Basic strategy that I use to beat Scholar level AI.
Strategy Guide to Beat Scholar AI
Basic Game Mechanics
Ozymandias is a super simple game, but it has a lot of hidden complexities. Like Chess, it is easy to learn but hard to master.
Here are a few things that is not plainly obvious to players from Civilization 6 or Humankind:
- Every terrain type’s yield is controlled by your research. So it is not always true that rivers or grassland produce more food than desert or plains. If your civilization does not have the technology to obtain the yield for that type of terrain, then owning a billion of them earns nothing (e.g. I own like 20 ocean tiles, but didn’t bother to research a single tech for Ocean terrain, so they produced absolutely zero science, money and food for my entire game).
- You can easily see how many terrain of certain types you have by opening the science / research tab, that way you can prioritize the “yield” (whether it is science/money/food) for those kind of terrains.
- Money is the most flexible resources, and money allocation makes and breaks your late game. At the start (Expansion Stage) and mid game (Consolidation Stage) always put 100% to food; at the end game, always put 80-100% to power.
- Spend all your resources. Waste level reduction tech is useless if you always spend all your resources well. Just like early game of Starcraft 2, those who floats too much resources are noobs.
- All resources have “waste” level, but power has the highest waste level (80%). So even if you have upgraded your power waste reduction to 50%, you still can’t get more than around 13 power mid game and 17 power end game in most maps. There is just not enough money in most games to buy enough power to sustain the power loss that you suffer every turn past certain point. Your territories determine your income, your income buy you power, power allow you to take more territories, making a game snowball really quickly once you have power advantage to your neighbours.
- Basically knowing when to switch money from food to power is the switch that makes or break most games (plus the ability to use your armies to poke the weak points of your enemies – without sufficient power, you will lose your lands and die slow and miserable death.).
Expansion – Consolidation – End Game
There are basically 3 stages in this game:
This happens when your starting area and zones have not meet your neighbors yet. Everyone starts at this stage. The rules are simple:
- Always put all your science into flag technology of the terrains that you intend to expand to (x3)
- Always put 100% of your money into food.
- Expand expand expand. Your goal is to plant more flags and get more terrain than your opponents. The speed at this stage makes and breaks your later games.
- Don’t build cities. Don’t do anything other than grabbing free territories until you start dueling flags with your neighbors. You can always get those later, but you can only grab free territories at first few turns of the game.
- Always choose free flag on opportunity cards at this stage, expansion is king at first few turns of any game and those who choose tech over free expansions are noobs.
- PS: mountain has +2 defensive bonus. free Power to those who grab it first.
The second your border meets with your opponents border and your flags start to meet their flags and cancel each other out, this stage begins. You have to realize that the era of free expansion is over and switch over to yield and consolidation.
- Put all your science into yield tech – focus on terrain that you have the most of (at least 5, preferably above 10) – the start with Science, Money and Food – in that priority. Food is no longer that important at this stage, so science first, then money second and food third.
- Do not build army or switch from swapping money for food into money for power UNTIL your opponent start to build their first unit. Instead use the extra food you buy from money to build big cities on your border defensively. You don’t have enough power to win lands (and if you do, you will over stretch and lose in later stage), so consolidate defensively first before building armies. You build armies IN REACTION to your opponent building armies, not pre-emptively.
- After you maximise the yield in the terrains that you have, focus on YIELD for Cities (you will have x27-x40 in cities, more than any terrains yield at late game) and POWER tech for CITIES. Aim for +6 power. I know some people like to spread their powers at +2/+3 for all terrains, I found that to be less useful than focusing on 1 (because the costs grow exponentially) and cities are the best option because +6 power cities are invaluable in defending your borders. Remember – at this stage you will have +13 power in your units and at end game you will have +17 power in your units, so +2 terrain bonus is ♥♥♥♥ all and not worth spreading your tech for until the end game.
- Build cities at your borders. +6 power cities are invaluable in defending your borders, freeing your army to poke and prod at the enemies’ weak points. Remember that the more army you have, the harder it is to get max power (+13 mid game, +17 end game) because the cost formulae for buying power with money.
- So the goal is to switch to WAR ECONOMY (all money to power) as LATE AS POSSIBLE, but once you switched, there is no going back unless you spend $100 for power waste reduction or $40, $70 etc for new army. If you switch back and forth from normal and war economy, you will lose. once you are on war economy, you must have ENOUGH money at all times (i.e. if you have $100 and a new army cost $100, do NOT buy it, wait a few turn until you have $150-$200 then buy it). If you mouse over on the item you want to buy, you can see how much power it will cost you.
- At this stage you can start buying waste reduction tech, focus on power first (-65%, -55%,-50%) then focus on building more armies. Most of the time there is no point to switching to war economy unless you at least have some waste reduction tech on power. -80% is just too big to overcome. This is mostly depending on the map. The key to sustaining war economy is not about how fast you climb, but how can you sustainably maintain enough power not to be overrun by your enemies, while slowly consolidating more waste reduction tech and bigger armies.
- Remember that if you build too much armies, your power per unit will be low, so Power building at consolidation stage is like a roller coaster, you get +10, then lose it all to +6 because you buy -65% power waste reduction, then wait until you get +10 again, save enough money to buy next waste reduction. Do not buy in consecutive turns or you will go from +10 to +6 to +1 and then lose all your lands; instead do +10, buy waste/army +6, wait until +10, buy another waste /army.
If you have done all the above correctly by now.
- Your borders will be defended by 8-10 cities with +6 power, you will have controlled 1/3 of the map, you will have 6-8 armies and maxed out on your power waste reduction.
- You can start spending your resources on less important science tech like power for terrain, waste reduction for science, then for money, then for food.
- You would have upgraded your cities many times over so you have 25-40 yield for your cities (and have maxed on your tech so that’s like 300-400 science/money/food per turn).
- You can start buying Crowns (need 8 of them to win games) – choose opportunities that does not cost much money since you need money to maintain power ALL the time. At late stage, if you run out of money for 2 turns, your power goes from 17 to 4 and it’s game over.
- Your armies should play offensively to poke on territories – if you have threaten enemy territory, you don’t have to stick around, you can move the army somewhere else to defend your area that is threatened. Focus on defense, every time i think “I will let you have this area in exchange of that area”, the AI always play in a way that I lose. So do not aim for territory exchange.
- Always have enough food to defend your threatened territory by moving your army.
Remember this is a game of snowball, once you have 5-10% advantage on your opponents, they will keep losing inch by inch until they got nothing left; but if you are 5-10% behind your AI opponents, it’s game over too.