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Old Sep 11, 2008, 08:09 PM   #1
Sisiutil
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ALC Game #25 Pre-Game Show: Playing as the Celts/Boudica

All Leaders Challenge Pre-Game Show:
Game #25 - Celts/Boudica




In the next ALC game, I'll be playing as Boudica, leader of the Celts--one of the new leaders added in the Beyond the Sword expansion pack. The purpose of this thread is to discuss, before the game, how to best exploit this particular leader's characteristics, which is the main feature and purpose of the ALC series. Just so we're clear, I'm playing with the Beyond the Sword expansion pack with its most recent official patch (3.17) as well as Solver's unofficial patch. (I should also note that I elected to allow tanks to still get barrage promotions.)

Here's the fact sheet:
  • Traits: Aggressive (Free Combat I promotion of melee and gunpowder units; double production speed of Barracks and Drydock) and Charismatic (+1 happiness per city; -25% XP needed for unit promotions; +1 happiness from Monument, Broadcast Tower).
  • Starting Techs: Hunting and Mysticism
  • Unique Unit: Gallic Warrior (Replaces Swordsman; Strength: 6, Movement: 1, Cost: 40; Unique Characteristics: Starts with Guerilla I.)
  • Unique Building: Dun (Replaces Wall; Cost: 50; Unique Characteristics: Free Guerilla I promotion for units built in the city)
I'll be playing with Choose Religions on, just for flavour. I'm undecided on the map type, so we can discuss that. The game speed will be Epic, as usual. The difficulty level will be Immortal.

Boudica is a natural warmonger.

I mean, come on. She's got two of the best warmonger leader traits: Aggressive for the free Combat I and cheap barracks and drydocks, and Charismatic for the low-XP promotions. What a combination! (Full disclosure: I did play an off-line game once with unrestricted leaders on, as Queen Boudica of Rome. Agg/Cha Praetorians... can you say, "ridiculously overpowered?" ) With free Combat I, her melee and gunpowder units have a head start and will accumulate promotions at breakneck speed.

The drawback here is that she doesn't have an obvious economic advantage. A lot of conquering could wind up destroying the Celtic economy. I would argue, however, that Boudica has a subtle economic advantage thanks to Charismatic: her cities can be just a little larger, especially early on--meaning they can grow to either work more cottages or run more specialists, depending upon the type of economy that's chosen. I'd lean towards SE myself, but its success may depend on the map.

The rest of her unique characteristics leave me cold, however. Her starting techs aren't bad, but they're not helpful to a warmonger. Hunting for Scouts? They can't attack, remember? I will try to leverage them to assist in scouting out enemy locations. And Mysticism? I don't expect to be founding any religions. However, maybe I should try to use it to build Stonehenge for an automatic +1 happy in all new cities until Astronomy comes along. And diverting hammers from monuments to barracks and unit would help war efforts. Hmmm...

The unique unit and unique building are even less thrilling. Honestly, Gallic Warriors are a pretty lame unit; Swordsmen, on which they're based, are offensive units, yet under the Celts they have a defensive promotion. Couldn't they have given the free Guerrilla I to Axemen instead? Anyway, the best thing I can say about Gallic Warriors is that at least, unlike Jaguars, they aren't weaker than the unit they replace.

And the Dun... hey, a free promotion is nice, but again, why that one? I'm not saying it's useless; I give Guerilla promotions to a couple of units a game, just to protect a stack while it's on a hill. It's just not that useful a promotion for scads of units. And for the Gallic Warriors, well... like Robin Williams used to say, look up "redundant" in the dictionary, and it says "redundant". (What's with Firaxis associating Celts and hills anyway? If that's based on Alesia, someone should remind Firaxis that the Celts lost that one. Come to think of it, the Romans eventually handed Boudica's no doubt finely-shaped tush to her as well.)

I suppose the lacklustre UU and UB compensate for Boudica's awesome warring traits. Basically, she lacks the advantages most other leaders have, so I'll have to make the most of the few she possesses.

Okay, now it's your turn.
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Old Sep 11, 2008, 08:16 PM   #2
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Scout SW, then settle in place.
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Old Sep 11, 2008, 08:21 PM   #3
madscientist
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Boudic'a biggest problem is getting over anxious to leverage that great pair of, er traits! Yeah traits!

You need a few good early cities and concentrate on getting the food techs. Relying on archery as the second tech while delaying mining/BW for food, Pottery, writing could be an option. Also an early religion followed by STonehenge (for the free monument and the GPPs) get's her a stronge chance for an early shrine to pay for her military. Then again I am uncertain how easy it is to get an early religion on Immortal.

Her UU requires copper or iron, that helps a little. The UB will allow you to drag along an archery unit with an attack force which is an excellent defended on hills. Also Guerilla III Swords have +50% withdrawl chances.

Once you get over the inital empire setup, it's time to roll. I would suggest one of those Big/Little maps, chance for alot of room to fight.

My 2 cents!
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Old Sep 11, 2008, 08:26 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by senor_k View Post
Scout SW, then settle in place.
If it was funny the first time, it's still gotta be funny the 100th time, right?
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Old Sep 11, 2008, 08:54 PM   #5
sylvanllewelyn
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Played Celts twice.

First time: went all-out, ended up in economic disaster. I did salvage the game, but it wasn't pretty.

Second time: found a religion, build stonehenge and adopt state religion to give you +3 hapiness, to state the obvious. Focus on farms to grow your cities larger than everyone else. Build a temple in your capital to get your great prophet faster for the holy shrine, then keep playing your expanding and builder game. No need for war.
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Old Sep 11, 2008, 09:00 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Sisiutil View Post
I'm undecided on the map type, so we can discuss that.
My feeling is that if the advantage of a Guerrilla promotion doesn't show on a Highlands map, then there isn't one.
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Old Sep 11, 2008, 09:06 PM   #7
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You covered a lot of this already in your introductory post, but I pretyped this earlier this morning in anticipation of the thread , so I'll post it anyway ...

I want to preemptively post some rebuttal points for all the people who are inevitably going to tell you how awful the Celts are, because their UU sucks, and blah blah blah, we've heard it all before ...

The Gallic Warrior doesn't suck. Nor does the Dun. They aren't unbelievably fantastically overpowered like Praetorians or Ikhandas, but they're no worse than their non-unique counterparts (unlike Jaguars which are worse in some situations). Gallic Warriors are regular swordsmen plus simpler resource needs and a free Guerilla I promotion. Dun's are regular walls plus free Guerilla I promotions. That's good, not sucky.

See, what people overlook with the Celts, and Boudica in particular, is that she has the two best warmonger traits already. If she also had a unique unit like Praetorians and a unique building that synergized with them, she'd be ludicrously overpowered. Gallic Warriors already get a free Combat I promotion and lowered requirements for additional promotions. Do they really need more? You've got to be kidding. If you can't win your battles with Gallic Warriors, you need to go back to Chieftain for a while to practice your warmongering.

So while I'll readily concede that the Celtic unique unit and building aren't particularly impressive, they don't suck, and they're plenty good for what you need. If you're lucky enough to roll yourself a hilly map, they can be excellent. If not, you're no worse off than you would be without them.

The main point to be made with regard to the Celtic uniques is that they aren't something you need to or want to beeline for in order to take full advantage. Do your research and development as you would in any other game, and when the time comes for a swordsman war, just make sure you're using hills when possible. And prioritize Duns more than you would walls for your military production cities once you learn Masonry.

Last, but not least ... before you dismiss the free Guerilla I too quickly, let's look at what that leads to. Guerilla II gives double movement in hills and +30% hills defense, and don't forget that we now have Guerilla III which gives +25% hills attack and +50% withdrawal chance. That means that all your land units built with a barracks can start with double movement in hills. If you can get them 1 more experience, you have swordsmen with Combat I, 50% extra defense in hills, double movement, and a 50% chance to withdraw from failed combat. Wow!
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Old Sep 11, 2008, 09:12 PM   #8
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I might be wrong, but I don't think there has been a Pangaea ALC game yet. Boudica would be a good leader for a pangaea game, as she is obviously best at early and frequent warfare. I think it would be interesting to see you go for an early domination win on a pangaea map.
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Old Sep 11, 2008, 09:52 PM   #9
Gliese 581
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I don't think building the Stonehenge should be a strategy to aim for. With Boudica it would be better to build a bunch of units and go capture the Stonehenge from a neighbouring civ typically. We just have to admit that the starting techs are quite horrible and make the best of the situation.
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Old Sep 11, 2008, 10:53 PM   #10
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As much as the Celtic UU and UB would flourish on a Highlands map, Boudica's lack of economic traits would be emphasized. Less land to farm for a SE and less cottagable land as well. It is a recipe for economic doom. Doom I say DOOM. It was a scramble getting Harrummy out of the tech whole after the axe rush of Zara. And he is Org. I find most maps have plenty of hilly terrain already. Adding economic doom, doom I say DOOM, in an attempt to bolster a weak UU and UB is not the best way to highlight a leaders traits. Scout out the early surrounding area and decide on your best course for your economy.
Next would be deciding if you can delay REXing to build the Henge. By the time you can chop it out you should know if you have copper available. If so then grab the copper and chop the henge. Boudica can use axewielding settlers if need be. Or Gallic swordsmen. No one has mentioned the fact you can build Gallic swordsmen with copper OR iron. A handy little bit of info to keep in mind. Once you have copper your strategic metal needs are satisfied until crossbows/pikes/knights. plenty of time for an Agg/Char leader to go and gather some up. Most importantly it opens up the possibility of a gallic warrior rush. Unlike normal swordsmen where you have to research IW, look for the iron, settle a city connect the city and mine the iron and connect it. Unless your lucky and get it in an existing city. With Gallics you can start producing them as soon as you research IW if you have managed to snag copper. The copper should be all hooked up and ready to go. You lose a couple of them when you take the first city or two but they are quickly C1/CR2. Which just blast through cities. Don't waste promotions going up the Guerrilla line. 1 or 2 at most for stack protection. But in most cases a C1 gallic swordsman is just as safe on a hill without any further promotion help. IMHO to the best advantage of GS is the ability to build them with copper.
The Dun is a turd. Build one for producing archers for fog busting and protecting mines. If you settle a few cities on hills you may want one for producing defenders, but don't alter city placement to support building a dun.
I would use the added from charasmatic to work extra early cottages to fund research and finance expansion. Granted, I am a devout CE player at heart, but with Boudica's starting techs and her lack of a true financial trait it will take a while to get a SE up and running. If a couple high food city locations (former AI capitals) are available then you can run a nice hybrid economy. Keep in mind your first GP will probably be a prophet if you build the Henge. I like settled Prophets, don't get me wrong, but that raises the price on a GP you can use to bulb a trade tech. Personally I would research the techs that allow him to bulb Theocracy. Mmmmmmm more exp and controling the AP is always nice...as well as future shrine gold and hammers from temples,monastaries and Catherdrals.
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Old Sep 11, 2008, 10:54 PM   #11
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Highlands might be a bit much, but I think Rocky makes more hills.
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Old Sep 11, 2008, 11:01 PM   #12
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madscientist mentioned the copper or iron requirement of gallic swordsmen if I'm not mistaken.
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Old Sep 11, 2008, 11:07 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Gliese 581 View Post
I don't think building the Stonehenge should be a strategy to aim for. With Boudica it would be better to build a bunch of units and go capture the Stonehenge from a neighbouring civ typically. We just have to admit that the starting techs are quite horrible and make the best of the situation.
Too often it is assumed that the wonder in question is in a civ close enough to conquer. Stonehenge is so ridiculously cheap it is one of the few wonders that cost less than the units to capture it from someone else.
Stonhenge is 180
4 Monuments is 180
4 axemen is 208

It takes 11 turns on Epic to reach pop2 if you have a 3food tile in the LSC(Lil Skinny Cross) it takes 17 turns without one. Then 1 turn to whip and 15 more for the first border pop. That is 27-33 turns...or 15 with Stonehenge.

Charasmatic and starting with Myst makes stonehenge a no brainer.
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Old Sep 11, 2008, 11:11 PM   #14
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Actually, starting with Mysticism and Charismatic means you've got a free + building right off the bat. Not too bad. Mysticism has more uses than founding religions.

While I appreciate that movement is less of a consideration on the game speed you're playing, double-move through hills is no bad thing for units that can normally only move one.

All that being said, you don't have to keep cities; razed cities provide a boost to the economy and the only malus is diplomacy.
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Old Sep 11, 2008, 11:16 PM   #15
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Yeah, but you get more than the Stonehenge if you capture it, like a city. Stonehenge is pretty incidental if it's there.
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Old Sep 11, 2008, 11:23 PM   #16
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madscientist mentioned the copper or iron requirement of gallic swordsmen if I'm not mistaken.
Indeed he did. Indeed he did. He also mentions a guerilla2 archer for stack defense. Not a big fan of archers for stack defense. Even a Guerrilla2 archer on a hill is weaker than an unpromoted axeman on a hill.
G2 Archer = 3*1.75= 5.25
Unpromoted axeman = 5*1.25=6.25
The only time it has the advantage is against chariots, and if chariots are a concern then spears are vastly superior for stack defense.
This does not even take into account the Combat1 for aggressive leaders. The only time archery units are good for stack defense is in the x-bow era before knights are available.

Though a dun promoted G2 archer would be a nice choking unit. I haven't seen Sis use the choke exploit yet in an ALC and hope I never do.
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Old Sep 11, 2008, 11:24 PM   #17
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Yeah, but you get more than the Stonehenge if you capture it, like a city. Stonehenge is pretty incidental if it's there.
Again assuming it is in a civ next door.
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Old Sep 11, 2008, 11:28 PM   #18
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Although not utilizing Guerilla II and III would probably be more intelligent from a mechanical viewpoint, it strikes me as somewhat prudent to remember that we are trying to utilize the leader in a way that is conducive to her unique features.

And having said that, having wicked Guerilla III armies would be absolutely terrifying if your cities were on hills from a defensive standpoint, and the bonuses of Guerilla III are not shabby, especially since getting it is much easier with the Dun and Charismatic.
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Old Sep 11, 2008, 11:32 PM   #19
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Solver's unofficial patch
The automatic installer for that patch is supposed to let you install it as a mod, so I think you could run this game as a mod without changing your current default files.
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Old Sep 12, 2008, 12:21 AM   #20
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Somehow I keep struggling with Boudica on monarch. I expected a walk in the park with her with lots of warmongering. I even tried a sort of an RPG with only warrior civics at a certain point but I can't get her game going well to be honest somehow. And I even started with stone in my BFC in one of those games. Stonehenge is a good boost I can give you that. The dun is ok but nothing more then that.
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