has a negative 3-fold effect:
Firstly, new players struggle with worker management, happiness, military tactics, and quick city expansion. Wonder building significantly detracts from a player’s ability to master these areas. Consequently, this will lengthen the time it will take for a player to advance in level. For a new player – the time, effort, and shields it takes to build an Ancient Age wonder will never make up for the benefits of having used those 400 shields to build workers/settlers/troops. In the Ancient Age each and every city is VITAL.
Secondly, there is a ‘crutch’ effect to certain wonders that hampers your mastering the nuances of the game. Having trouble keeping up in tech? Ah, I’ll shoot for the Great Library – every time. Do your cities take too long to grow? Ah, I’ll shoot for the Pyramids – every time. Are your people are always rioting and unhappy? Ah, I’ll shoot for Artemis or Hanging Gardens – every time. There’s just one problem here, the moment you go up in difficulty level, the strategy doesn’t work – and now your skill level is too underdeveloped to compete at the new higher level.
Lastly, certain CIV traits lend themselves better to building certain wonders. So once you have picked your ‘must have’ wonder(s), you find yourself picking the same 2 or 3 CIVs – every time. You convince yourself that they are the ‘best’ CIVs. But you have now cheated yourself out of 90% of the fun of playing this game. The game will bog down to – same old, same old.
My advice is simple: do not build a single wonder until you have mastered Regent level. Do this, and you will have your first Deity victory in a fraction of the time it took me.
Now it’s time for Ision to do a reality check. If 100 newbies read this post I would be surprised if even 1 were to actually take the advice. The appeal of Wonders to a new player is simply too strong. There’s something psychologically comforting about seeing that pop up window with a wonder that is ‘yours and yours alone’! That city screen just looks SO much better with that big fat building staring back at you. You just have to do it – you can’t help it – wonders are the heroin fix of all new CIVers. So if I can’t get you off the addiction the best I can do is offer a little methadone treatment.
Okay, here goes: the 4 rules of newbie wonder addiction –
1. The Great Library is OFF limits. Never, absolutely never build this wonder – not even with a SGL! The single biggest wonder crutch of CIV – is this wonder. Your skills at tech research, tech trading, diplomacy, and the use of the luxury slider will be TREMENDOUSLY hampered. This single wonder delayed my Regent to Monarch transition by months.
2. Limit your wonder building cities to just 1. This will hurt your soul. Later in the game you will want to scream! Because, you will have numerous core cities that could also be building wonders – and with a good shot at getting them. Don’t do it! Keep that heroin down to one shot (city) per Epic game. Hard to do – but doable.
3. Every time you start up a new game of CIV – purposely choose a different Ancient Age wonder to shoot for. This will help you avoid the, ‘this is the best CIV’ or ‘the best TRAITS’ crap. It also will help you avoid locking into certain strategies.
4. Lastly, repeat after me – THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A BEST CIV OR BEST TRAIT. Get that in your head! Say it ten times daily – repeat it every time you stare at the list of CIVs to choose from. – Repeat it every game until you reach at least Monarch.
Well that’s it in a nutshell. Keep those wonders down in your learning stage and you will truly learn to properly appreciate them later.