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Author Topic: SPM's Guide for New CIV4 MP Players  (Read 2839 times)

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Offline SirPartyMan

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SPM's Guide for New CIV4 MP Players
« on: December 06, 2008, 04:14:36 PM »
Dear Noob:

Welcome to our Ladder League. Congratulations for finding us -- it isn't easy.  In this introductory post, I will offer advice to someone who is new to our League and to the CIV4 Multiplayer experience. Nothing wrong with being new, we were all new once -- and we want to see our community grow.

I created this section of the forum just to help "noobs".  That's what we call new players; however, it's a term that is really not a disparagement, but one we use with affection and the recognition that we are all continuing to learn this game better and better every day.  We are all noobs.  You will see and hear top players call each other "noobs". Don't take it as an insult.

I am assuming you are generally familiar with the game of CIV4, probably gained thru hours and hours of Single Player mode play.  But I am also assuming you have no experience or very limited experience with Multiplayer mode, so I will be focusing on those things you need to learn to be successful in our league.

1) Welcome! Have fun. View this as a learning experience. You are going to lose some games in the beginning due to inexperience. This is inevitable. It's called a learning curve, or paying your dues.

2) Be sure your machine is installed, configured, and patched properly. Study the readme and the Technical Discussion section of this forum. The game SHOULD be simpler to install and use out of the box, but for most of us, sadly, it isn't. It often requires tweaking of communication settings involving router, firewall, internet security, etc. Study the "Technical Discussion" section of this forum for all the details, and ask any Ladder Admin or member for help. WARNING: the current patch level is 3.19.   

3) Playing online is different than playing single player. Just as one example: turns are timed more strictly than you might be used to. It takes some adjustments.

4) Don't brag too much even if you think you're pretty good. Play a few games before you claim in the lobby "I can beat anyone". Better to "lurk" in the background in your first few games. Don't make yourself a target.

5) In the Gamespy chat room, listen and learn. Sometimes you will pick up some gems of knowledge amidst a lot of clatter. You might want to note things about certain players or tips - keep some sort of diary or log.  After awhile you'll know a lot about certain players. More than you might imagine.

6) Expect military action. One of the reasons some people like this game is the chance to (vicariously) kill. Don't take it personally. Defend each and every city.

7) This is important! I recommend you get a program called civ4fans (go to web site and download install this program.  I recommend you  Host or Join games from the CIV4 program itself. But use CIV4FANS, which is free, for chat, for several reasons: private messaging, you can permanently "mute" obnoxious people in lobby, you can see a list of who is logged on. This is how experienced ladder members get into games easily. You can Private Message any host and that in itself will help you get into games, as you will discover. Don't think twice about it. Download this free program and install it. Your CIV4FANS id should be your usual ID, and it will append _c4f to the end of your name for id purposes. It is the SAME lobby, just a better interface. One really cool thing you can do is have both gamespy open and the game running. Many hosts do this, toggling back and forth between the game and CIV4Fans. 

8 ) Be aware of game options and game victory conditions, especially ELIM. A good idea is to write them down (along with your opponents' names on a piece of paper). If you are playing with pne city ELIM on, if you lose one city, you have lost the game. Many games are two city ELIM - hence you can lose one city, but when you lose the 2nd you are entirely dead and your entire civilization will disappear from the map. Defend all new cities.

9) Look at your game settings (Ctrl+O) and be sure AUTOSAVE is ON. This way if your host crashes, and doesn't return, you will still have a way to restart. Sometime, after playing a multiplayer game, you can load up one of these saved games and study them and learn. I also suggest you turn on "Show Fewer multiplayer popups". Also chose the "quick combat" options. Animated combat will slow the game down, and identify you as a noob. Also be sure stack attack is enabled.

10) Learn the "hot" keyboard commands - for example F1 gets you the Domestic Advisor , Ctrl+S saves the game. A complete list of these is available in the Civopedia.  Ctrl+T toggles the Map Grid (which I like, but some others don't). An extremely important hot key setting is ctrl+a which performs all your pre-set automoves. Many players will use this, especially at beginning of turn, to perform "fast" moves, such as to reinforce cities under attack.  

11) Become familiar with moving multiple units in a stack. This is done using the control buttons "Move Units in Stack" and "Move Units of Same Type in Stack". This is an essential technique. Practice it in single player mode first. The biggest advantage of this is when attacking because it speeds the attack considerably. It is also useful to avoid barbarians and opponents when moving a settler, worker and their protector(s). 

12) Figure out your IP address. You can do this by going to - write it down somewhere. Chances are it doesn't change too often.

13) Study the Strategy Tips section of this Forum. There are some wonderful tips there which I am not going to try to repeat here. Read all of the articles which have stickys attached to them for starters.  Especially look at my article on "TRICKS OF THE TRADE" describing automoves, fast moves, and double moves.  I also suggest you look at the strategy forums at and -- two excellent web sites with a lot of information (mostly SP, but still useful).

14) In your first few games, just try to survive. Build a few cities (like 3-5) safely and expand cautiously (esp. with ELIM). You will win a few games just because others are eliminated ahead of you.

15) One of the big adjustments in the game is person to person diplomacy. You can talk in the game using the tab key to open up a "chat box". This box will allow you to speak to all, to just your team, or to just one individual. 

16) Most open (non-ladder) games are played according to Free for all (FFA) rules. This basically means you can form alliances (but usually tech trading is turned off) and be at war or peace with your neighbors.  The problem with this type of game is twofold:  you can form an alliance with someone and then get "backstabbed" or you can be "double or triple teamed" by several opponents just because for example you are leading in points. Because of these issues, a new game type known as a "cton" has been created (named after a famous player in the past). In these games, the basic rule is play for yourself and only for yourself. No trading, diplomacy, alliances. No muted private conversations - everything typed in chat box should be said to all in open. You don't reveal opponent's locations or military strength - it's kept private. This is just one of many game styles available, but it's popular.

17) Another popular game type is a Teamer. These are usually 5v5 but sometimes larger or smaller.  Don't pick this as your first ladder game. And don't be surprised if some hosts won't let you play even when you belong to ladder.  Start with a CTON or a 1v1 duel.  Teamers require speed and coordination with other players.  If there is one completely novice person on a team, it's somewhat natural for them to be the target of attack for the enemy.  Don't join this type of game without a few wins under your belt. Then, it will be a good way to learn.  Because teammates can see each other's cities and land, you will get suggestions from your teammates (not always polite) and its a good way to learn once you're ready for it.  Teamers tend to have a very militaristic focus.  Build as many units as you can.  Almost all top players "slave" or "whip" a lot to produce the 20 hammers gained by slaving at the "right" time to maximize overflow into the next item under construction.  The thinking goes that if you have 4 cities and you slave each of them 5 times, that's 400 hammers you wouldn't otherwise have.  As long as you improve your land and don't slave too near the end of the game, your cities should grow back to maximum size anyway.

18) Another popular ladder game style is the OCC (One city challenge).  These are usually played on maps such as Equal Islands or Equal Inland Sea, so everyone gets the same basic start as to resources. An OCC is a special type of CTON usually, the main difference being that you can't build settlers.  Sometimes an OCC is always war, but some people play it always peace also. My basic tip for an OCC is pick a Philosophical leader (Ghandi and Elizabeth are good choices) and make a lot of great scientists who you will mostly build into the city as specialists. There are several posts in our strategy section that discuss this and other styles more in depth.

19) Sometimes time is critical. You just can't micromanage everything. So become familiar with the CITY GOVERNOR. You can tell it to "emphasize production" or food, etc.

20) Some people like to use the production queue feature. When in the city menu you can Shift + mouse click on an item to add it to the production queue.

21) Observe other's preferences on Civs. There is NO one best civ. Depends on the player's style and the game rules. Some games will be played with RANDOM civ so you have to be flexible as to this topic. Others will allow you to pick your favorite. 

22) After a game is over, look at the "replay". Observe the patterns of city creation by your opponents and compare to how you played.

23) Before beginning a game, write down the basic rules (i.e. world size, barb settings, etc). and player names. You might try a few notes to yourself to jog your memory. In the beginning I had an index card with 5 reminders, like start building a wonder by turn 35, or build 10 workers. etc.

24) When playing don't become totally lost in the minute details. Look for the big strategic picture. Are your opponents near or far? What natural obstacles (jungles, deserts, mountains) might effect the game play?

25) Be friendly with people. Be a good sport. Be patient during game setup delays and reloads (which no one likes). Say "good game" at the end of a game, even if the person pillaged you like crazy and you hated it. More people will invite you into games and you'll appreciate the courtesy and kindness in return some time.  Don't be afraid to ask questions, either. You'll find a lot of people willing to share expertise if approached politely.

26) Build lots of workers and constantly build roads, mines, and similar infrastructure improvements. As a general rule, have at least 1.5 to 2 workers per city, if not more. Try never to be working unimproved tiles.

27) Have fun - it's just a game - try to remember that - don't create World War III in the lobby after a game even if someone's tactics were sneaky. Of course if you suspect cheating (which is extremely rare, almost non-existent); please report it to any Ladder Admin.

28) The game has bugs and sometimes crashes. You'll learn all about OOS (Out of Sync) and CTD (Crash to Desktop) situations. We have a policy which says it's cheating to exploit a game bug. When you read the rules, you'll see a hot link to an article about cheating - please read it. In a nutshell, play honorably - no cheats, trainers, exploits, etc.

29) You don't have to buy a premium membership with CIVPLAYERS - but it does have several advantages. Take a look at the information and offers on our website and decide for yourself. Please note that is is perfectly possible to play Civ, belong to the ladder, read/post on our forums, and use CIV4FANS for FREE. The only money exchanged is between you and your Internet Services Provider. However, the ladder provides us with a wonderful service for free and its only financial support are members who sign up for these extra services - it's only a few dollars a year so take a look.

30) Take the time to read our rules which appear in the same section of the forum as this topic does. There is a LOT of important information in there. Please understand and follow our reporting guidelines, especially.

Good luck and happy civving,


PS: I encourage others to post their comments and suggestions as well. Please either open additional topics or add to this one. 

PPS:  Our league has started a project to write a more in-depth LEAGUE GUIDE for new players and we hope to publish that soon.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2009, 10:39:35 PM by SirPartyMan »

Offline tamijo

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Re: SPM's Guide for New CIV4 MP Players
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2008, 12:53:43 PM »
Great post - put a link on the top of the main page
(i know there is a link a bit further down, but this is so essential for every new member to read)

delete this post  ;)
They talk, and talk and talk and talk, about individual freedom. They see one free individual and it scares the shiiit out of them

Offline [PPP]jaegga

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Re: SPM's Guide for New CIV4 MP Players
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2008, 02:31:36 PM »
Nice post SPM.... ;)


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Re: SPM's Guide for New CIV4 MP Players
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2009, 07:41:48 PM »
I installed civ4fans and i don't have a _c4f appended to my name. I just did it today, do i have to wait a bit for it to show up? I want to play league to improve my standing and playing but i doubt players will just take my word for it that I'm in ladder.Also I wonder how to find players to play against of my same level? thx.

Offline workboat

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Re: SPM's Guide for New CIV4 MP Players
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2009, 08:14:09 PM »
I installed civ4fans and i don't have a _c4f appended to my name. I just did it today, do i have to wait a bit for it to show up? I want to play league to improve my standing and playing but i doubt players will just take my word for it that I'm in ladder.Also I wonder how to find players to play against of my same level? thx.
hmm actually c4f has nothing to do with ladder, its a program created
by Eiffel(thx) that we can chat in lobby while we are in game. If you wanna play a league game just enter the lobby and join a league/ladder cton. Beginner should start playing ctons or host your own game with the settings they like...
hope that helped enjoy playing CIV  :attack:

p.s. ladder game hosts use the find player button here to check whether you are ladder or not
TheGreatSatan: hmmm, I think as long as the atmosphere dont get up to like 1% co2, we'll be ok.


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Re: SPM's Guide for New CIV4 MP Players
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2009, 08:36:20 PM »
Thx for the reply.  ;D


  • Guest
Re: SPM's Guide for New CIV4 MP Players
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2009, 09:18:47 PM »
it took some time to read this(maybe because i was reading 5 topics at once)but it was kind of worth it
cheers :attack: