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Building Tall vs. Wide

AurelianDidItAurelianDidIt Posts: 14Registered Users
In every strategy game there's the choice between building wide and building tall. Stellaris is the best example of this. People constantly debate which strategy is better.

In ThroB, there's no debate, building wide is the ONLY way to go. And here's why:

Level 1 buildings deliver 50% of the value of the chain. Upgrading a Level 1 farm to Level 2 costs enough to buy a small army, and with that army you can take a new Level 1 farm and double your investment. If you instead choose to upgrade, you get a measly 10 food and negligible income boost.

So spending cash on anything but the military is rarely worth it. I don't see the need to keep above 1K income per turn. The rest is better spent on the upkeep for bigger armies so I can keep expanding rapidly.

Comments

  • InocybeInocybe Posts: 144Registered Users
    edited September 2018

    In every strategy game there's the choice between building wide and building tall. Stellaris is the best example of this. People constantly debate which strategy is better.

    In ThroB, there's no debate, building wide is the ONLY way to go. And here's why:

    Level 1 buildings deliver 50% of the value of the chain. Upgrading a Level 1 farm to Level 2 costs enough to buy a small army, and with that army you can take a new Level 1 farm and double your investment. If you instead choose to upgrade, you get a measly 10 food and negligible income boost.

    So spending cash on anything but the military is rarely worth it. I don't see the need to keep above 1K income per turn. The rest is better spent on the upkeep for bigger armies so I can keep expanding rapidly.

    Actually, in most strategy games, the choice of "building tall" don't exist, as there is a limited amount of ressources on a relatively small area. The condition for victory is to exploit smartly those ressources to build a strong economy that will supporte a strong military (that is the case for most STR).

    It is true that in some strategy games (4X, Paradox GSG), building tall is possible. However, it is never the best solution, and conquest is always easier. I always play fanatic pacifist in Stellaris, and I have play this game a lot. At the end, the only key to success is how big your fleet is. You need to be able to beat the late game crisis. This game don't care if you have conquered planets, or if you have built space habitats in your own space, you need to have those pop working to build space ships.

    ToB is a game of conquest. You need to expand to have more money, more troops to recruit, and more food to feed those troops. Building tall is not something that existed in real life (even less in this time period). In Total war games, you don't need too much armies. In most case, 2-3 army will be sufficent to protect your kingdom and conquest new lands.
    Remenber that, the "measly 10 food" can be much more with Tithe Barn (+60%), last agricultural tech (+20%) and higher tax level (up to 50% I believe). I strongly disagree with the rest of your statement, you should definitely spend money to upgrade buildings (to have more slot, etc.). In what level of difficulty are you playing, and with which faction ?

    Furthermore, in your simplistic analysis you are leaving behind numerous things: You have take a new food settlement, but that means you are in war with someone. You will have to spend more army to defend yourself. The settlement will also have unrest while your allegiance is increasing. You probably will have to exempt the province from tax, or you will have to have a small army near the new settlement to crush rebellion. Those are hidden cost.
    In the meanwhile, if you have a great governor in a province (10 adm, easy to have), with a admin follower level 5, you will have a huge decrease in building costs. (up to 50% at a certain point, and with some techs). As this is your province fo sone times, with bonus positive public order, you can increase the tax level to gain more money and more food.

    There is a balance between conquest and investing in province development.
  • MarcerorMarceror Senior Member Posts: 540Registered Users
    Building tall has never really been a thing in the Total War series. You can do it to challenge yourself, but it's not exactly a viable strategy to win.
    This is not a troll post. Sometimes I make humorous posts. These forums desperately need a bit of humor to contrast all of the angst. Moderators, please do not ban me for making an innocent, humorous post every now and again.
  • Whiskeyjack_5691Whiskeyjack_5691 Posts: 2,506Registered Users
    Marceror said:

    Building tall has never really been a thing in the Total War series. You can do it to challenge yourself, but it's not exactly a viable strategy to win.

    That is kind of true. Thrones of Britannia is the first Total War to introduce a way of allowing the player to build tall and win the campaign, without needing conquer half the map (the Fame Victory). Although, I think it still missed the marks slightly.
  • MarcerorMarceror Senior Member Posts: 540Registered Users
    edited September 2018

    Marceror said:

    Building tall has never really been a thing in the Total War series. You can do it to challenge yourself, but it's not exactly a viable strategy to win.

    That is kind of true. Thrones of Britannia is the first Total War to introduce a way of allowing the player to build tall and win the campaign, without needing conquer half the map (the Fame Victory). Although, I think it still missed the marks slightly.
    Except your empire isn't really "tall" in ToB. Famous maybe, but not particularly tall. You can only suck so many resources out of a given province. Tall implies that you're taking that small bit of land and making it more than you otherwise could if you were expanding your lands. Europa Universalis IV allows for a true tall empire. Crusader Kings II does to an extent, if you pour all your resources into improving a small number of counties, or a single duchy.

    But in Total War, each region has only so much potential, which is relatively easy and quick to exploit. So again, I don't think tall would be the appropriate descriptor here.
    This is not a troll post. Sometimes I make humorous posts. These forums desperately need a bit of humor to contrast all of the angst. Moderators, please do not ban me for making an innocent, humorous post every now and again.
  • MarcerorMarceror Senior Member Posts: 540Registered Users
    The best exception I can think of for TW would be Empire. If you have a territory like France or England, which are technically single regions, those allow a ton of growth and investment. So you can become pretty strong holding just that single region and building it up. Of course, this is because they took entire countries and made them into regions. And if you didn't happen to have one of a few really rich regions you were out of luck. Trying growing tall in Empire by holding New Mexico. Hah!!
    This is not a troll post. Sometimes I make humorous posts. These forums desperately need a bit of humor to contrast all of the angst. Moderators, please do not ban me for making an innocent, humorous post every now and again.
  • kinjokinjo Senior Member Posts: 1,610Registered Users
    I personally have always had more fun with campaigns I build tall in as I feel it can be more challenging if you keep your Kingdom smaller and use other means to win by gaining vassals and allies to satisfy the total region count victory conditions. I get extremely bored noob stomping across the campaign map to paint it my faction color as it always ends the same with my faction snowballing and becoming so powerful there is nothing the Ai can do to stop it.

  • daelin4daelin4 Senior Member Posts: 16,235Registered Users
    I think the term building tall vs wide needs to be clarified.

    If you're referring to the choice of building up your settlement to tier 5, as opposed to taking over a lot of tier 1 settlements, there are some things to consider:

    Taking over regions is a very fundamentally required element of playing Total War. It lets you get stuff, and it prevents the enemy from getting stuff. "Building tall", as I understand being just hunker down and developing, doesn't do any of that.

    "Building wide" therefore is much more than just building, it has you running armies around the map conquering stuff and smashing armies. That is what Total War is entirely about. If you turn the game towards building tall, you might as well rename it Simcity.

    As a result, "building tall" actually requires you to play the game in a way that contradicts its intended design. This is more a problem with game design than player choice though: you CAN just sit around and try to build up, but honestly this not only has fewer options and strategies, but it's not like you can even spend the amount of braincells and time compared with building wide. You need to wait turns for growth or save money to build something...all of which can be expedite by external conquest. Even leveling up characters requires you to do this, with sole exception to governors...and only because that is entirely intended.

    With that in mind I disagree that there is much strategy in "building tall" in Total War games. It's easier in Thrones, but part of the reason is because it lacks many of the extraneous material that is found in games like Warhammer, so it kind of feels less of a waste of time when you press end turn within ten seconds of starting one.

    TLDR there isn't much for players to do when you stay small and camp. That's not the point of Total War, which for some people is unfortunate.

    Corrected action is the most sincere form of apology.
  • kinjokinjo Senior Member Posts: 1,610Registered Users
    edited September 2018
    daelin4 said:

    I think the term building tall vs wide needs to be clarified.

    Building tall is just another term for turtling and doesn't mean you just stay in 1 region. A good example of building tall is conquering 10 regions and building them up as a core instead of conquering 50 regions and leaving them mostly underdeveloped imo. You really can't clarify a term that is used so loosely and will differ from player to player.
    daelin4 said:

    Taking over regions is a very fundamentally required element of playing Total War. It lets you get stuff, and it prevents the enemy from getting stuff. "Building tall", as I understand being just hunker down and developing, doesn't do any of that.

    Not really as you would still have a core set of regions, what limitations the player sets is up to them to decide. The limitations I personally like to use is historical boundaries. So if I play a campaign as Gwinded I would stick to mostly to Wales for my core regions to develop.
    daelin4 said:

    "Building wide" therefore is much more than just building, it has you running armies around the map conquering stuff and smashing armies. That is what Total War is entirely about. If you turn the game towards building tall, you might as well rename it Simcity.

    I have to disagree with this as it is mostly conjecture, TW games from pretty much the beginning have offered alternative ways to win whether it was through glorious achievements, fame, or kingdom victory.
    daelin4 said:

    As a result, "building tall" actually requires you to play the game in a way that contradicts its intended design. This is more a problem with game design than player choice though: you CAN just sit around and try to build up, but honestly this not only has fewer options and strategies, but it's not like you can even spend the amount of braincells and time compared with building wide. You need to wait turns for growth or save money to build something...all of which can be expedite by external conquest. Even leveling up characters requires you to do this, with sole exception to governors...and only because that is entirely intended.

    I really don't see how you can make that assumption when there has almost always been alternative ways to win a campaign to include allies and vassals regions counting towards victory conditions. I get it you like conquest victories and I respect that, but I get bored with that playing style as it is pretty much easy mode imo.
    daelin4 said:

    With that in mind I disagree that there is much strategy in "building tall" in Total War games. It's easier in Thrones, but part of the reason is because it lacks many of the extraneous material that is found in games like Warhammer, so it kind of feels less of a waste of time when you press end turn within ten seconds of starting one.

    People see what they want to see and I must admit that is a pretty one dimensional way to look at the series. I personally like having both play styles available as I use both, but tend favor building Tall for replayability reasons.
    daelin4 said:

    TLDR there isn't much for players to do when you stay small and camp. That's not the point of Total War, which for some people is unfortunate.

    There wouldn't be a Fame or Kingdom victory option if it was purely a conquest game which it isn't, in Thrones conquest is only one of 3 options to achieve victory. As far as camping who says you have to do that, you can go on expeditions to aid allies or go out and conquer factions to make them vassals. If you play one of the Viking faction you could sail around sacking and raiding to gain the loot to build up your core regions. Thrones in general there isn't a lot to do in between turns no matter how you play which is unfortunate for all poeple imo.

    Post edited by kinjo on
  • azitraxazitrax Posts: 116Registered Users
    Well to get a fame victory now requires building certain buildings. For instance, East Anglia must build a cathedral that is in Northumbria. To win their short kingdom victory you must possess York. So even if you choose to go those routes a fair amount of conquest is required. I don't know if I would call it building tall when the kingdom stretches from London to York.
  • kinjokinjo Senior Member Posts: 1,610Registered Users
    edited September 2018
    Those are just generic fame victory conditions shared by the Great Viking army factions including Northymbre. I think if somebody wants to build tall in Tob the short Kingdom victory would be the best option as it is mostly limited to historical boundaries.
  • daelin4daelin4 Senior Member Posts: 16,235Registered Users
    kinjo said:


    Building tall is just another term for turtling and doesn't mean you just stay in 1 region. A good example of building tall is conquering 10 regions and building them up as a core instead of conquering 50 regions and leaving them mostly underdeveloped imo. You really can't clarify a term that is used so loosely and will differ from player to player.

    Ah in that case, I think everyone ends up building tall first, then expanding. There really isn't a viable strategy for doing otherwise, you either turtle because it's been exceptional difficult and you're running around putting out fires, or you're trying a niche strategy like Angrund rushing to Eight Peaks. The conventional strategy, I think, is that you just consolidate a position first, develop some stuff to get good units, then roll out.
    kinjo said:


    Not really as you would still have a core set of regions, what limitations the player sets is up to them to decide. The limitations I personally like to use is historical boundaries. So if I play a campaign as Gwinded I would stick to mostly to Wales for my core regions to develop.

    That depends on the game; in Shogun2 the limitations were rather obvious, like Shimazu taking all of Kyushu, Chosokabe all of Shikoku, or as Tokugawa the choke points.
    With Thrones, I find myself just grabbing just about everything I can get my hands on, because the pacing of the game sort of allows you to build up without getting swamped by enemies. The last times I played anyways. Seeing as so many regions aren't cities and thus easily taken or lost, building wide is much easier in Thrones, but I sort of dislike it because swathes of land is taken or lost with little damage to my sense of progression.
    kinjo said:


    I have to disagree with this as it is mostly conjecture, TW games from pretty much the beginning have offered alternative ways to win whether it was through glorious achievements, fame, or kingdom victory.

    And you must conquer regions to attain them.

    Corrected action is the most sincere form of apology.
  • sunshinetroopersunshinetrooper Posts: 68Registered Users
    Of my two completed campaigns in ToB, i found building tall was better. I played tall in Circenn and with the starting provinces (and then perhaps, a few more around Edinburgh), I was earning 5-7k a turn. Compare this with my some 80 settlement Gwinned campaign, i'm looking at 2.5k a turn. I found out that every city I took tended to have 3 buildings maxed out, sucking 500-1k of gold in upkeep. Had to spend several turns getting rid of garrisons and granaries as these cities weren't going to be frontiers, thus not needed.
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