Advanced Civ Play-Along Game


AdvCiv for life
Oct 8, 2005
We're taking the latest version of Advanced Civ out for a spin - play along and tell us how it goes!

Advanced Civ, developed by @f1rpo, makes only minor changes to gameplay but major improvements to AI performance. For our play-along game, we'll be using the latest version (1.07) which you can download here.

Similar to the Game of the Month format, we will all play the same 4000AD save posted downthread, discuss strategies, update each other on our progress, and compare outcomes. You're welcome to join, even if - in fact, especially if - you haven't played AdvCiv before. Get to know this excellent mod and up your game.

We'll be playing a huge Perfect Mongoose map with standard settings, with 12 randomly chosen civilizations with random personality leaders, on marathon speed and Monarch difficulty.

Tech trading, vassal states and cultural victory are turned off, along with tribal villages and random events.

The starting save along with more information is posted below. You can download and start playing right away.

You have until the end of September to post updates and submit your final save at the game's conclusion.
... and here is the save, along with a screenshot of our starting location.

We'll be playing as Ghandi of India.

Ghandi is Philosophical (+80% GP birth-rate and double speed universities) and Spiritual (no anarchy and double speed temples).

His UU is the fast worker, his UB the mausoleum. He starts with Mysticism, Mining and a warrior.

What are you going to do with this abundant starting location?

AdvCivPlayalong Start0000.JPG


  • AdvCivPlayalong BC-4000.CivBeyondSwordSave
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With GotMs, some people post their thoughts on the chosen civ and starting location before they start playing.

Mine are:

1. I love Ghandi for the ability to switch civics and religion without anarchy and the fast worker UU, which yields significant efficiency gains for the entire duration of the game. I'll probably go for an early religion -- bear in mind that this is very possible with AdvCiv, as most AIs prioritize tile-improvment techs in the first 100 turns.

2. Unless my warrior uncovers anything sensational from the hill to the east, I'll found in place and maybe leverage food resources with overlap from my second city.

3. Generally, my strategy for huge, more spacious maps is to settle peacefully and expand against weaker neighbors opportunistically; a good fit for Ghandi.

Reminder: We are playing with tech trading off - this means you cannot extort or offer a technology as part of a peace agreement.
Thanks for organizing this.

First thoughts from looking at the screenshot:
Spoiler :
I can also only see myself move east here, getting fresh water from the Oasis – if the Warrior spots something. Losing 1 turn wouldn't matter a great deal on Marathon. We don't have the tech to improve any of our resources, improved Ivory will only yield one more food plus production than an Oasis, and the dry Wheat also isn't that powerful. I'm tempted to produce a settler before a worker here (possibly a Warrior first of all, to grow to size 2, working the Ivory until the borders expand), also bearing in mind how spacious the map is. The 100 or so turns that it takes to get a settler and worker should be enough to research BW, Hunting, Fishing and Agriculture. Could perhaps even fit a religion tech in there. That being said, improved Wheat is a far better tile than an Oasis. Will become clearer when I see the turn counts in the game.

In any case, placing the second city near Copper or Horse (unlikely to be revealed by then?) would be a great advantage against the Barbarians.

I spot Jungle to the southwest, the desert belt is apparently to the north. Actually, some of the Plains around us were probably converted from Desert after placing the starting site. (This version of PerfectMongoose is unlikely to place Oases at the edge of a desert. Edit: Though it could also be that the Oases were placed to sweeten the starting site.) Deserts can be quite expansive with this script, so I expect to find the best city sites along the horizontal axis.
Some relevant rule changes in the mod that come to mind: Apart from the Philosophical trait granting only +80% GPP (as already pointed out), the Fast Worker has been nerfed a lot: Only has 2 moves and ignores extra movement costs. I.e. it'll mainly save a little time on chopping and mining. Marathon is only 2.5 times slower than Normal speed, not 3 times, except for unit production, which is 2 times slower, as in BtS. This means that unit production is not advantaged as much as in BtS. Border expansion is only 2 times slower than on Normal speed (3 times in BtS), i.e.the first border pop will happen 10 turns after founding the capital. I would expect Barbarian units to appear around turn 100. By that time, the two earliest religions will probably be gone too. The K-Mod/AdvCiv is a good deal slower at founding them than the BtS AI. Not sure until which turn it's pretty safe to aim at a religion; 50 perhaps. Barbarian activity is speed-adjusted and ramps up more gradually than in BtS - but is normally still tough to handle on a Huge map with 12 civs, edit: considering also the mod's reduced fogbusting range. With such abundant food, it might be worth pointing out that the mod reduces the Slavery yield by 20%.

To get a better impression of the map script, the screenshots I've attached to this post could be helpful.
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OK, I've founded my capital. I'll map out my plan for the next few dozen turns (spoiler, with screenshot) and then wait for a few days and maybe post again when I'm founding a second city.
Spoiler :

Having seen the production turns in the game, I've gone with the usual worker-first. I guess workers being relatively cheaper than settlers on Marathon tips the scales for me. That'll take 30 turns, another 13 to build the Farm. So Hunting will only be needed in ca. 45 turns; can do Agriculture and Fishing before that, so that the next city production will be a Work Boat while growing to size 2. Next research BW because chopping will be the only useful thing for the worker to do. I don't think I'll get it right on time; can't be helped. Maybe another Warrior to grow to size 3, but I think I'll rather do the settler already at size 2 unless the starting Warrior gets eaten by a Lion. With both Hunting and Agriculture in the bag, AH might come in time to reveal Horse before placing the 2nd city - assuming that there will be no nearby Copper. If neither Copper nor Horse, then extra Warriors and probably Archery.

Exploration won't really matter until BW is discovered. By that time, it'll be good to know the surroundings of all potential sites for the 2nd city - to decide whether to do AH next or maybe rather the Wheel or possibly Masonry (will probably be too late for a religion tech then). Even just with the one Warrior (and possible detours for safety from Animals), there is enough time for a full sweep from east of the bay(?) to west. This should be more efficient than starting in the west, where a peninsula might curl up to the hill south of Delhi.
edit: typo
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Great! I haven't started yet but will do so tonight or tomorrow, and post (spoilered) updates after 100 turns and then whenever I made a strategic decision.

Some preliminary thoughts:

I see no reason not to found in place and lose one of those fringe food plots - it's a great start for settler pumping. I often wind up founding my second city with some overlap from the capital, to share a food ressource.

I'll open with warrior while researching fishing, then build a workboat for the fish.
We have mining, so I'll go bronze working, then argiculture and either the wheel or meditation, building warriors and a worker and trying to grow to 4 for a quick settler chop/whip, as circumstances suggest.

My exploration strategy will be to follow the coasts and fully expose a 15 tile radius across all land surrounding my capital, then get home to fogbust at around turn 100.

I will make a try for meditation / Buddhism unless I find many early happiness resources nearby.
hey guys

so how does this work ? what do i need to do?
Heya Keldath,

just download the save game at the end of the first post in this thread.

The play it some, maybe take a screenshot or two, and tell us (in a spoilered post, like f1rpo above) how your game went by the time you reach turn 100 or so.

We'll do the same and ... hoppefully learn something about srategy and how the game plays out differently.

Okay, here is my turn 101 write-up. Spoilers ahead:

Spoiler Turn 101 :

I pretty much did what I said I would: Explore along the coasts while building a workboat.

Met Ragnar and Saladin on turn 8 and 13 respectively and, by turn 35, had eyes on their capitals.

BW came in on turn 48 and, seeing as I wouldn't have a worker in time anyway, I went Meditation and founded Buddhism on turn 66. I then went agriculture, whipped a worker and had him chop the two riverine forests, queue-switching warrior and settler. I whipped him on turn 91 and sent him 4E 1S, to leverage the fish, get access to the floodplains ... but more importantly to block off Ragnar and keep the souther peninsula in play for my early rex.

This would give me an easy to defend frontier with Saladin and force him into conflict with Ragnar. After that I'll settle north of the capital, and get the copper. Later, I'll try and snip off the northern area as well, then settle the lands to the west at my leisure. So, a passive-aggressive strategy. Here's my dotmap.

For tech strategy, I am thinking about prioritizing monotheism, to spread Buddhism more easily.


Moving right along ...

Spoiler Turn168 :

After settling Bombay, I used the city to produce warriors and workers; and warriors and settlers in the capital. I whip-chopped the latter in 122 and founded Viya... city 3 on turn 126, securing the gold.

My techpath was archery, sailing, pottery.


Having many warriors, settling adjacent to AIs and having a culturally strong capital is making fogbusting easy so far; I only have one archer by 168, but look at how well busted my nascent empire is ... :)

City four nonetheless is for the Copper, while the capital will switch to Monastery and Missionaries to get them all popping.


On Turn 261 now, here's what happened since my last save, 192.

Spoiler Barbs and Ragnar :

Most of the intervening turns were spent on building archers and spreading my religion. Slow and tense turns, with Ragnar building up a stack of 7 chariots. On 215 he converts to Buddhism, but still keeps massing chariots in Upsala.

Note the galley - as soon as I see barb galleys, I rush one or even two galleys of my own. It's best to fight them early and hard, on the sea. If they take hold, they will ship in an endless stream of raiders, among them axemen and you will spend endless hammers on getting rid of them.


I built walls around the frontier cities and rushed spearmen as soon as the borders of the northern city popped. And on 236, he declares war. On Saladin. Phew.

My next turns are spent building up an army of axemen to attack Uppsala as soon as Ragnar's forces are spent. I don't want him coming out on top of the already weak Saladin. Maybe I can hamstring him and out-grow him before we reach the middle ages? I sure as hell don't want to be up against a Viking army comprised of Berserkers...


Post-war report.

Spoiler Strategy Review :

So this is the situation on the turn that Ragnar sued for peace.


I declared on 269, on the turn that Saladin made peace, and took Uppsala with a stack of three axes, three spears and an archer against an archer and three chariots; then liberated Medina with one spearman against a chariot, to curry favor with Saladin, whom I hope to convert and turn into an ally.

I took some turns to ravage the countryside around Nidaros while Ragnar whipped up new chariots and catapults. I chewed up what I could and agreed to peace on turn 640.

Forgot to mention that I researched and changed into Monotheism. Also built a temple at Dheli and am running a priest, to get a great prophet for the shrine.

Unless something unexpected happens, my strategy will be to build 2 plump new cities on the southern peninsula, missionize Saladin and stack all my troops in Uppsala, in case Ragnar decides to attack.

I'm teching to mathematics and on to construction, for catapults. After that might be currency, depending on how much I reuin my research with new cities ... :)

Turn 386.

Spoiler The Known World (major spoiler) :

I've been expanding my empire while teching up to construction and then iron working - the first are defensive, in case Ragnar attacks, the latter is for clearing jungle.

I've also sailed around the southern seas and discovered a pretty sizeable island group the the SW and circumnavigated Mongolia. The Khan has been leading in score and I'm glad to have Ragnar as a buffer, My eyes are now set on the fringe cities up nortn and along the coasts. Four or five more cities, and I'll run out of space to settle.

Ragnar tried to attack me on turn 362, but with only two catapults and a force comprised mostly of chariots and archers, my spearmen made short work of them. I also razed a settlement north of Odessa, with a chariot, axeman, spearman combo. He sued for peace after 3 turns.


I then continued settling, going down to 20% research at times ... counting down turns for the arrival of The Prophet, who promptly built his shrine in Delhi and saved my finances.

Unfortunately, I was beaten to the northern gems - by Kublai Khan, of all people. It's a very exposed city, hemmed in by recent Roman settlements to the north and with lots of work to be done before it can grow. I reckon I'll make nice with Khan for the time being and snatch the city when I really need it.

My strategy is now to improve efficiency of the empire, so I can keep up in military tech. Here's what I know of the world.


I'm on turn 429 ...

Spoiler Ragnar defeated! :

My peaceful expansion and consolidation phase didn't last long. I built a few cities along the western coast, built libraries and temples and am finally on track to get my Moais set up on the southern peninsula.

Then Ragnar made the mistake of declaring on Kublai Khan - his fourth or fifth war. I let him take Samarkand in the north, then declared on him, destroying one city NW of Nidaros and harrassed his cities on the Arabian border, pillaging all his improvements and forcing him to whip an army of archers in defense of s siege that never came. Instead, I liberated Samarkand and advanced on the capital.

Ragnar made peace with the Khan, but his main stack of horsemen, swords and catapults kept going back and forth between Odessa, which he bombarded for a bit but didn't attack, and 2 other cities which I threatened. I finally whipped up enough catapults to destroy this stack and then went at Nidaros with all I had (left), barely taking the city on 429.

In between, I had Madras taken by 4 seaborne barb galleys that dropped off 3 swords and one axe, so I had to re-take it.

I also newly founded Madras and Ahmadabad because I finally discovered currency; detoured to horseback riding for elephants and am now on to code of laws. With these in place, I should finally tech up into the middle ages and be armed against berserkers or whatever Julius Caesar might throw against me.

The Khan and Saladin are both co-religionists and pleased/friendly respectively. Liberating cities really works a charm for foreign relations.

I hope that Ragnar's spine has finally been snapped with this. As a financial and aggressive leader and blessed with an exceptionally good starting location, I reckon he would have been a real terror if left to grow. As it stands, I am now at eye level with the Khan and in a good position to tech ahead of Saaldin and Ragnar, expand my empire and attain dominance of the southern part of the continent. Meanwhile, Joao and Boudica are set to dominate the north, but one must never ruile out Tokugawa and his samurai ...

I wish I had spent a bit more on my navy or at least better exploration of the north. Not really sure what I'm up against beyond my immediate neighbors.


Last strategy decision of the day. :)

Spoiler Turn 518 :

Teched to Monarchy, Feudalism, Alphabet, then Aesthetics and Lit, now on to Machinery, in preparation of an attack on the Khan, for his gems and his dye cities.

I've been holding off on it for dozens of turns now, still building my army and infrastructure. Just acquired a full map of our continent through map trading. Joao is the guy to beat, he's already building carracks and will soon be spreading like cancer. Me, I'm making a run for the western isles, where i have two new cities founded, and room for six or so more.

The game is very strategic at this point and I'm loving it. Here's the map of the known world, AD 1140.


And this is who rules.

Btw, I went with a 12 / 6 / 6 espiionage split between ragnar, saladin and khan, respectively. I've only just chaged it to 6663333. with the sixes going to khan, saladin, and ragnar.

My empire is in pretty good shape, I'm running a plus at 70% tech thanks to good trade deals and decent number of gold, cottages and water tiles worked; still growing gangbusters. Whipped courthouses everywhere and developed the many calendar resources. Nidaros was a real prize, with two great generals settled, plus mature cottages and gold. Ragnar's been pretty docile, think I broke him.

I will keep pouring settlers onto that island in the south west and want to build the lit wonders soon. I haven't had a single GP since the prophet.

The war strategy for Khan is to attack and raze Turfan from Ragnar's land, which is guarded by only onearcher and will cut off his main army in Samarkand. He hasn't got much, some 7 units, and will probably come rushing back for Turfan. Meanwhile, my second force will take Ortrar, the gem city. There's only an archer and an axeman there to face my three cats, two elephants and axes.

Capturing Ortrar and razing Turfan are the smain goals of the campaign; I'll take a stab at Samarkand (for its dyes) with whatever troops are left, then sue for peace.

And then we'll see whether we stand a chance against Joao, who btw built the Apostolic Palace for Judaism.

Here's how it went ... g'night.

Spoiler The known world, and who rules it :


The war went as expected, except I didn't raze but keep Turfan. Now i have to contend with Ragnar, culture pumping from his new capital and spamming settlers, presumably for the isles in the south west ...

I guess I'm going to tech to trebuchets, build some fat stacks and either attack Ragnar, Julius, or Saladin ... or wait a while and clear the isles of barbs and settle more.

Joao doesn't seem all that far ahead anymore. Maybe I can become the dominant power on the continent with the advent of riflemen?
All right, here we go! I have thus far played to AD 640.

I did take some notes/screenshots at a few particular times, but keep in mind that this write-up is all after my last session. I played fairly fast though (one of my bad habits in this game), so I do believe I can provide my thoughts at the earlier stages in the game without factoring in what I know at this later time.

I haven't read anything of what you guys have written here yet, except the initial 2 posts. I'm really looking forward to comparing notes after providing mine! This will be fun.

Spoiler Turn 0 :

After moving my warrior to the hill to the east, I decided upon settling where the Settler spawned. The start looks okay. Nice food output, and a happiness resource. Hopefully the surrounding area isn't too dry; we have desert and plains to the north and east.

Spoiler Turn 64 :

I like growing my first city a bit before building a Settler. I went for Fast Worker, then an additional Warrior and a Work Boat, and aimed upon completing my first Settler around the time Bronze Working has been researched. As for founding my first city, two different locations both seemed attractive:


This is admittedly a pretty slow 2nd city, but given the extra spacious settings, I don't fear being somewhat lax. The east-location will be a great commerce city, but it's a bit far away, and I will have to give up the fast Copper. So I decided upon the north spot. The east spot is intentionally placed with a gap for a filler city next to the Fish later on.

Spoiler Turn 137-152 :


This is the tech tree as of turn 137. By turn 152, I have founded the 3rd city. Just after founding the 2nd city, I realized Ragnar was pretty close. Luckily he didn't seem to interested in settling west, so I managed to get the city spot of choice.


All in all, I foresee getting a good amount of space, with natural looking borders to the north. A peninsular geography will probably work out good for our empire.

Spoiler Turn 217 :

War! Randomized-Ragnar lives up to his non-randomized nature, and declares war on Saladin. Thus a golden opportunity presents itself for me to nab a free city:


Haithabu falls easily, and I even capture a Worker to boot. However, Ragnar quickly made peace with Saladin and mobilized to defend Nidaros, so his capital lives to fight another day, but not before I have pillaged most of its tiles.

Spoiler Turn 269 :


The AD era begins. I think my position looks quite promising. My empire seems generally able lead in tech, and Ragnar, having mobilized, remain the only significant military threat. I am mostly focused on peaceful expansion at this point. Getting currency will be huge for Wealth production, as I am currently relying on producing Research. After that, the plan is to get Monarchy and then Feudalism. I think Vassalage is pretty darn good in Advciv, and with the numbers of cities (and perhaps one day a large colonial empire on the big island to the south), I think it will remain strong for a large portion of the game.

Spoiler Turn 315 :

Ragnar is clearly blood thirsty, and he behaves very threateningly.


However, he doesn't declare. His army soon relocates. Maybe he was scared by my equally large stack? Since last time, I have converted to Confucianism. Had tech trading been on, I might have stayed on Joao's good side, but he is apparently far away, so I'd much rather prefer having Ragnar and Kublai not being annoyed.

At this point, I just need some siege weapons to be fully prepared for war.

Spoiler Turn 334 :

War! Ragnar stabs his friend Kublai in the back, granting me yet another opportunity to gain so much, for so little. Kublai even asks me to join just 2-3 turns before I would've declared anyway, so I get a nice boost to relations as well. Both Birka and Nidaros fall, for almost no cost. With Ragnar crippled, and still a lot of room to expand, my position looks quite promising. Below I have one screenshot detaling the demographics, the zoomed out map, and the foreign relations. In the Demographics-screenshot I intentionally put the Research Slider on break-even, so that long term GNP is most fairly represented.







Spoiler Closing thoughts :

  • I have never played a GOTM-style game before, and, as previously stated, I have not had a look at how you guys did your write ups before finishing this (as to not spoil myself). So let me know if you have any criticism on how I did this write up. Too much detail, to little, or too concentrated? Too many or too large screenshots? Anything else? Let me know!
  • I think this start is pretty darn powerful, but I keep having to remind myself that there should indeed be more space than usual. Even still, looking so good on the Demographics screen so early seems quite comfortable. I feel a bit rusty gameplay wise, so I'm glad I did not mess up too much early on.
  • I believe I'm in company of stronger players than me here. If any of you see any glaring weak points in my play (and bother pointing them out), it would be interesting to know!
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I might read some of your spoilers before I finish my own game but will have to play a bit farther first. Played only 64 turns yet and now find myself at a crossroads (the first one really since deciding on my first tech to research):
Spoiler :
The game so far: As planned, I settled Delhi in place, worker first, Agriculture, then Fishing, exploration starting SE.
Screenshot on t16 (3680 BC):

I initially explored the S a little less than I would've liked in order to escape from a Lion. Going NE from there, I came across Ragnar's borders on t12. Random Personalities, so, no sweat. He is pretty close, just 12 moves between our capitals, for such a sparsely populated map, but not necessarily close enough for a Warrior rush, and Delhi is badly suited for that, lacking any 3-production tile. Between the desert, jungle, bay and Ragnar, it seems that good city sites will be somewhat scarce. Settling in the flood plains right in between our capitals would secure a strong, contested site (Financial trait should make Ragnar extra keen on it) and would probably block Ragnar from any sites to the S of Delhi. Not likely to give me early access to a strategic resource though.

My worker finished on t30 and improved the Wheat. Work Boat next, and Hunting after Fishing, then BW. (Forgot Hunting at first but remembered in time to switch from BW.) After running some numbers, I determined that it was pretty clearly best to grow to size 3 (not to size 2 as I had initially intended) while producing the Work Boat.

While exploring the northern rim of the desert, I spotted a Lion and Wolf. The Wolf ended up attacking me on a Desert hill, dealing 0 damage. The desert almost directly transitions to jungle in the north, and, to keep my Warrior safe, I didn't explore any of that jungle. In the W and SW, I found less to explore than anticipated; the coast is pretty close. I finished exploring along the eastern shore of the bay then.

On t43 (3140 BC), Saladin's Warrior approached my borders from the SE. Based on the timing, I expect that his capital is some distance directly S of Ragnar's.

On t55 (2900 BC), my worker ran out of work with 11 turns to go until BW. Decided to build a (non-River) Plains Hill Mine, which should give the city some more flexibility at some point in the future – and makes the worker available almost as soon as BW finishes.

On t59 (2820 BC), the Work Boat finished, and I started a settler, taking a projected 25 turns by working the three improved tiles (Wheat, Fish, Ivory). Will be able to chop once, bringing the production time down to 21 turns.

On t64 (2720 BC), BW has finished, and, to choose my next tech, it's necessary to plan ahead for some 50-100 turns. Screenshot:

My default plan on a map with a lot of space for Barbarians is to place the second city adjacent to Copper or Horse. One Copper source does exist, but it's on Flat Desert (same yield as a Plains Hill Mine), and all adjacent city sites are poor. The least bad option would seem to be SW of the Copper, stealing an Oasis from Delhi and never growing beyond size 2. The four adjacent Forests could power an Axeman rush against Ragnar, but I think I can manage Ragnar better through forward settling. Also a little risky; he may have easy access to Copper, has already finished BW one turn before me and has the Aggressive trait.

There is still time to find a Horse - 17 turns to AH, settler finishes in 16. However, there are fewer than a dozen nearby tiles where a Horse could exist (non-River Flat Plains or Grassland, not adjacent to another resource), and just half of those in places where I would consider placing my 2nd city. So this probably won't pan out.

Claiming the Stone for an early Great Wall seems like a viable play (or also Pyramids) but would likely cause Ragnar to expand to his SW. Also, Desert Quarry takes a lot of worker turns without providing a decent tile yield, and Masonry is a dead end until Construction.

With all the hostile terrain around me, keeping Barbarians in check with just Warriors and Archers (even just Warriors?) might not be so difficult. Let's see:
Given that jungle is unlikely to spawn Barbarians, the W and SW is pretty much secured, the more so once Delhi's borders expand on t105. To the NW, there's a savanna-like patch that ought to be fog-busted. The NE is just desert and jungle, but a lot of it, not feasible to fog-bust, so something will probably arrive from that direction before long. A couple of units near the capital should be able to deal with that. The flood plains to the E is where I'd place my second city. That city will be exposed from the N and, more so, from the S. The southern region should be fog-busted with 3 units, but that'll take a while to set up; so the flood plains city will need to be defended and may struggle to keep its improvements safe.

With Archery, this sounds quite doable, sth. like 4 Warriors and 3 Archers should suffice until the Barbarians get BW. By then, I'll need either Copper or IW. With all the food at the capital and in the flood plains, I'll want Libraries before IW, so I'll probably place my third city at the Copper-Cow-Jungle Gems spot and expand borders through a (chopped) Monument.

So: Settle near the Gold and then spam Warriors and Archers for some time.
Might I have time for founding a religion? The only near-future benefit would be to quickly expand the borders of my second city and to strengthen it against any encroachment from Ragnar. For this to work, the city would have to be founded before the religion. Meditation takes 17 turns. I can beat that if I whip the settler on the turn that the Forest chop finishes (if I've done the math right). Polytheism would take 21 turns. I don't think the AI generally prefers Meditation much over Polytheism, if at all, so Meditation seems like the better bet. Either way, I see a high chance, at least 50%, of being beaten to it by one the 11 other civs. Arabia, for one, starts with Mysticism.

A border pop isn't particularly needed if I found W of the Gold, but it would enable a greedier site: at the coast, claiming both Gold. That city could co-exist with a Stone-Flood Plains city. Ragnar would struggle against my culture in that spot, and a potential Viking city between the Ivory and Cow looks too weak to happen anytime soon. Could also connect that double-Gold city via Sailing, whereas connecting the single-Gold city would require 5 Road segments.

Time-line: I'm in no rush with the third city, so I intend to train some combat units and one or two workers before that; they're just so cheap on Marathon. Should take at least 50 turns until I have the third city and at least 15 more to expand its borders. So Meditation (17 turns), then Archery (13 turns), then Wheel+Pottery (13+14), then AH (probably just 15~16 by then through diffusion). Pottery because I'd rather not farm every Flood Plains. This should give me AH still in time for the Cow, maybe a few turns late.

The main downside of Meditation is that I could otherwise avoid that tech indefinitely, and making that detour will matter eventually, maybe for getting Writing in time or IW. And there's the risk of losing up to 16 turns of research entirely if I'm beaten to it. I think I'll go with it anyway because it's an unusual play (for me at least), one that wouldn't be possible in BtS (AI goes for religions earlier in BtS), and it's not an irresponsible risk.
I'm now at Turn 439 (AD 1320).

Spoiler Turn 334 - 439 :

This period has been great for our empire. I had another quick war with Ragnar, capturing Medina, in addition to the Barbarian city of Cimmerian he had just captured (he beat me by a couple of turns in taking said city).

Then I mass produced Settlers and Workers, filling in most of the available space I had saved. I had to cancel Open Borders with my good buddy Saladin in order to ensure the small island with Fish and Crab for myself (luckily I noticed his Galley before it was too late).

Research wise, I completed Calendar, then I went Metal Casting -> Code of Laws -> Civil Service -> Machinery -> Engineering -> Aesthetics -> Drama -> Paper and now I'm currently researching Education. The plan is to grab Liberalism first, which I don't think will be a problem at all. The known AIs are quite far behind.

While I'm going for Liberalism, I plan on taking on Ragnar once more. I demanded tribute from him a bit earlier, which he agreed to. So I may wait until he forgets about it before declaring. Ragnar once again finds himself at war, this time with Kublai. I have in general been very slow with exploring the map, so I did not know exactly how the war turned out until Saladin and Kublai gave me their World Map. Ragnar is winning, but I prefer having him weaken Kublai. At one point, I actually declined helping Kublai out. I was strecthed quite thinly, and was preoccupied with the settler spam. In any case, both Saladin, Ragnar and Kublai seem to be easy pickings later.

However, after my city spamming, I need some courthouses to support a large conquest. Thus I adopted Organized Religion to save some time building them, as Confucianism actually has spread to enough cities by now to be worth the extra upkeep.

The long term threat seems to be Julius. I could also weaken him before picking off Ragnar and Kublai, but that will require some more build up. I am number 1 in military, but ideally I'll have a stronger military tech lead before messing with him.

In short, my position has far exceeded my expectations. I think I got lucky with Ragnar weakening Saladin so early, while letting me chip away at his empire piece by piece.

Below are screenshots showing the zoomed out map, the demographics screen, the tech tree and the foreign relations.








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