Out4Blood & El_Cap's Rise of Nations Strategy

Sunday, August 17, 2003

How to play the Chinese
This article discusses how to play the Chinese Civilization and links to various strategy websites for additional information.

Let's start by taking a look at the Chinese Civilization bonuses:
  • Science research at the Library is 20% cheaper

  • Receive Herbal Lore, Medicine, and Pharmaceuticals upgrades for free

  • Start with a Large City. New Cities you found become Large Cities

  • Citizens, Caravans, and Merchants created instantly
Science research at the Library is 20% cheaper

This seems like a minor bonus, but it has some interesting implications. First, it enables you to easily upgrade your science tech tree. If you were to manage to keep an extra tech ahead, then all of your other research would be 10% cheaper as well. But a science-heavy teching strategy is risky because it may put you behind in other areas of your economy early on. The second implication is that it makes your early build orders a bit smoother. The best things this bonus are: 1) You can research SCI1 and build 2 farms at the start, and 2) You can research SCI2 quickly after getting only one wealth ruin, or if you focus on food ruins, soon after building a market. This means you can obtain quick CLASSICAL times and still sneak in the key SCI2 upgrade beforehand.

Another option, which is mentioned on the Big Huge Games website, is to research SCI1 and SCI2 right away. Now, you'd need an early wealth ruin to do this, since SCI2 is 96F/96W. This makes subsequent research 10% cheaper than the normal build patterns and increases your typical ruin intake by an extra 50% (to 75 for each ruin). Is it worth it? You be the judge. If you could pull it off and catch back up with the extra ruins, you could probably get away with keeping that SCI lead througout the rest of the game (i.e., research SCI3 before CLASSICAL) and have a big 10% savings on all research the rest of the game. That could be huge.

Receive Herbal Lore, Medicine, and Pharmaceuticals upgrades for free

These are not impressive technologies, but they do allow you get a big army more quickly than normal. The herbal lore line also speeds up healing of your troops when they are garrisoned. In normal games, this technology is not a high priority for me, but it comes in handy for the Chinese because it enables you to respond more quickly if you need to make defensive troops, or to build up your army.

To gain the maximum impact from this bonus, be sure to pull wounded troops off the frontline to garrison and heal up. Because of your faster healing rate (over players who don't research this tech), you'll be able to get them back out on the battlefield sooner.

Start with a Large City. New Cities you found become Large Cities

Large cities make the Chinese harder to rush in the early ages. This is useful since rushing is a risky strategy, but still very dangerous. It takes considerably more firepower to take down a Chinese city, particularly when it also has a temple. If get attacked, be sure to build that temple to boost your city's hitpoints up. This bonus is still useful later on during siege attacks; the Chinese cities will take longer to reduce, enabling you to get appropriate defenses ready in response. One drawback to having larger cities is that they require more citizens garrisoned to get them to fire. A Chinese city requires 3 garrisoned citizens before it will fire. 7 to get to 2/3 of max, and it requires a whopping 12 citizens to get to max firing. If you get attacked, you're probably better off only garrisoning the minimum 3 citizens.

Large cities also give the Chinese a bigger radius enabling them to grab resource spots more easily. I like to position my towns so they can grab as many good resource locations as possible. Chinese cities make this even easier. A minor plus, but it fits my style nicely.

Finally, the larger cities means the Chinese will be grabbing more territory. And your border cities will always be large cities, even if you only put temples there. Good for pushing on those borders. I like to border push (even though I think it's over-rated). It helps secure some of that early game key terrain.

Citizens, Caravans, and Merchants created instantly

This is the big kicker to the Chinese. Make sure you make the most of this bonus. Just remember to click the waypoint for where you want them to go before traning them. If you're like me, this will probably force you to change your intitial start. For most civs, when not rushing, I start with 'VQ, LTE'. This queues up villagers and starts library research (SCI1 and CIV1). But the infinite queue does not work for the Chinese! So for the Chinese, I hit 'A, SHIFT+V, LT'. THe 'A' sets the rally point to resource buildings and the 'SHIFT+V' creates 5 new villagers. (I have to wait for a moment to research CIV1). I use two of the new vilalgers to build farms 'BF'. If I have a big wood camp, I create new vills until it fills up. If I have a small one, I use the leftover vills to scout ruins or move them out to build City #2. The keys to maximizing this bonus are to set your waypoints BEFORE training them(!) and to always have an abundance of food. As you can see, this makes the Pyramids an excellent early wonder to support your economy. The Pyramids also complements the border pushing strategy because they enable you to make an extra city.

Let's not forget the instant caravans and merchants. This enables you to quickly get your economy up and running, and there's no waiting for them to train before setting new waypoints. If you're like me, this is a big bonus. I get distracted waiting for that merchant to finish so I can set a new waypoint for the next one. Now I can spend 15-20 seconds in the game to hit 'N', and then RIGHT CLICK on rare, 'B', RIGHT CLICK on rare, 'B', RIGHT CLICK on rare, 'B', on each rare resource I want to send merchants. My rare resources stat goes way up when I play Chinese in team games, since it takes very little effort to fill up all of the rare resources we've discovered in our territory. Because of the abundance of rare resources I'll be enjoying, the Porcelain Tower becomes another excellent Wonder to get.

One final point about extra citizens: they are a surprising defensive resource. If you reasearch the militia line, your instant citizens can become an instant army! If you build that new border city only to find the enemy waiting to pounce on you, you can create an instant army using your bonus and the call to arms ability of the citizens. BOOM! Instant defensive army! Also, if the enemy tries to harass my new border cities, I just create 3 new garrisoned guys and get my town to firing. When they go away, I bring them out to do some actual work...

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