# Civs or Mils first? Historical timelines in mind

One thing is for sure, if you run out of building slots making you pause construction due to that, then you have built too many CIVs.

Personally I am partial to building infrastructure as it both makes future factories cheaper, but also increases your resources reducing the factories needed for trade. But you will rarely have time to both build infrastructure and CIVs.

The simple answer is that Civs pay for themselves in 2 and a half to 3 years (1936 civs will be 3, 1939 civs will be closer to 2 and a half years thanks to construction tech). So your biggest power spike comes just under 3 years after you finish constructing civs.

That's actually not quite correct by quite a large margin.

Civs pay for themselves in terms of Construction in about 2-3 years. So if you build a civ, your mill count will be higher 2-3 years after you finish building it.

However, you do not catch up in terms of output for far far longer.

Lets imagine two nations. A civ takes about as much time to build as 2 mills. Nation A builds a civ, the other, nation B, builds 2 mills.

We'll assume that a mill produces 0.5 unit of output in the first year, and 1 in the second. It takes one year for a civ to build a mill.

 Nation A mills Nation A yearly output Nation A total output Nation B mills Nation B yearly output Nation B total output 1 0 0 2 1 1 2 0.5 0.5 2 2 3 3 1.5 2 2 2 5 4 2.5 4.5 2 2 7 5 3.5 8 2 2 9

As you can see, this simplified model shows the rough mathematics. After 2 years the civs have "paid for themselves", but it will take them another 3-4 years to catch up on output

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hello, I have had this discussion with numerus people and Civs and Mils always boils down to three factors, Tech, building slots and when you plan on entering the war.

The simple answer is that Civs pay for themselves in about 3 years (1936 civs will be closer to 3 and a bit years, 1939 civs will be closer to 2 and 3/4s years thanks to construction tech). So your biggest power spike comes just under 3 years after you finish constructing civs.

However, you must also consider what your tech goals are, if you really want to win the air war, you might start building mils in 1937 for your 1940 planes, which will come available 200 days after 1940 if you don't have a research buff. Bare in mind however, if you are on dispersed industry (which is generally considered better than concentrated) it takes about 200 days to reach the production efficiency cap (this depends on what your cap and growth is), so planning for retention you might want to stop building civs 200 days before you would on concentrated to get the most out of dispersed industry.

The final constraint is building slots, it might be tempting to build civs as America or Britain for a 1944 d-day, but you will quickly run out of building slots for those countries, just bare in mind those countries are limited, unless you expand massively and you shouldn't build civs after 1937. Going by pure production, like in this video gives you outdated tech and tech is more important than production.
So it clearly shows CIV aren't compatible with a true Blitzkrieg.

Refusing to build mills until 38 or later is almost always a huge mistake
I would say this depends highly on whether you're playing singleplayer or multiplayer. In multiplayer everyone has important midgame techs like 1940 fighters by 1937, but in singleplayer that's probably not happening until 1938 or '39. The medium tank tech got pushed back to 1938 so people without bonuses can't produce basic mediums in 1936 or 1937 either. If you're planning your build around those techs then I think it makes sense to build civs longer so that you'll have more mils by the time you research whatever key equipment you're planning your build around.

In multiplayer, sure, building mils in 1937 is probably a no-brainer since you get to produce more of the good stuff faster.
Only real exception is like Japan who can beat China with their starting +focus and/or decision mils and probably should be applying the 2 year rule to actual WW2 (or making dockyards).
Ironically I would say Japan is a country that gets a lot out of not building civs at all. You get penalties to civ construction, big bonuses to mil construction, and go on total mobilization very early into the game. You can go closed economy and conquer all the resources you need, and import from your puppets until you are able to conquer.

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MIL from day 1 if u aim big conquest in Europe, so u wont be stuck in lack of factories, it can work for germany, for example, also if u don't care much for early air / oil / rubber.

with GER i get adept of CIV building, because i do the phoney war, and lack of rubber/air is punishing.

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I would say this depends highly on whether you're playing singleplayer or multiplayer. In multiplayer everyone has important midgame techs like 1940 fighters by 1937, but in singleplayer that's probably not happening until 1938 or '39. The medium tank tech got pushed back to 1938 so people without bonuses can't produce basic mediums in 1936 or 1937 either. If you're planning your build around those techs then I think it makes sense to build civs longer so that you'll have more mils by the time you research whatever key equipment you're planning your build around.
i don't think delaying mic production makes sense in sp unless you play with self-imposed rules or unusual starts. otherwise, most nations (even ones like usa) can find their way into wars much faster than historical ww2 start date, and producing for those and snowballing makes more sense.

similarly, because ai ability to produce dangerous, high-hardness tank divisions basically doesn't exist, you can just run interwar mediums and slap stuff like close support gun or later howitzer on them, if you're building tanks. it's not like their ~50-60% hardness tank divisions you can easily pierce will hold up to massed soft attack. or you just get air superiority, micromanage armies, and rip through lines with infantry + mot at barely higher casualties than tanks, because you're fighting the ai. in which case you again just make mic immediately, put your production on whatever you can make before the war, and have enough stuff to easily win the war.

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For me it is usually I build up one state, usually the capital to full infra and then build civs there till the cap. For a big major maybe 2 states. If those states are filled with 1937 industry tech slots I build Mils in the other states. This works well for me for minors and most majors.

The math is WAY above my paygrade. Any takes on it?

Here's my non-math version of testing factory output with MIC versus CIC:

I tested factory output using armored cars. Germany starts with zero, and Germany starts with the tech. And you can easily filter out captured armored cars from the stockpile so you can see only the ones you built.

The long and short of it is that Germany, even without free trade/export focus swapping, will produce more equipment by building MIC than CIC by June of 1941. But spending 24 months building CIC means that the CIC build has a higher factory count by June of 1941. So, by around November of 1941, assuming you don't run out of factory slots, the CIC build results in more equipment.

I also discuss the value of "the meta" here in this post, as any discussion of "which strategy is better in HOI4" really boils down to these key points:

Yep. A meta really means "this is an optimal approach in a specific situation." In a game like HOI4, changing a single premise of your game can result in wildly different outcomes.

My favorite is the "build CIC until either January 1938 or 1939 as Germany" meta. A while back I tested how much equipment you could produce by the historical start date of Barbarossa by going straight MIC from day 1 versus CIC to January 38. The answer was more equipment came from the MIC build. The CIC build didn't catch up until November of 1941. After that, the CIC build was amazing. But this test clearly showed that the earlier you intended to do things like attack France or the Soviets, the more credence you should give the MIC build.

Some players objected and said "But that early MIC is building old, crappy equipment." And that's true. But I'm sure I can find things for that older equipment to do in 1939 and 1940. If, say, Britain is not expecting twice as many planes in action in 39 and 40, even if they are BF109s, Germany might be able to do things that would otherwise be impossible. Or if someone is planning, say, a June 1940 Barbarossa in an MP game, then yeah, you really should pay attention to Germany's build in 1936 via spying. The meta of "build CIC until X year" only makes sense with premises like "Barbarossa starts in June of 1941" and "I'll need tons of equipment in December 1941 and later." It makes far less sense if you change some of those variables.

Another example:

A lot of players love their rocket rails on small aircraft. I sure do. But anyone saying "the meta means having rocket rails on light air frames and if you don't do that, then you are a @#\$% player" needs to preface their statement by saying "Oh, and I mean you need to research the 1940 rocket artillery tech ASAP to do this, so I hope you can fit that into your busy schedule."

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i don't think delaying mic production makes sense in sp unless you play with self-imposed rules or unusual starts. otherwise, most nations (even ones like usa) can find their way into wars much faster than historical ww2 start date, and producing for those and snowballing makes more sense.

similarly, because ai ability to produce dangerous, high-hardness tank divisions basically doesn't exist, you can just run interwar mediums and slap stuff like close support gun or later howitzer on them, if you're building tanks. it's not like their ~50-60% hardness tank divisions you can easily pierce will hold up to massed soft attack. or you just get air superiority, micromanage armies, and rip through lines with infantry + mot at barely higher casualties than tanks, because you're fighting the ai. in which case you again just make mic immediately, put your production on whatever you can make before the war, and have enough stuff to easily win the war.
Well that depends on when you're planning on going to war, just like OP said. If you're doing an early war then building civs is probably bad, no one's said otherwise.

True, you can beat the AI with basically anything. But some things that work against the AI also teach bad habits if you're trying to become a better player.

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One elements are left out of the thread, its the control that gave you the choice to build CIV:

If one players decide to build more CIV than the others, its force the other players to all-in for decisiveness in the war.

Or the gap are going to widening even more, having the control of the flow in the game add psychologic pressure on the opponent.

You don't need 300 more CIV just the right amount for pressure the other players, for encourage their surrender.

Here's my non-math version of testing factory output with MIC versus CIC:

I tested factory output using armored cars. Germany starts with zero, and Germany starts with the tech. And you can easily filter out captured armored cars from the stockpile so you can see only the ones you built.

The long and short of it is that Germany, even without free trade/export focus swapping, will produce more equipment by building MIC than CIC by June of 1941. But spending 24 months building CIC means that the CIC build has a higher factory count by June of 1941. So, by around November of 1941, assuming you don't run out of factory slots, the CIC build results in more equipment.

I also discuss the value of "the meta" here in this post, as any discussion of "which strategy is better in HOI4" really boils down to these key points:
Yes I saw that one, but it’s still “static” in a sense that it just gives you the numbers by a certain date, without factoring what you could have done better at war before that date due to the higher equipment inventory (planes, tanks…).

Yes I saw that one, but it’s still “static” in a sense that it just gives you the numbers by a certain date, without factoring what you could have done better at war before that date due to the higher equipment inventory (planes, tanks…).

Well, I can't be holding everyone's hand every step of the way. I get enough complaints about video length as it is.

There are so many factors in play when it comes to military production, though. I can't imagine a situation where more equipment =/= better, but the specifics are somewhat country and date dependent. If you are supply capped, more tanks may not be useful. There is no synthetic aluminum, so at a certain point aircraft production is capped. And while I just tested MIC, nothing says you can't trade out MIC for NIC if you think that would be useful.

There is a point where it's impossible to make use of more MIC effectively, but that's usually on really long timelines with tons of puppets from peace conferences or occupations. And you need tons of equipment to get to that point, so you used extra equipment to get to the point where Germany has 700 MIC thanks to annexing everything from Casablanca to Saigon. At that point, we're probably not worried about the fact that there's not enough steel on the planet to manufacture any more infantry kits. (And I'm pointing that out because I know someone will mention lack of resources.)

Which is my long way of saying that I can only show you a measurable equipment difference between pure MIC and 24 months of CIC. I can't tell you all the ways it can be used.

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Well, I can't be holding everyone's hand every step of the way. I get enough complaints about video length as it is.

There are so many factors in play when it comes to military production, though. I can't imagine a situation where more equipment =/= better, but the specifics are somewhat country and date dependent. If you are supply capped, more tanks may not be useful. There is no synthetic aluminum, so at a certain point aircraft production is capped. And while I just tested MIC, nothing says you can't trade out MIC for NIC if you think that would be useful.

There is a point where it's impossible to make use of more MIC effectively, but that's usually on really long timelines with tons of puppets from peace conferences or occupations. And you need tons of equipment to get to that point, so you used extra equipment to get to the point where Germany has 700 MIC thanks to annexing everything from Casablanca to Saigon. At that point, we're probably not worried about the fact that there's not enough steel on the planet to manufacture any more infantry kits. (And I'm pointing that out because I know someone will mention lack of resources.)

Which is my long way of saying that I can only show you a measurable equipment difference between pure MIC and 24 months of CIC. I can't tell you all the ways it can be used.
Absolutely, it's important to show the power of numbers. It's just to keep the reflection open, because, depending on the game setup/playstyle, a lot of things can happen between 1936 and 1941.

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I stumbled upon this guide:

TLDW: Build Mils from day 1.

It feels like this goes against the conventional wisdom of civ constructing for a year or two before switching onto mils, with historical timelines with a war mid/late 1939.

The math is WAY above my paygrade. Any takes on it?
Has there been a paradigm shift towards "mils first"?
It's an interesting video. Probably slightly wrong (if you build zero civs, likely in late came your construction falls to zero so as others have said you won't be able to build AA, port, etc). However, it's true that almost everyone builds too many CIVs.

Overall though, I doubt there's a "correct" answer. MILs on fighter-1s are useless in MP, and MILs on gun-1 are only marginally better. That's why most people build CIVs until early 1937 (majors) / jan 38 (resource poor minors).

Only thing I would be interested in seeing is a "mixed" strategy. E.g. build 1 civ every 3 mils. Suspect that would have the optimal outcome.

Early mills are stronger for output but CIVs are useful in wartime too
Alex The Grape, from Red Baron (and others)?

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