Civilization 4 is a very good game, and a lot of time was put into building and testing it. I have recently been putting a lot of time into it and I have all of the expansions (Beyond the Sword and Warlords). I have been playing one specific game for awhile, and during the time I have been playing, I have learned several tricks of the trade. Some of them are listed below.
Civilization 4 – A Small Checklist
1. Don’t use Nukes unless you really know what you are doing. They are not as good as in Civilization 5, and they cause permanent relationship damage. In civilization 4 For every nuke you drop on someone, that person gets a -2 to their relationship rating. Anybody that considers them “good friend” will also take a relationship hit. It’s OK early game, but once you get late game it becomes very hard to retain your game. After several nukes, it starts to affect how often the enemy goes to war with you. On top of that, after nukes are dropped several times, random areas are started to get affected by Global Warming, which causes a lot of damage to cities and surrounding tiles. Basically the minor affect that you get from nuking enemies, is nowhere near worth it for dealing with end-game attacks and relationship issues. There are times when you just need to buckle down and build up because you are unable to get out of war. The more nukes you drop early game, the harder it is to stay out of war late game when it is critical (sometimes) to be able to get built up with units and so forth. Civilization 4 specifically was intended with these mechanics in mind.
2. Accept Vassals early on, when the situation allows you to (assuming they are not enemies with every person on the map). During my big game, I was refusing vassals throughout the entire game. At least 10 different times I had every small power asking me to become my vassal. I kept refusing. Then, late game there were two major civilizations, mine and one other. Somehow those civilizations that asked me to vassal, all suddenly asked him. So I had one civilization that had almost as many cities as me, and a huge military, suddenly obtain almost every civilization on the map as a vassal. So I had myself, another huge civilization that had about 5-6 vassals, and 3 other civilizations on the map. The other 3 never went to war with me, but the other large one constantly started wars because I had mistakenly nuked them two times early game, and treated them like crap. So basically I am up against about 70% of the total map all attacking me at once ,and every time the major civilization starts war, they all start war since they are vassals. This is making it very hard to build up enough military to expand at this point since all my resources are spent trying to defend.
That’s about it for now. As I get other advice, or thoughts on Civilization 4 I will add them to this blog post.