Civ IV, Steam, and BtS

So I jumped on the Steam bandwagon today, set up a user ID, and my wife bought me the Orange Box. So once everything is downloaded, the ID is registered, etc., I look forward to joining in on some GWJ mayhem.

However, I did notice that one game I have great love for couldn't be added to the Steam product line: Civilization IV. Apparently, the retail version has no Product Key. I was planning on buying the latest expansion pack (Beyond the Sword), but am a little concerned with whether or not there will be an issue between my retail core version and a Steam expansion pack. Last thing I want is to buy & download the expansion only to find out that it's incompatible with my full version of the game.

So has anyone given this a shot or are people just playing the Steam Version of the game out there?

I bought the retail version of Civ IV, and Beyond the Sword from Steam. I had no problems at all, they were perfectly compatible.

0kelvin wrote:
I bought the retail version of Civ IV, and Beyond the Sword from Steam. I had no problems at all, they were perfectly compatible.

Yep, works just fine. I had the same issue, installed Civ IV and the first expansion (both CD) then bought/installed Beyond the Sword via Steam. No issues and no CDs = Win!

It's no problem. You might get a version error in a pitboss game and sometimes the Steam version of BTS patches before the retail patch is available, but as long as you're playing with people who are aware of those issues it's no biggie.

Sigh. I get to find out if Valve support's any good. I bought Warlords by mistake. Hopefully they'll swap me for BtS.

I really hope they help you out. In my mind, it's almost fraudulent for Warlords to be sold post-BTS without some big disclaimer that "you're not really buying anything other than some lame scenarios."

Alien13z wrote:
I really hope they help you out. In my mind, it's almost fraudulent for Warlords to be sold post-BTS without some big disclaimer that "you're not really buying anything other than some lame scenarios."

I've noticed in Civ3 the same thing happened. The game comes out, is awesome. An expansion comes out, is okay. Another expansion comes out, has all the stuff from the first expansion and significantly improves the game.

Honestly, it makes me feel like buying the first expansion is just a revenue stream to keep the project going until they actually finish it. You'd think we early adopters would get a discount since half the stuff in the second expansion's the same as the first.

I have the non-Steam versions of Civ 4 and the Warlords expansion but purchased and installed the Steam version for BtS. They all work great and I went ahead and added the vanilla and Warlords versions to my Steam My Games list though I doubt I will ever play the vanilla or Warlords expansion by themselves. BtS just rounds this game out nicely.

So I bought this on Steam in an effort at getting a good turn-based game for my laptop.

The only problem is that the download keeps stopping for no apparent reason. I restart steam, the download starts again. It's driving me nuts.

Thin_J wrote:
So I bought this on Steam in an effort at getting a good turn-based game for my laptop.

The only problem is that the download keeps stopping for no apparent reason. I restart steam, the download starts again. It's driving me nuts.

It's a recent thing. My first download was perfect, my redownload on this new rig had the same issue. Thankfully it was just BtS.

I dunno... steam help? I assume it's their servers and I know Valve games download just fine.

You'll get the downloads eventually (I had to restart BtS a couple times, delete local content a couple times from bad downloads, etc)... it's just frustratingly difficult to do so. My guess? Lots of people trying to download the files.

bnpederson wrote:

Honestly, it makes me feel like buying the first expansion is just a revenue stream to keep the project going until they actually finish it. You'd think we early adopters would get a discount since half the stuff in the second expansion's the same as the first.

That would be nice. For me, the real value of an expansion is that it makes Civ seem new and shiny again. It almost doesn't matter what the expansion actually does. It's the same with the Sims series, although they release way, way too many expansions.

Getting the same problem. I've been playing vanilla while Warlords installs.

Try deleting the steam registry blob. It will force steam to rebuild the file, and should clear things up.

You can find the file at /steam/ClientRegistry.blob

So I started a game of vanilla CivIV since BTS is still doing the weird download thing. I started it at about.. 4:30 in the morning I guess?

Note: I'm up until at least 6am every morning. That's my work schedule. Only it's gonna be screwed up now because that game of Civ I started went a little longer than I thought it did. I stumbled and lucked my way through a game, earning myself a diplomatic victory with the UN Vote thing. Then I looked at a clock.

It was after freakin noon. Closer to 1pm in fact. So not only did I stay up way later than intended.. but I missed seeing a movie at 2ish because I didn't get to sleep at my normal hour.

Thin_J wrote:
So I started a game of vanilla CivIV since BTS is still doing the weird download thing. I started it at about.. 4:30 in the morning I guess?

Note: I'm up until at least 6am every morning. That's my work schedule. Only it's gonna be screwed up now because that game of Civ I started went a little longer than I thought it did. I stumbled and lucked my way through a game, earning myself a diplomatic victory with the UN Vote thing. Then I looked at a clock.

It was after freakin noon. Closer to 1pm in fact. So not only did I stay up way later than intended.. but I missed seeing a movie at 2ish because I didn't get to sleep at my normal hour.

You too! I have barely slept since I bought it!

Just one more turn. That'll kill ya every time.

That's the awful part. I kept playing after I'd won my diplomatic victory. The only other Civs were led by Napoleon and Alexander. I was chummy with Napoleon pretty much the whole game. Had open borders going and all kinds of stuff. He backed every single one of my UN votes.

Alexander was a pretentious prick every time I deal with him though, so the minute I had won and realized I could continue playing anyway I declared war on him and started leveling his cities.

I only stopped when I realized that I'd been rubbing my eyes about every thirty seconds because I just plain couldn't keep them open anymore.

This is a bad sign. Between this and Sins of a Solar Empire I think I've bit off far more than I can chew.

Oh man, wait till you get Beyond the Sword, if you're into diplomacy. Great stuff.

Nyles wrote:
Oh man, wait till you get Beyond the Sword, if you're into diplomacy. Great stuff.

I'm not really, but it seemed the only way I was going to win at the time. I didn't realize that the little scoreboard thing meant I was actually that far ahead of the computers. I had no real info on Alexander at all and was so sure that he was going to throw a tantrum and destroy me that I went for the quickest victory possible. Then when I declared war after I'd already won I discovered I was fighting his crossbowmen with my tanks and choppers.

Plus he kept trying to trade me bananas for Uranium, which I found simultaneously hilarious and a little unsettling.

In my head I imagined nukes flying toward my cities and Alexander telling me to enjoy my fruit in hell.

I never traded him the Uranium.

Which difficulty are you playing at J?

I took over the entire world on the easiest in a few hours. Started a new game on the second lowest and it's still just as easy. Two continents with three to four nations each. I've split my continent in half early on and refuse to grant open borders, hemming China, Germany, and the Persians in their tiny zone. The Aztecs are to the north and I've been slowly been raiding and encroaching.

I did the second one, not Settler, but the one above it. I forget what it's called.

I was scared of anything higher but didn't want to resort to the "easy" mode, even though it seems I did that anyway.

Is it good to learn the game on the easier levels or start with a challenge first to learn what does or doesn't work?

Thin_J wrote:
Is it good to learn the game on the easier levels or start with a challenge first to learn what does or doesn't work?

Not sure. I'm assuming it is. I'm getting the subtleties and practicing various strategies to see if they are viable. I don't think anyone ever declares war on anything lower than Settler though.

I prefer to play at Noble, even though I lose more games than I win at that level. At Noble, you are getting the same as the AI players, no freebees for anyone. As you move past Noble, you have a higher level of dissatisfaction in your people, more unhealthiness, and the AI starts to get free gold per turn and extra beakers.

Atras wrote:
I prefer to play at Noble, even though I lose more games than I win at that level. At Noble, you are getting the same as the AI players, no freebees for anyone. As you move past Noble, you have a higher level of dissatisfaction in your people, more unhealthiness, and the AI starts to get free gold per turn and extra beakers.

Sounds like Noble is where it's at then. I have no interest in losing due to the AI cheating. I don't mind losing because it made better decisions than I did, but losing because it always has more gold than I do in the early game would just piss me off.

Thin_J wrote:
Atras wrote:
I prefer to play at Noble, even though I lose more games than I win at that level. At Noble, you are getting the same as the AI players, no freebees for anyone. As you move past Noble, you have a higher level of dissatisfaction in your people, more unhealthiness, and the AI starts to get free gold per turn and extra beakers.

Sounds like Noble is where it's at then. I have no interest in losing due to the AI cheating. I don't mind losing because it made better decisions than I did, but losing because it always has more gold than I do in the early game would just piss me off.

You really don't want to mess around with anything higher than that until you have a good grasp of the core functionality of the game. To get anywhere above that you need to be able to leverage all the subsystems to your benefit: leader traits, espionage, trade routes, religion, getting synergies out of your wonders, how to build a specialized economy, and who knows what else. That's too much to learn if you're still enjoying smashmouth civ.

I'd say it sounds like too much to learn anyway. I suspect I'll always be on the tard side of the line when it comes to Civ IV strategy

I lay no claim to any multiplayer ability in Civ, the very idea terrifies me, but I do well against the AI on the harder difficulties. I prefer a cowardly booming/teching strategy, but for quite awhile I was going about it completely wrong. I used to do a balanced research approach, and brooked no nonsense from any of the other AI players when they made demands. After repeatedly losing after going past Noble, I started to experiment, and finally hit upon a winning formula. I scramble to found a single religion, then get the absolute most basic techs (so you can build mines, farms, roads), and then go straight for Longbowmen followed by straight to Riflemen. You may think you need those other supporting techs, but you don't. The AI will muscle-flex at you, just buy them off until you have Longbowmen, and start dictating terms once you have Riflemen.

I don't ever open my borders until I am powerful, and I suck up to all my neighbors with little gifts of spare resources and money whenever they start looking unhappy. Once I finish Rifleman research, I immediately upgrade as many Longbowmen as I can afford, and switch all production to military for several turns. My cities are now impregnable to anything the AI can throw at me, and I immediately start bullying the hell out of my neighbors to get the key technologies I skipped. Your military score should dwarf theirs once you've built up the rifles, and they'll cave to your demands. I then rush the financial technologies, crush whichever neighbor used to make the most demands of me, and then it's smooth sailing to victory.

Oh, and I always take "Financial" as one of my traits. Cash and cottages are king.

Without getting too in depth, land is power, more than $$.

Ultimately, having a lot of good land will let you do what you want, whether it's flex your military might, bunker down and research, or get enough resources to bribe and ply your neighbors with goodies.

As for difficulty levels, Noble is a good goal but I don't think most goodjers are playing above that level.

Play at the lower levels, play leaders and civs that intrigue you and you have fun playing. The learning curve is funny - most people go through phases where they absolutely adore a certain trait or civ then their opinion gradually changes as they learn more about the game.

Some of the friendlier traits to play with are Financial, Organized, Creative, and Philosophical. They will "automatically work" without you having to go out of your way to get a ton of mileage out of them. Spiritual typically takes a while to get excited about - switching Civics is very micromamagent-intensive, and until you have a firm grasp of the benefits of each civic, it can be a difficult trait to get the most out of.

Welcome to Civ! Hope we see you in our games sometime!

Back again.
All sorts of things come to mind when trying to describe what's important to take care of in Civ.

There are three main points I'd make.
1) Expand - Regardless of how you do it, you have to expand. It can be done peacefully or it can be done through war. There are two different ways to expand, generally referred to as Vertical and Horizontal expansion. Vertical means growing your cities up, by increasing their population and therefore the number of tiles they can work. Horizontal expansion is growing out - settling new cities and pushing your borders out to get more land, more resources, and to create a buffer between your core cities and enemy borders.
Both types of expansion are important. A large part of the early and middle game is learning how to manage the pace of both.

2) Food/Production - Your cities need food to grow. You should almost always settle near a source of food. Production is also very important - you will always have something to build, whether its infrastructure or units, you can never really have too much production. In the early game, you can use slavery to turn food into production, which is very useful. I don't think many people truly "get" the slavery civic. I'm not an expert on it (despite what Ferret may allege) but I have a pretty good grasp on it.

3) Don't fear the Slider (learning how to manage your economy) - In the upper left of the screen you have a slider that shows what percentage of your commerce you are dedicating to research/espionage/gold/culture. It starts at 100% research, and it will go down.
That is okay. It's normal.
Additional cities require maintenance fees, certain civics cost you more $$ to run, and inflation slowly creeps up throughout the game. At first, most people think they need to keep the slider at 100% the whole game, and freak out when it starts dipping.

As a brief illustration.
Your capital will generate 9 commerce on its own, without you doing anything. River tiles generate 1 commerce as well, so you can work a river farm for 1 commerce and 3 food. That gives you 10 commerce.

Settling more cities means you have to dedicate some of your commerce into gold (commerce is not the same as gold, which can be confusing). Before you were running your empire of 1 city, generating 10 commerce, 100% of it going into research.

Building a second city with silver in it will cause you to lower your slider - say, to 80%. But the silver gives you 6 commerce.
You now have 2 cities, generating 16 commerce, but only 80% of it is going into research. 80% of 16 is 12.8, which is more than 100% of 10.

This same principle applies as you grow your empire - though if you grow too quickly costs can spiral out of control.
It is just fine to run at 60%, 50%, 40%, or even less of your commerce being put into research. If it dips below 40% you may have to work hard to improve it a bit, but when you go to war it's common for the slider to dip to those levels.

One last point on this issue: Lets say you have 3 cities generating a total of 30 commerce, and you're somehow running at 100% science. That's 30 beakers per turn towards research. 6 cities generating 50 commerce can run at 60% science and still put the same number of beakers towards research as the empire with 3 cities.
The key difference is that the empire with 6 cities can produce different things in each city. One of those might produce the bulk of your commerce while the rest build infrastructure or units. The empire with 6 cities will almost certainly out produce (in hammers) the empire with 3 cities, and has the flexibility to adapt to more situations than a smaller empire.

I hope that wasn't too mind numbing, those are just the biggest brick walls I ran into and know others have run into when learning to play Civ.

When I try to read most of that it gets translated in my head and when it actually hits me it sounds like the adults in a Peanuts cartoon.