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I usually play at Civilization IV with difficulty set to Prince, length set to Marathon and size of the map to Huge.

The problem is that happens quite often, in the 20 century, that an opponent win the game by reaching the Cultural Victory.

How can I understand that an opponent is going to win in this way and what can I do to impede his/her victory.

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3 Answers 3

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If you go to the Victory Conditions screen (I believe it is F8) it should show you what is required for a cultural victory based on your game length. The left hand column shows how close you are to each condition, but the right hand column should show which of your opponents is closest. So you can watch this to see if they are gettting close to a cultural victory, and if so, attack the cities as mentioned in the other answers.

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This is the best method. Although you must have contact with everyone, it will show you who is actually closest. Its possible for a Civ with more cultural production to be behind in the race to a cultural victory because the cultural production is not concentrated in 3 cities. You should also watch for messages about cities reaching legendary cultural status, at which point Great Artists being born should also be of interest to you. –  WillfulWizard Sep 27 '10 at 14:59
    
Attacking is the only way to stop it? Does the espionage help in some way? –  Drake Oct 4 '10 at 7:29
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If they're getting close to the victory, it's too late for that. They will continue to accumulate culture unless you take the city. Destroying a culture producing building will only buy you a turn or two. –  bwarner Oct 4 '10 at 11:30
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The best way to stop an opponent from winning with cultural victory is to attack the city or cities of theirs which are producing the majority of that culture, and to do so early enough that you're able to pull it off. As @freegame says, it's the cities with the world wonders that you've got to watch out for because they produce a lot more than a normal city, even with national wonders involved. And also remember to capture religious founding sites; the wonders associated with them are always good, even for militaristic approaches, because of the amount of cash they tend to bring in.

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Watch who is building many world wonders. They produce most culture points.

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Or you could see who is actually producing the most culture points directly on the score screen. –  WillfulWizard Sep 27 '10 at 14:45
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