A Learning Game (Help me with Monarch)

Somewhat agree with Lymond that you are over thinking the reporting. Nonetheless, I Have Opinions[tm], so I'll be responding to the meta as well.



Also, I will be writing as I go, narrating my thoughts on events and decisions as they happen (so that you can more readily critique my thought processes here and there). If I say something like "I don't know if Shaka has copper" and then I later find out that he does in the same update, for instance, this is the reason why. Do you think this is a bad method?

Anything that exposes your thought process is a great method. Among other things, it saves a bunch of questions when the audience identifies a mistake that you recognize -- we can skip past all of the "what were you thinking? :smoke:" and get on with the analysis.

My immediate tech path is going to look like this...

META: I'm not too keen on screenshots of the tech screen -- it's really not all that well designed for presentation, and we readers don't need to click on it to produce queues of techs to research. The resulting picture is not worth 1000 words.

Much better for us to just list the techs, and number them when you are describing the sequence.

... and if horses are revealed by AH, I'll probably go Wheel ---> Pottery after that, but as of now, the most immediate needs are revealing strategic resources so that I can plan my second city for rushing Shaka.

Good. Here's a question to consider: how does researching Pottery contribute to your plan to rush Shaka?

Pottery is a tremendously important technology to discover. But is it urgent? An important principle -- especially at higher difficulties -- is "that which can wait, must wait."

Broadly, when you ask yourself if a technology is urgent, you normally find an answer in one of three categories

1) Yup, it's urgent.
2) Nope, it's not urgent
3) Nope, it's not urgent, but nothing else is either, and this is the best path to the next milestone.

With my worker finally finished, I ask the following question: do I want a warrior, or do I want another wb for higher food yield and whipping? I think a warrior is a better option for the time being, for a little bit of barb protection.

In the opening, a city can hit diminishing returns on food fairly quickly, because the size of the city gets throttled by the happiness cap. So I often try to sneak in an early warrior to keep the citizens from getting cranky.

In a start with lots of food, working all the improved food tiles to train workers and settlers can be strong. In games where your early plans are peaceful expansion, improved food can be swapped to another nearby city -- as a matter of efficiency, it's important to "always" work your best tiles, but it's not so critical to always work them in the closest/strongest city.

"Food is life." But for rushes, the limiting factor is normally hammers. Surplus food can be converted to hammers, up to a point, but spending more hammers to get more food than you can convert into hammers isn't maximizing your hammers. (there's some mitigation, of course, since you'll want that surplus food eventually).


Upon researching BW, I decide not to adopt slavery yet, while immediate growth is so crucial.

Slavery doesn't offer any passive benefit, you you can wait until you are ready to enjoy the active. That means, among other things, having builds that you want to produce with the whip. Warriors and scouts generally aren't worth it.

Anarchy craters your city production and yields for a time, but your units are unaffected. Ideal times tend to be immediately after producing a worker or settler -- you get the immediate benefit of the unit, and the production benefit for the next unit.

For Spiritual leaders, I generally advise new players to sneak into slavery immediately. Playing anybody else, I've been known to put a sign on the map so that I see it as the unit travels past it.

After I farm the corn, I move my worker 1N to chop the riverside plains. (I was unsure whether or not I should spend another worker turn and chop the grass forest to the east of the capital, but then decided that time was too important, and I would end up using that plains tile because it was riverside.)

On chopping: the health benefit from the forest is about the only thing a plains tile is good until the mid game, so I normally chop those tiles later (if at all).

Some things to consider when choosing which tiles to chop.

1) The improvement that will replace it. My usual ordering in the opening is grassland+riverside+hill, grassland+hill, grassland+riverside, grassland. Mines are usually stronger than cottages, so I'll prioritize those tiles.

2) Movement - two move units like open tiles. This is less of a concern when the road network is in place.

3) Overlap - as mentioned previously, overlays are shared by cities. So those forests in the overlap have count their health bonus (and happy bonus, if you preserve them) twice.

4) Defense - it really sucks when a forest is protecting an enemy stack right next to your city.

After choosing which tiles to chop, I worry about sequencing them. If the mines are more urgent than the hammers, I'll normally go hills first (which also saves a turn moving into the forest a second time). If the hammers are urgent, I'll look at the fastest paths, and usually pick one that ends on the right hill.

Horses are revealed, but in a fairly hard to access spot, and in a food poor region that AFAIK doesn't have access to any food bonuses. If Shaka doesn't have copper, immortals are going to be better than axemen, so I'll need to find a place to settle there, though I'm very much unsure as to where that should be. Your thoughts here would be appreciated.

I think either the plains+hill tile northeast of the horses, or the grassland+hill tile southeast of the horses.

Both put the horses in the inner ring, and save you a road. That translates to making sure you can build Immortals in the capital right away.

The north east location gets a free hammer/turn by settling on the brown hill, and is a little bit closer to the target. The south east location can work the bananas (eventually) and has green tiles available -- it's not going to be a total drag on your nation until Biology comes in.

I'd go south east, myself, guessing that if you can't capture Ulundi with the green hill, then you can't capture it with the brown hill either.

In symbolic form:

Ulundi + Greenhillville >> Ulundi + Brownhillville >>> !Ulundi + Greenhillville
 
Short update on my game, turns 53 to 78.

Spoiler :
T53 - Taking off from previous update, chose Alphabet for research but turned off the slider because I still wasn't 100% sure.
T54 - Spearman in Pasargardae finished, barracks next. Capital chopped into barracks.
T55 - Pasargardae put a chop into barracks.
T56 - Barracks in cap finished, axe in queue. Mine started on grass hill. Scout finds 2 workers in Shaka's land building a pasture on a tile I can't see anything so I know he will have chariots soon. Decide to push the attack anyway and build a couple of spears, so turn research on with the plan to smack him down to 1 town, extort whatever techs I can and then finish him 10 turns after that. :D
T57 - Tokogawa found down south, along with a barb city. Shaka is fully scouted and he I see he has no copper. Chop @ Pasargardae into barracks. It also grows to size 3 this turn and is set to max hammers on rice, copper and PH.
T58 - First axe is out, cap set to *Axeman. Capital is whipped this turn for 2 pop.
T59 - Barracks finished in Pasargardae, build queue set to Spearman followed by *Axeman.
T60 - Cap regrows and is set to max production. Continually chopping and producing axes.
T65 - Cap is set to grow in 3 turns, same as the whip anger diminishing.
T68 - Cap whipped again, set to grow.
T70 - War declared on Shaka, 5 axes and 2 spears in place. Another 5 axes on the way.
Spoiler :

T71 - uMgundlovu defended by 2 archers, it's taken with 1 loss, got lucky there. Research set back to 100%.
T72 - Iron mine scouted in Shaka's newest city. Stack moved to hit Ulundi next turn.
T73 - Ulundi defended by 2 archers and 1 chariot. With a win @18% odds I again get lucky and take it with only 1 loss. Capture a worker.
Spoiler :

T74 - Road connecting Shaka's 2 remaining cities is pillaged so he can't make Impi's/Axe's in his horse city and vice versa.
T77 - Alphabet is in, currency is chosen so I can rebuild the economy. Nobamba is defended by 2 archers and 1 chariot, yet again I get lucky and take it with 1 loss. Peace with Shaka in exchange for Mysticism, Sailing, Masonry, Animal Husbandry and Archery.
T78 - Stopped here, forgot to take a screenshot after the war so took screenshots of the north, middle and south of explored lands.
Spoiler :

Spoiler :

Spoiler :


Plan now is to heal up and consolidate the stack, then hit Shaka's remaining city by landing on and pillaging his iron in the first turn of the war (must build an Immortal for this, have horses now). At some stage I determined I had more than enough axes so I changed both capital and Pasargardae to granaries and started doing cottages around the capital. I didn't note down exactly when I did this sorry!

In hindsight, I probably should have taken his Iron city as my 3rd, then got peace because it a) would have been much easier to take his remaining city if he only has chariots and b) he would have been landlocked with no opportunity to expand which I am hoping he doesn't do during the next 10 turns. Also, as I feared Qin has started to expand to the east into my floodplain land so I need a settler out there asap to block his expansion and force him into the tundra to the north.
 
I always hate when game sits my settler on GH.... it's wasting such great tile, it's 1F3H1C this one - 5 yield tile, which feeds half of the citizen working it.

Since you play on Monarch more thought should be around the move of scout and eventually settler.
I don't think it would cost you game, but the higher you go the more thought you should give into this.

I think I would try move the scout to see more of the east of river since my initial thinking was to move from the hill and the only sensible thing here is 1E or 1W, 2W will be pretty big gamble.

Since map normalizer should give you 3 hills and we see 2 already there had to be another one and the scout move 1E or 1NE would show the 3rd one.

With SIP you limit your capital to only 2 hills which will be problem once you hit some techs which open thing which you would like to build in cottage city (most probably library, university, market probably here too), while whip can go a long way, all of these are costly in pop-whip (library 2-3, university 5+, market 4-5 usually too).

Other then that the spot screams fishing, bw, pottery. A little bit problem with the dry corn, not sure if worker first is guaranteed here.

You could part build the worker and once you hit fishing switch into workboat and work highest hammer yield tile, then finish worker. Since you don't have 0f3H tile it is possible give it more thought about growing size 2 and whip worker after BW if you can reach it to sync in some sensible way.

the dry corn here is somewhat trap imo.
 
I'm late to the party, but i probably would've settled 1E to avoid ruining a nice riverside grass hill that could've been worked before BW. As it stands, your capitol has zilch for production until 2 forests are chopped and those hills are mined. Even with those two mines, the cap is still pretty hammer-poor which will slow down your Immortal rush a bit.

You may end up with Iron on that unforested grass tile to the west, which would help, but not in time to aid your rush.
 
Sorry for not getting back to you all in a reasonable amount of time - I was fairly busy today, and while I had prepared a long post in response to all of your feedback, unfortunately, my laptop shut off and I lost it to the torch. :(

Something has come up, however, and I won't be able to keep playing for a while (quite contrary to my will). If I'm lucky, I should be back in a couple of days (if not sooner) but it may be much longer than that. A huge disappointment, since I've really enjoyed the game and all of the help and discussion in this thread.

For those of you who are playing parallel games, please don't feel discouraged to keep playing. I don't mind at all as long as it's in spoilers. ;)

That said, I reluctantly leave you for some time, perhaps not much. We'll see.

Until later!
 
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