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Advanced Civ Play-Along Game

I've read both your long posts, f1rpo. Got to keep exposing myself to your prose :lol:
On a more serious note, though, I have really been enjoying both! It's so much fun getting a glimpse into how others are playing this game after so many years playing on and off. [...] I will try reloading the same turn a few times and do some different actions, and see if I can get it to crash again!
As I suspected then. I really have not been playing much with this option at all in AdvCiv! I used to play with it enabled all the time in vanilla.
The first-impression and rank-based modifiers are always hidden in Vanilla, AdvCiv just doesn't unhide them when Random Personalities are enabled. But I guess AdvCiv differs from BULL in this regard.

I've read Jorunkun's posts up to t429 ("Ragnar defeated") and Santa's first post (up to AD 640). More on that on another day. Seems that my game diverged pretty early on due to Ragnar remaining peaceful (for longer).
I haven't played far, just about 50 more turns, until AD 530, but this seems like a good time to report in because I've managed to get myself in a defensive war, lost a city and seem on track to losing another. I suppose it's my unfamiliarity with the settings – how it's harder on Marathon to muster a strong defense at the last instant and especially with such a large empire (10 cities, generously spaced), maybe also the lack of tech trades for keeping relations just as good as they have to be. Looking at the bright side, temporarily losing 2 cities out of 10 is not a huge deal.
Spoiler :
Spoiler :
Originally, two turns earlier, all those units of Ragnar were in one stack at Uppsala, Ragnar's 2nd city, as you can still see, culturally oppressed by my Holy City of Bombay and by Pataliputra. I expected the stack to move diagonally toward Pataliputra, crossing the river, and, thus, for lack of a Road NW of Uppsala, give me 2 turns to respond. Pataliputra had 40% culture defense and was constructing Walls in anticipation of bombardment. Should've started that earlier, if at all; still had 3 turns to go when the city was taken. And my garrison was the stack now SW of the city, plus another Spearman that has died defending the city. That garrison alone was only intended against a Mounted-only attack – although I deemed such an attack unlikely. 3 of the 4 units in Bombay were supposed to join the defenders in Pataliputra once the Viking stack got moving. I noticed the lack of a suitable road almost too late; it's still one turn from being completed now.

When the Vikings did attack, they moved straight onto the Gold Mine, threatening both my cities with 4 Horse Archers and a Chariot. I reckoned that they would continue to the Hill NE of Bombay, and felt fairly optimistic that the AI isn't flexible enough to split off multiple fast-movers for an attack against Pataliputra if Bombay is the target city. In any case, it wasn't possible to secure both cities, and Bombay is more important to keep, so I moved Pataliputra's garrison toward Bombay, protecting my road-building stack of workers along the way. I did leave one Spear behind to deter an opportunistic single-unit attack by the AI.

I suppose the AI re-evaluated its target city after my move and did know how to send in just the fast movers against the new target. My Spearman killed one HA, forced a second to withdraw, damaged the third only lightly. As for the 3-unit stack in the N, I suppose the Vikings left that behind when declaring war and moved it, presumably, toward Lahore (my city placed for depriving Ragnar of Iron) after capturing Pataliputra. My Axeman is woefully ill-suited for defending against that. I could double-whip a Spearman now, but I don't think there would be enough overflow for completing another defender in time. So this might be my best bet if I want to abandon Lahore – I'd get the Spear in time to move it away. Recapturing the city shouldn't be difficult; bringing just one more Spear, whipped in Vijaynagar, might be enough. (Though I may rather want to use those units to stabilize things near Bombay.) If I want to have a chance to hold the city, I should put one turn of production into the Spear (avoiding a penalty on hurry production), then whip, then get another unit from overflow, probably just an Archer. Still, the Spear and Axe alone would have to hold out for 1 turn, and I think the odds for that are too slim as the attackers also have some promotions. It's also conceivable that those 3 units are just pillagers aiming for the Iron Mine; in that case, I shouldn't vacate the city – but it seems unlikely.

Near Bombay, I should probably sacrifice one worker to finish the Road and move the stack to Bombay in one turn. I expect that the Catapult stack will then move into Pataliputra. If Lahore falls, I could only see the Vikings concentrating all forces on Bombay afterwards, possibly after healing the lightly damaged HA.

Another concern is Sal, who is Pleased (despite not having converted to Buddhism) and probably wasn't preparing against me thus far, but Ragnar's war will make me look very vulnerable. Sal has 3 Axes, 2 Chariots and 2 Archers in Najran. That stack hasn't grown for at least 25 turns. If I were him, I'd walk straight into Agra, but the AI will need a large enough stack to get going; the Archers are city defenders, one of the Chariots might also have a defensive role (counterattack), and 4 units is (likely) not going to be enough for a city-attack stack. Still, has to be expected to begin war preparations, and they may not last long. It could also be that Sal has serious scruples attacking at Pleased and a long fuse for attacking anyone, but his very favorable first impression of Kublai Khan (+3 hidden modifier despite being ranked behind Kublai) suggests otherwise. I've identified Kublai's personality as Suryavarman's – only Sury and Wang Kon have Caste System as their favorite civic (Sury had Org. Religion in BtS, the only fave civic that the mod changes), and Wang Kon wouldn't have a negative first impression of Boudica and the other peaceful civs in the north. I think "middle of the road" was a too optimistic assessment of my neighbors. (On a side note, favorite civics really should be based on the visible leader type.)

So it looks like I'll have to militarize quite a bit. Once I get Machinery (6 turns), I'll have access to Maces and Crossbows, which aren't even that helpful against Ragnar, but would help a lot against Sal.

How did we get here?
Spoiler :
On t298, AD 280, Ragnar was still Pleased, didn't seem to prepare for war and had no Catapults and no War Elephant. He was, however, moving a settler through my territory, presumably, to settle near the eastmost Banana. Rome had already placed Circei, or how it is referred to in my people's language, Brazenville, up there 6 turns earlier. Nowhere else Julius could've settled, huh? And this greedy site makes the Clam impossible for me to reach and has no Fresh Water. So my plan was to just ignore that city, stubbornly settle 3E of it where I had been meaning to settle and raze Circei at a convenient time, i.e. probably upon reaching Maces and Xbows, which are excellent against Legionaries. Ragnar founding a little Banana colony wouldn't really have upset my plans much; I could've just conquered and kept Circei then. It's even possible that his settler would've turned back; Ragnar couldn't have been aware of the Roman city yet. I guess it irked me that my attempts at stifling Ragnar were going to backfire a little.

So, OB canceled, Roman trade routes fill in for the Vikings', Ragnar's attitude drops to +4 Cautious – maybe just 1 under Cautious, but, without tech trading, even +1 relations isn't attainable at will. Ragnar never agreed to reopen borders (expected duration of refusal should be 20 turns on Marathon). Kublai had taken the last measly spot near Ragnar a little while earlier, and, since Ragnar has no productive coastal cities, he also wasn't able to train a Galley, so his settler sulks in Nidaros to this day.

I've also explored the north more, finally making a Galley available for that, in the NW, and an Archer in the NE:
Spoiler :
There seems to be more space up there than in the south and, correspondinly, more Barbarian activity. Japan has lost at least 1 city (Tokyo) to the Barbarians, Rome at least 2, both recently (Neapolis on t308, Arpinum on t302, visible in an earlier screenshot, now razed). Still haven't seen anything bigger than an Archer from the Barbarians, so it seems likely that v1.07 has broken the checks for resource requirements. Or perhaps Barbarians at this point are all produced by cities - which don't have access to strategic resources.

I still don't get trade routes from Japan and Portugal. The warlike Bulgars are blocking trade to Portugal. This may be Joao's loss more than mine: he completed the Great Lighthouse on t274. For Japan, it might suffice to explore a bit more east of Osaka; there might be a coastal city. That won't happen anytime soon, however, because the Archer I had used for exploration got killed when it inspected a Barbarian city too closely. Will take forever to get another unit up there. It's surprising that I get a trade connection to the NE at all without having circumnavigated the southern subcontinent. Curiously, trade flows from the western coast through some unowned jungle rivers.

Unless Rome gets its act together, it seems that near-endless space for peaceful expansion can be had in the jungle to the NW. (Always depresses me a bit to see that much jungle because the Jungle feature is such an inadequate representation of equatorial rainforest.) So delaying warfare until Cannon was a good thought; if I only I hadn't brought that pointless war with Ragnar on myself ...

Some misc. notes:
• I've researched Civil Service and Metal Casting. For a while, I've been running a gold surplus at 100% research, mainly through resource sales – even though I was only selling surplus resources and Stone. Lately, I've been trending toward 50% because of increasing expenses for cities and units and canceled deals. A Great Scientist is on reserve for Education; will only need Paper first.
• I expect that Sal will eventually convert to Buddhism (I asked him nicely, in vain, on t300), so there will be a clean north-south split between Hinduism and Buddhism. A promising situation for working toward a (UN) diplo victory, but only if I can get along with my neighbors.
• I've yet to receive any diplo popup other than (mildly annoying) OB proposals and the DoW from Ragnar. Well, I sell my surplus resources asap, don't trade with anyone's worst enemy (there haven't really been lasting enmities), can't adopt anyone's religion, can't be shaken down for tech and there are no wars that I could be asked to join. The game's settings (No Tech Trading, civs far apart) just aren't conducive to diplomacy.
• As has previously been pointed out by others and me, the Emphasize buttons on the city screen often have no effect; need work.
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Played to ca. AD 1000. The war went about as well as it could have, back on track to a decisive victory, or so I like to think.
Spoiler :
Spoiler :
This is two turns after the last screenshot. I've withdrawn from Pataliputra to Bombay and whipped a Spearman in Lahore in the expectation of evacuating that city as well. It turned out that the 3 mounted units moving toward Lahore had only been after my Iron source; two of those units moved into Pataliputra as soon as the 3rd, a Chariot, had pillaged the Iron. So I got to keep Lahore. Just at this time, the Barbarians, which had never assaulted Lahore before, dropped off two Archers. My Axeman, which would've been nearly useless against the small mounted stack, was able to take care of the Archers while my Spearman took out the exposed Chariot. The main Viking stack started bombarding Bombay and traded a HA with a Swordsman that I was about to move into Bombay. In terms of fast units, that left the Viking with just 1 Chariot (and a near-dead HA) in the main stack, while the 2 remaining HA plus 1 Chariot were guarding Pataliputra. Having gotten a handle on the scary fast units this way was half the battle. Next turn, 3 Spearmen of mine converge on Pataliputra, while the Catapult stack just keeps bombarding and then starts to pillage, i.e. no proper defender is dispatched to Pataliputra.

By the time I retook Pataliputra, I had assembled enough units to defend both cities, including my first Maceman, and, after a few more turns, on t333, I was ready to wipe out Ragnar's main stack, losing only 1 Catapult. I could've taken Uppsala, perhaps in as few as 5 turns, but I made peace right away, taking whatever I was offered (300 gold). Uppsala, then being squeezed from my own cities and Ragnar's capital, would've been no use to me. Perhaps I should've conquered it anyway, destroyed its culture buildings that way and liberated it for a diplo boost. But this was an inconvenient war to prolong: A couple of Viking Archers in the jungle up north were blocking a settler of mine from founding; there was a risk of Ragnar deploying more fast units, threatening undefended cities, further improvements and workers trying to rebuild; my trade routes with Kublai Khan were blocked by the war, for lack of exploration along the southern coast; and there may still have been a danger of Saladin entering the war. During the 8 turns that the war did last, Sal never moved a muscle.

I lost few military units - 2 Spears, 1 Swordsman, 1 Catapult -, and gained a Great General to make up for it, but the war was somewhat costly in terms of infrastructure: 2 workers lost, 6 improvements, 3 of them important, most on Desert where they're extra costly to rebuild. And I lost the Library and 5 (all but 1) pop in Pataliputra plus 6 pop whipped in cities that I hadn't necessarily meant to shrink. Seems that I will permanently lose a Flood Plains to Ragnar, less so as a consequence of damage to Pataliputra than on account of the Statue of Zeus erected in post-war Uppsala. I may have to run an Artist to avoid losing more ground.

Relations with Ragnar have been OK since the war, he just never signed OB again (78 turns since cancellation). Not sure if the speed adjustment for the decay of AI memory is too big or if this is just very unlucky. Ragnar hasn't gotten above 90% of my power level, and his only military venture was a futile expedition to the old Barbarian city east of Saladin. He's currently taking another stab at it.

I decided against attacking Circei (the Roman city at my doorstep). A single Maceman could've done the job, and I don't think Julius would've mustered much of a response, but I would've totaled a diplo penalty of 6 and probably never would've gotten OB with Julius again. Not worth it when there are still half a dozen city sites in the SW of the northern subcontinent. In addition, upon discovering Paper (t345) and trading maps with everyone except Julius the Refuser, I learned of two minor continents with about a dozen (weak to mediocre) city sites in total. Plenty of space to keep me busy until I'm ready for war.

The revealed map also shows how the AI generally is struggling to conquer Barbarian cities that have Walls or have accumulated 4 or more defenders. Japan, Rome and Portugal haven't been able to retake their major cities of Tokyo, Neapolis and Oporto. In other games, I've often seen the AI distracted by war plans – which preclude focused attacks against Barbarians – but that can't be the issue here. One likely problem is, on the contrary, that most AI civs have been training very few city attackers. Only the Celts have conquered one Barbarian-founded city and, recently, Tokyo; perhaps simply by virtue of being the biggest civ after me. The Barbarians also still (despite a recent tweak of mine) seem to accumulate too many defenders; I've e.g. seen a city with 8 Archers send out only 3 for an offensive. Gathering just 7 and sending 4 would seem more reasonable. On a side note, I've seen a total of two Barbaran Swordsmen in this game; so they do exist, but it's too little too late.

Classical wonders keep getting completed – Pyramids (Japan in AD 600, earning me a little fail gold), Colossus (Saladin), Great Wall (Japan, for whom the anti-Barbarian effect will make no difference at this point), Artemis (Boudica), Parthenon (Caesar).

How are my rivals in the north doing?
Spoiler :
Japan is stuck at 4 cities. Rome was not doing badly with 6 non-jungle cities, but the expansion into the jungle hasn't gone well,
just 2 cities of that remain, and they're not prospering. Portugal is kind of boxed in at 8 cities; might found some colonies before long. The only (half-)serious competitor is Boudica with 11 cities and room for steady southward expansion. She also finished her Shrine on t341. I've started to pre-empt her expansion with 2 cities founded along the SW coast of her subcontinent, a third soon to follow and a Barbarian city about to be conquered. I've moved the bulk of my (humble) army up there, feeling safe enough from my neighbors in the south.

Boudica has no Iron but could get it from her friend Julius. I expect this trade to happen before long – unless I'm lucky and he trades it to Ragnar instead. :think: Maybe I should sell my surplus Iron to Boudica for a while to make a trade between Julius and Ragnar more likely, then pull the rug. Boudica must have a sweetheart personality – she's Cautious toward me at -1 relations, i.e. the sum of the hidden modifiers is nonnegative despite our competitive ranks.

Tech and plans: I was tempted to take a couple of detours, for Polytheism/ Monotheism to get Organized Religion, and for Alphabet in order to unlock Philosophy for Great Scientists and perhaps also to spread culture to Ragnar, but such techs still take 5-10 turns currently, and the benefits are doubtful on closer examination. OR costs extra maintenance and will require some investment in Missionaries to take full advantage. Spreadiung culture will eventually anger Ragnar, and, based on the speed modifier, most civs don't have Alphabet, so defensive spies aren't needed. I went for Engineering after Paper because the extra road movement and Pikemen would've been useful against Ragnar should he attack again. That was probably not going to happen anyway, so Engineering hasn't been that helpful. Well, faster road movement is always good, and I'll need Engineering before long for Chemistry. Then I researched half of Philosophy as I was waiting for another Great Scientist, then double-bulbed Education, now back at Philosophy. Double-bulbing didn't use the GS to their maximal effect but was actually still more efficient than (fully) bulbing Philosophy.

Next up Gunpowder, then either Liberalism or Chemistry, depending on how confident I feel about Boudica being far behind in the Liberalism race. Should still be more than a hundred turns until I get Cannon; too early to worry about reorienting my economy for wartime. My tentative plan once I have them is to push straight into the Roman heartland from my nearby coastal cities while using whichever outdated chaff to mop up the Roman cities closer to my core; then take out Boudica, hopefully using Cannon plus Grenadiers against Muskets and Trebuchets. Until then, I'll keep expanding peacefully. Might also go for Barbarian Neapolis soon; wouldn't want Boudica to conquer that.
1 turn from Liberalism --> Steel now in AD 1390. Not much happened in the last 77 turns.
Spoiler :
Spoiler :

The most noteworthy development is that Ragnar is conquering Kublai. He brought it on himself a bit by trading Copper to Ragnar, enabling his Berserkers. It's unfortunate because I don't think I could get a UN vote out of Ragnar ever whereas Kublai was Friendly. Maybe, if Kublai can hang in there, I'll be able to dispatch an army to Ragnar when my wartime economy gets going. Many of my cities have Forges, most have Barracks, pretty much every Hill has a Mine. Golden Age might be coming up in 12 turns. If I get a Prophet – 38% odds as you can see –, then I'll want to build my Shrine, otherwise, a Golden Age, I suppose. I'm currently still in Pacifism, which costs me some 20 GPT more than Paganism on the bottom line. I guess I'll switch to Free Religion next turn. So the GP will take a little longer than 12 turns.

I don't want to give Boudica too much time to catch up in tech, so pushing north, into Rome at first, will be my priority. I could start that right away; the 3 size-2 cities have low culture defense and few defenders, and I have some stacks of Musketman ready. Didn't want to lose the trade routes and resource exports so far, nor ramp up my number-of-cities maintenance. After Military Science for Grenadiers, I should probably see how soon I can get to Communism. Astronomy would also be nice – so that I can replace lost trade routes. I agreed to an embargo against Joao proposed by Kublai before Ragnar's war (which I hadn't anticipated at all); starting to regret that.

Rome has the Apostolic Palace in Antium, not easy for me to reach. I only have 3 Hindu cities, and I think they're small enough to tolerate one defied vote. Me having founded Taoism has hampered the passive spread of Hiduism. Boudica has lately sent a Missionary to Saladin; will have to watch out for proselytization aimed at my cities.

I got through Chemistry with gold from a Great Merchant. To also get Liberalism fast (I did worry about Boudica beating me to it; really don't know what tech she has), I switched my cities to Wealth; didn't want to train too many Muskets and, having run out of land to settle, there wasn't much else I could've produced. I also received 300 gold in tribute from Caesar. The peace treaty from that demand has expired now, but the demand is still remembered. I'll attack him anyway, meaning that everyone else will turn down my demands and pleas for a long time (an AdvCiv mechanism to make tribute less abusable) – but that won't really hurt me I think.
I played the game through. It ended in Turn 724 (January, AD 1927) with a Domination Victory. I will provide my final write-up in another post.

First things first, though, about the crashes.

The culprit seems to not be the mod, but rather something Wine related. I managed to resolved the issue, and was able to finish the game without any more incidences. Still, for your information I will summarize the info I was able to gather:

Spoiler Info about the crashes :

  • I confirmed that it was possible to have the game crash during the AI turns (contrary to what I said earlier). Specifically, it could crash when looking at Friendly and Enemy moves during the AI's turns.
  • The Lutris game log said that the game exited with code 0 after "EntityMonitored" was exited. Unfortunately I don't recall the exact name of the method in quotation marks, but it was definitely something about EntityMonitored.
  • When the game crashed during my turns, it was always right after moving or giving an order to a unit. This also seems consistent with the "EntityMonitored" thing above.
  • The fix: I simply checked the option "Enable DXVK" in the configuration tab in Lutris, and the problem went away. I had a hunch it could work. Quite some time ago I had to disable said option due to some weird graphical artifacts occurring, (and I never bothered to check if they had been fixed). Luckily, those problems have been resolved by now.
  • I suspect that some Lutris or Wine update made this happen. I recall that I updated both of them recently before the crashes started to happen.
  • Still, it's a mystery to me why some particular turns were so problematic (5+ attempts to get through one turn), and some were absolutely fine (15+ turns in a row without anything happening)
  • For all the reasons above, my conclusion is that this issue was not the fault of the game nor the mod.
First and foremost, I would like to thank the OP as well all of you that are participating in this "play along." Your posts/updates have been really interesting and very useful to me. It is so great to see people keeping the Civilization 4 spirit alive. I will put a brief background on me in a spoiler for anyone interested in the background/context out of which my play and comments emerge.

Spoiler Background/Context :
I have just recently started playing CIV4 BTS again after only playing it very infrequently over the last several years. It is still my favorite CIV version, though to be fair I have never given CIV 6 much effort/attempts. Long ago, when I was playing Civ 4 regularly I could pretty consistently win on Monarch level and probably should have moved up to try harder levels. So having this game at Monarch level was a perfect way to try to shake off the old cobwebs, so to speak. Another thing which appealed to me about this play-along was that it used the AdvCiv mod. For years, I have been a devoted user of the Better Bat AI mod but was not aware that it had been incorporated/evolved into upgrades like K-Mod or AdvCiv. And I was excited to see that development is still going on for AdvCiv so that is great. One of the main goals for me in this play-along was to see how I liked the changes made by AdvCiv and to some extent K-Mod.

Spoiler My challenges related to the settings :
In the past, I have almost exclusively played just large maps at normal speed. I have never tried maps anywhere near this Huge size or this Marathon speed. I have also never had some of the restrictions imposed by this game. Therefore, I found myself constantly struggling with these things:
  • evaluate my build times/plan for build times. Even at turn 1, I was shocked to think it would take 30 turns to build a settler! So throughout the game, I was constantly amazed/impatient with build times, even though I know they were scaled because of the speed.
  • Manage a massive empire (80+ cities by the end). I did get much better about automating things near the end but even still, the sheer logistics of managing the troop movements, etc was pretty intense.
  • No vassals setting was very tough for me, especially when pursuing a domination victory. I have never played it with this limitation and had to change my playstyle/warplans etc to account for longer war efforts or intermittent peace periods to manage domination goals.
  • No Tech Trading setting was another restriction that I have never tried before and wow did that make it very challenging, not just from a tech progression standpoint but also from a diplomacy management standpoint (e.g. no ability to gift or bribe using techs). I definitely had to adjust my playstyle to manage this limitation.
This is not a judgment on the settings (or on AdvCiv either) since I think those all worked as they were intended. However, since I was not used to any of these settings/restrictions, having all these changes at once really made it a challenge for me. Also, unfortunately, having so many things different about the game made it very difficult for me to evaluate just the changes to the game coming from AdvCiv (and K-Mod). I did notice a few along the way, but everything was so different about this whole game for me, I decided I am going to wait to assess AdvCiv changes until I can play game with my typical settings in order to evaluate just the AdvCiv changes another time.

Spoiler Opening :
So after much ado, here is how I played it. Like others on here, I settled in place and after exploring a little identified the double gold site to the southeast as a potential second city site.

I will post more progress in separate posts.

(Disclaimer): Since this is my first time ever posting game progress to any forum please let me know any recommendations which will improve my posts. Unfortunately, I did not do a great job documenting or screenshotting along the way so most of my input now will be retrospective. If I participate in future play-alongs, I will try to do a better job journalling along the way. Feedback/advice on posts is much appreciated.
The culprit seems to not be the mod, but rather something Wine related. I managed to resolved the issue, and was able to finish the game without any more incidences. Still, for your information I will summarize the info I was able to gather: [...]
Thanks. Having googled DXVK (and generally knowing little about Wine), your analysis sounds plausible to me. I guess the specific conditions for those errors upon (un-)monitoring a graphical entity are inscrutable.
[...] having so many things different about the game made it very difficult for me to evaluate just the changes to the game coming from AdvCiv (and K-Mod). I did notice a few along the way, but everything was so different about this whole game for me, I decided I am going to wait to assess AdvCiv changes until I can play game with my typical settings in order to evaluate just the AdvCiv changes another time.
I appreciate that you're taking this approach. My impression has been that some of the mod's changes don't accomplish their goals under these settings. I wouldn't say that the mod makes matters worse than with just BtS, rather the contrary, but e.g. the lack of interactions between civs, poor AI performance against Barbarians, unbridled snowballing - can be a bit sobering with a mod that purports to overhaul AI war planning, diplomatic modifiers and Barbarian placement and to rein in territorial expansion (through changes to revolt chance and other means).

I inted to make improvements based on this thread (already have a long to-do list just based on my own game), but, still, these settings will remain a little outside the mod's ambitions.
will post more progress in separate posts.
Looking forward to that (and to some posts I still haven't fully read).
I've played until 1862 and, although I have twice as much score as the next best civ, I can't say that this game is in the bag.
Spoiler :
Where were we ... I had finished my bee-line to Steel and was eager to roflstomp my strongest rival Boudica and, first up, Caesar whose empire happened to lie in the way. Ragnar had started a war of conquest against Kublai Khan, meaning that he was busy for the time being – but would be in a strong position to stab me in the back whenever Kublai would be defeated.

Cannons actually take a long time to make in poorly developed pre-industrial cities, e.g. 14 turns at 15 hammers per turn. So I started the war straight away with just Muskets and Maces, 20 units in total, taking Caesar's lightly defended peripheral cities near my borders. Easy pickings with low culture defense and garrisoned by just Legionaries, Axes and Crossbows. Even Neapolis, adjacent to Rome City, had only 20% defense. I could've taken another small city without having to wait for Cannon reinforcements, but an AP vote was coming up, and I suddenly remembered that war and embargo votes can target non-full members in AdvCiv. Arguably, this should only apply to civs that run a different state religion, but, the way it's currently implemented, Free Religion is no protection. Too late to convert temporarily (requires two revolutions from Free Religion). So I decided to take a 10-turn break (and 680 gold), use that to get Cannons into position, and then use the 15 turns until the next vote to reach and raze the Apostolic Palace. This meant another round of war-on-friend penalties from all the Hindus, but Caesar and Boudica were on my hit list anyway, Joao still refused to talk after I had stopped trading with him and Tokugawa had just 4 cities.

During the peace phase, Caesar asked the AP to restore his control over 1 of the 4 cities I had taken. Including the conquered cities, I had 7 or 8 Hindu cities at that point. Lots of excess happiness, generally, but conquering that city again wasn't going to be much of an inconvenience, so I didn't defy the AP. Boudica had started spreading Hinduism through Missionaries, and I couldn't easily afford closing our borders, so the AP really had to be expunged. On this note, I built my own Shrine shortly before attacking Caesar again. In retrospect, the 25 GPT weren't really worth a Great Person; I shouldn't have run any Priests.

The penultimate Mongol city got taken by Ragnar 4 turns before my peace with Caesar ended. I should've intervened in that war as soon as it broke out. But now I had to finish off Caesar or he'd ask for his cities back one by one. Luckily, it took Ragnar 13 more turns to take the final Mongol city at the eastern end of our continent and then several turns to move his main stack back to our shared border (where he was going to park it regardless of whether he meant to attack me). This actually gave me enough time to take care of Caesar.

War against Ceasar (reprise):
Spoiler :

My economy is pretty miserable, at 20% research. With 23 cities, I'm just below the limit for quadratic growth of maintenance costs - but it's apparently still too little to support such a large stack, and almost all production flows into Cannons rather than Wealth. My stack composition here is still reasonable, but I end up with too few lethal attackers. I was thinking of Cannon as suicide siege, but, against my Medieval targets, Cannon are actually highly survivable. For a couple of turns, I attacked the city of Rome - "AI-style" - with just 10 Cannon, keeping all defenders maximally damaged until I managed to bring in Muskets to finish the job. Before turning to the Eternal City (where I only found a Granary and Lighthouse intact), I went straight for the AP in Antium (razed and resettled), conquering Cumae along the way. Lastly, I conquered Ravenna at the Celto-Roman border. I left two Roman cities along the Japanese border alone.
Spoiler :

Here I've just ended the war against Rome. I've started a 24-turn Golden Age, fueled by the Mausoleum in Cumae and the Parthenon in Ravenna. I've also stopped producing Cannon, so my economy doesn't look too bad, but I'm about to start producing Grenadiers. And there's Ragnar's stack looming over my core cities. I decided not to delay my attack against Boudica, which, I guess, turned out to be a good decision as her outer cities were poorly defended: 20-40% defense, 3 Medieval units each. I had accumulated a token defense against Ragnar during my war against Rome, and, with some recently finished units, that force had grown to a size similar to Ragnar's. Not enough to go on the offensive, but enough to keep my own cities safe.

20 turns later, 6 Celtic cities had fallen to me, including Vienne with the Hindu Shrine (twice as lucrative as my Buddhist Shrine), and I decided to attack Ragnar as well, to neutralize him once and for all. Ragnar briefly conquered my city at the border to Sal (who remained Pleased with both belligerents), but that at least made it very cheap to kill Ragnar's stack. Then I razed Uppsala – that city never really fit in – and conquered the other 5 non-Mongolian Viking cities without much resistance and razed one former Mongolian city. In parallel, I took all remaining Celtic cities except a single colony protected by Portuguese borders.

Keeping Boudica alive – and at war – was actually helpful because AdvCiv generally allows revolts to occur during occupation - but not while at war. This is a rule I'll have to refine a little; it has bothered me before, and, in this game, I was able to leave 5 conquered Celtic cities frozen "under occupation" for dozens of turns until I had enough manpower to deal with them. In total, I had, at one point, about 20 cities that required a culture garrison for revolt suppression. Although I had had few combat losses, I would've needed twice as much personnel than I had to pacify this many cities. Some of this weirdness is just the result of me being far ahead in tech (on Marathon speed); so maybe it'll be good enough to allow revolts at wartime against entirely insufficient garrisons, and perhaps let them flip on the first revolt when there is no garrison at all. The result should be that an invader can't just keep going and ignore revolts until much later.

Apart from worrying about revolts and maintenance, I also stopped the war against Ragnar relatively soon - and didn't attack Joao at that point - because I was tired of this playstyle. Checking the Victory tab, I realized that I'd have to conquer almost my whole continent for Domination. A UN victory had perhaps never been on the cards without tech trading. I decided to fix my economy a little and then perhaps abandon the game, arguing that a Space victory would pose no challenge.

To this end, I researched Communism and established contact with the 4 civs on the other major continent. The tech path, starting right after Military Science, was Alphabet, Printing Press (mostly bulbed), Compass, Optics, Astronomy, Scientific Method (boosted by Astronomy), Communism (funded by a Trade Mission). Ragnar had had Optics for a while, so, when ending our war, I made sure to get his world map to speed up my meetings with the New World civs. They all agreed to Open Borders before long and were happy to buy my surplus resources. (I didn't bother to find out much else about them.)

So here are my Graphs on t552 (1744) after switching to State Property:
Spoiler :

Golden Age #2 (with the Communism Spy) coming up. This does look pretty convincing to me, but of course one can't just "claim victory," and I was curious what my Space victory date would be. Part of my reason for wanting to abandon the game earlier was that, with these settings, I felt that I should've played for Space from the beginning, shouldn't have expanded militarily beyond, perhaps, the outer cities of Rome, and should've built more infrastructure instead. This would've been less tedious, but I'm not actually sure that it's much faster in terms of game turns, so let's see ...

I get Aesthetics and Drama next so that I can finally get the conquered cities fully under control. I also switch to Free Speech, which doesn't just boost culture but should also be more efficient overall with my 45 cities and no Oxford University. With the culture slider, the revolt problem indeed went away in a few turns. (On a similar note, the Artist slots from Caste System also felt like a bit of a cheat in conquered cities.) Bringing up my city nationality also reduced the foreign opposition to my "ruthless expansionism," gaining me Open Borders with Joao. And I sold one Viking city to Sal that was about to flip to him and one Celtic city to Toku.

What infrastructure makes sense in 1744? With discounted Universities, Oxford had to be done, so I got started on Libraries and Universities. Maintenance was at 8-10 GPT in most cities despite State Property, but, seeing that I didn't intend to grow my empire much more, Courthouses didn't seem worthwhile. So the weaker cities just kept running Scientists and Wealth. Next research target Biology for some more specialists, then Physics for Observatories, Nationalism, Constitution for Representation (mainly the extra research), Electricity (half-bulbed), Refrigeration, Superconductors for Labs - finished on t609 (1819).

At that point, I hadn't researched a significant military tech in more than 100 turns, had produced essentially no military units going on 200 turns and had, on the contrary, deleted my pre-Renaissance garrisons. Japan (probably) had stolen Steel from me and Sal had finished researching it. Nevertheless, Sal's power was just 72% of mine, which seemed almost too far out of reach to even start war preparations. Still, going for the next powerful military tech, Assembly Line, seemed prudent, and there were no immediately useful Modern techs that I was able to research, so I had to backfill the Industrial era anyway. First some economic stuff, gaining me mostly just an extra trade route (Monarchy, Feudalism, Guilds, Banking, Economics, Corporation), then Replaceable Parts, Steam Power.

On t625 (1835) ...
Spoiler :

... it became evident that Sal was one turn from declaring war on me. His power had increased rapidly, to 95% of mine, presumably through production of Cannons while I had continued my zero-military policy; 5 turns to Assembly Line – but I had forgotten that I'd also need Rifling for Infantry. Unbeknownst to me, Sal, for his part, had nearly finished Rifling. I had, in time, moved almost all my Cannon to the southern border – as my most effective tool against Sal's stack of doom – but few other units because I didn't want to leave my northern cities defenseless. So my armies weren't well-balanced, but, all the same, Sal's stack was not going to persevere against a total of 17 Cannon.

The problem was, however, that I needed to beat Sal into a peace deal before any grudgeholder would sense opportunity and join the war. Sadly, for me, Tokugawa declared war on the same game turn as Sal. Actually, let me check in Debug mode: Toku had independently been preparing war against me but had reached only 64% of my power and Sal's DoW probably put him over the finish line. I had been underestimating how much the AdvCiv AI is guided by projected military build-up. By looking at the gradient of my power curve, the AI (correctly) inferred that my military was stagnating, and figured that it could (possibly) match me, even with inferior tech, through a long phase of build-up. I could've also managed my relations better. Having loaded my t625 savegame, I see that I could've sold Tokyo to Tokugawa for a peace treaty (although for no boost to relations). I didn't imagine that his 5-city empire could be ready for war (against my 43 cities; I'm still a little incredulous).
Edit (Oct): Reloading some savegames with logging enabled has confirmed my explanation for the AI behavior, but has also made me realize that, so long as I wasn't investing my production into units, my very high city count actually encouraged the AI to attack me, the logic being that, with this many cities and such a small military, most of my units must be defensive, spread across my empire, and local defenses weak. This is fallacious – I have a big stack of Cannon at the border and most of my cities are undefended – but the resulting AI behavior still seems fair and interesting enough. (And the reasoning would be sensible against another AI civ.)

Relations with Sal had soured (to Cautious) after he had wedged a city into a spot freed up by my razing of Uppsala. I still don't know Sal's true personality, but he clearly doesn't like border troubles much.

Subsequently, every worm turned against me: Ragnar after 5 turns, Caesar (a.k.a Mediolanum et Arretium) after another 4 turns and, finally, after another 12 turns, Joao (who, I've concluded, is truly Victoria). Only Boudica's city state didn't join the throng. Other than Sal, no one fielded an impressive stack. Ragnar was especially easy to swat back, in part, because I was able to quickly redeploy forces between my southern and eastern front. In the north, I had some 8 border cities to protect and too few units for the job, meaning that I wasn't able to launch any counteroffensives, and cities taken by surprise – one by each belligerent – remained lost. I didn't think of switching to Nationhood (maybe because I had only discovered Nationalism somewhat recently); that would've helped a lot once I had access to Infantry. (Or, better yet, for Riflemen if I had researched Rifling before Assembly Line.) Most of the northern cities had too little production to contribute timely reinforcements.

Against Saladin, I managed to go on the offensive with upgraded and newly produced Infantry. I conquered two border cities (one kept, one razed) and Medina (razed). Trading Medina back for peace would've been wonderful, but I didn't have enough of an edge to keep and pacify it. Complementing my bleak prospects in the north, Sal then started researching Assembly Line. I had finished Artillery, but that's not a game changer.

On t551 (1744), acceptable peace terms presented themselves. Sal got 1 of my 2 cities on the minor continent that we had both colonized. Not a small prize – it's a size-12 city with 2 Fish and a recently revealed Coal. This deal was a bit of a leap of faith because I had to get peace treaties with everyone else as well; otherwise, Sal would surely declare war again before long. Portugal got the former Celtic capital, Rome got its own former capital, the Vikings got Haithabu, a size-15 city with two settled Great Generals. Japan refused to drop out – presumably because they had a stack en route – until it was the last remaining war party, and then paid me some gold for peace.

Presumably, so long as I keep producing some military, none of those hoodlums will take me on alone. Another question is whether I should risk a brief war or two to reclaim losses. For example, if I declare war on Caesar and immediately conquer Rome, then Caesar will refuse to talk on that turn and the next turn and then probably pay for peace; he's not going to rely on a third party coming to his rescue. But if a third party gets involved during the two turns of war, I'll be in trouble again.

The Graphs still show me in a very comfortable lead – except in military power:
Spoiler :

edit: typo
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I appreciate that you're taking this approach. My impression has been that some of the mod's changes don't accomplish their goals under these settings.
My pleasure. And Please let me just start by commending you on the epic amount of thought, effort, patience, and documentation you have put into the AdvCiv mod over the years. Even a cursory review of the manual you have provided makes it clear to any reader that this project has been a labor of love for you (for years) and that you have put a tremendous amount of thought and diligence into it so please let me commend and thank you for that. As I mentioned in my earlier post, I only just recently learned (largely due to neglecting the Civ Forums for recent years) about this mod and am very interested in evaluating it and perhaps adopting it as my standard mod for CIv 4.
As I also mentioned earlier, I plan to do a detailed analysis of the mod (under my usual settings) to evaluate it and would be happy to post my feedback/results to the Civ forums here (or send that feedback to you in private) so please let me know which you prefer.

I wouldn't say that the mod makes matters worse than with just BtS, rather the contrary, but e.g. the lack of interactions between civs, poor AI performance against Barbarians, unbridled snowballing - can be a bit sobering with a mod that purports to overhaul AI war planning, diplomatic modifiers and Barbarian placement and to rein in territorial expansion (through changes to revolt chance and other means).
I definitely noticed some challenging changes to the barbarians. In fact, I learned one of them the hard way. I settled a city on a relatively smallish island which had a barbarian city at the southern end about 12 to 15 squares to the south. Normally, in plain BTS, you could skimp on a garrison a for a little while as you either built up an army to go take it or brought another ship of soldiers in to attack it. However, before I could do either a pack of 4 barbarian archers showed up and sacked my city! Wow! I had not seen barbarians do an organized stack attack on a city like that before. Usually they straggle in one at a time. They may have even come by boat(s), which never would have happened in BTS. It was definitely shocking but honestly I like that change and it adds a nice element to the game. Shortly after my city got razed I saw them successfully smash a rival AI's city this way too. Very different than plain BTS but I think it's a good change. I will just need to manage them differently when using the mod to handle these raiding parties better.
I've played until 1862 and, although I have twice as much score as the next best civ, I can't say that this game is in the bag...
I won't have a chance to read through your progress update until tomorrow but look forward to reading through it and learning from it. I also should be able to post my own progress update tomorrow as well.
I'm now thinking of turning the anti-Barbarian combat bonuses into penalties so that they can be shown as part of the hover text for Barbarian units, printed in the light gray Barbarian text color (sample), e.g. "• -5% Strength; • -20% City Attack" (let's say, on Monarch) for land units, "• -15% Strength; • -1 Movement Range" for sea units (replacing the Disorganized promotion), "• -25 Strength" for Animals. And all this should be configurable in Civ4HandicapInfos.xml (not the case currently for city attack and sea unit effects).
I think this a good idea! Anything that makes this bonus(or penalty depending on perspective) more obvious would improve player's decision-making.
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%.
Highlighting these differences is very useful. I missed reading this guidance prior to starting my game but it now helps make sense of what happened along the way retrospectively. Thank you
Got my space victory on t822 (Jan 1976). 🥴
Spoiler :
Not somehow great. I think I scheduled things reasonably well on this last stretch, was probably too worried about being piled on again, but I suppose those extra units only cost me a dozen turns or so overall. In terms of winning quickly, playing for Domination/ Diplo with a bee-line to Cannon and much later falling back on Space was pretty terrible.

Saladin declared war on me 3 more times. There's clearly some bug or oversight in the AI code, perhaps having to do with me having far more cities than him and us having colonies on a small continent. (Edit - Oct: Not exactly, there's simply a numeric overflow causing the AI to disregard my military production.) Each time, Sal sued for peace after 2 or 3 turns after I had destroyed his stack and was approaching his cities. AI spy missions, as Jorunkun has pointed out before, are a big nuisance in a game like this. Probably the AI needs to refrain from malicious missions when the target is far more powerful and has techs to steal. Of course nearly everything in those last ~250 turns was a chore. The player really needs to quit in such situations, maybe to start over at a higher difficulty. (But the spy thing may also matter in games where only some AI civs have fallen far behind.)

(Strictly speaking, I didn't win at all because I hadn't noticed that one Padding component still had one turn to go when I launched the spaceship. First time that I've seen the mission-failed popup.)
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Hey guys - works's been interfering in the past week so I haven't posted, but I've immensely enjoyed reading all the writeups and learned a lot. Grats to Santa and f1rpo for finishing, and looking forward to @Mark_82021 playthrough and analysis.

I find it very interesting how the wider world turns out so differently in each of the iterations, depending on the course early game (in particular, I think, barb success). I'm also intrigued by @f1rpo 's strategic reading of the AI ... and someone really needs to explain to me how to use Caste System.

Also, could someone comment on how the changes to scaling in Marathon play out vs1.06?

Thanks for taking the time to play AdvCiv with us!
On my first attempt at this playthrough, I actually ran into warmonger troubles with Ragnar pretty early (I was his first land target). Even though I was finally able to make peace with him, by that point, I had already lost 1 city, a lot of valuable turns, and was so far behind the curve on tech and soldiers, I just decided to chalk it up as a loss and try again with a different approach. I am obviously rusty from not having played much in the last year or so. Nevertheless, I will describe the early stages and choices I made for this first attempt, especially since I was kinda bad about documenting/screenshotting much of the early parts of the second attempt.

Spoiler Attempt 1 : Turn 98 (2040 BC) :
By 2040, I have met the Vikings (to the East), the Mongolians (unknown home base location), Arabia (to the southeast), and the Romans (somewhere from the North). I have settled Bombay at the double gold site to the southeast and have identified some potential future city sites. For research, I decided to go for Animal Husbandry mainly because I wanted to know where horses might be located before finalizing any local city sites. After AH, an increased Barbarian presence/strength and also a desire to identify strategic metal sites led me to research Bronze Working.

At this point, I am also starting to look at ways I can block off sections of land. The Stone site directly to east, which could be fed by the set of floodplains below is looking like it might be a good way to block off the Vikings from northwestern expansion.

Spoiler Attempt 1 : Turn 161 (1090 BC) :
By this time, Ragnar has also settled near one of "my" gold sites and it is clear that I will be in for a culture war for that resource. Unfortunately, Animal Husbandry didn't reveal any horses with close proximity. Also, as can be seen here, I am starting to fall woefully behind in military forces.

BW did reveal copper north of my capitol but it's not very conveniently located with respect to good food resources. The plains cow directly east of it is not even enough to support it. Technically, I could have settled the desert spot 1N2W of it and had the dry corn and (longterm) sugar in the BFC, but that would put the city 1-off-the-coast and create some junk tiles. Plus, at this point, due to the number of possible coastal tiles, I am strongly considering making a run at the Great Lighthouse so I am inclined to put cities either on the coast or well-inland.

So, in the absence of horses, increased presence/strength of barbs, and complicated access to copper, I decide to research IW next in the hopes of getting more convenient access to a metal resource. Even though IW does reveal very conveniently located within the BFC of my capitol, I run into a lot of barb problems and ultimately draw the short straw as Ragnar's land target. So it is not too long after this that I run into serious conflict with Ragnar and decide to just retire that attempt and start fresh. Luckily, the second attempt would go much better and I will post the details of the attempt in my next post. Since I am currently in the process of selling my condo and moving out, my opportunities to post updates will be a little limited for a bit but I will try to get another up here this week.

Again, please let me take a second to thank all the people providing these great updates/details of their play. I am enjoying and learning from them all, so thank you!
I find it very interesting how the wider world turns out so differently in each of the iterations, depending on the course early game (in particular, I think, barb success).
Completely agree. That's another reason these Play-alongs are really helpful. You can see how other's choices (and sometimes luck) affects the outcomes.
Saladin declared war on me 3 more times. There's clearly some bug or oversight in the AI code, perhaps having to do with me having far more cities than him and us having colonies on a small continent. Each time, Sal sued for peace after 2 or 3 turns after I had destroyed his stack and was approaching his cities.
Wow that's interesting. I did not encounter this issue in either of my attempts but I will keep an eye out for it in future attempts/games.
Completely agree. That's another reason these Play-alongs are really helpful. You can see how other's choices (and sometimes luck) affects the outcomes.

Heya Mark, thanks for joining. Just read your first post - interesting how everybody here a) founded in place and b) went SE for the 2nd city, going mano a mano with Ragnar.

What happens after that is imo very decisive. I think I barely escaped your fate of being attacked by him, by rushing spears against his 7 chariots. He then turned on Saladin, as in most (all?) other games. I think avoiding this conflict is key: if you wind up fighting him - even if you repel him, both he and you are weakened relative to Saladin, Caesar and the Khan. Don't see how I could have done it without the copper.

Good luck for round 2!
Okay, so finally I have the time to do this final write-up.

Spoiler Turn 570 - 586 :

At turn 570 (where I was at in the last post), my position was pretty much winning. I moved the armies not required for occupying Ragnar's and Kublai's former empires to the Roman border and declared war.


Spoiler Turn 586 - 604 :

By turn 604 I had captured all Roman cities up to (not including) Rome. He had Cannons, but far too few to save himself. I did however lack both Astronomy and Chemistry (which Rome had researched), so being a fisherman in my empire was not fun at all during that war. By turn 597, my entire army was modernized. I ended the War on turn 604, as the War Weariness was starting to get really crippling. What's more, Julius had almost finished Military Science.



Spoiler Turn 634 :

After the war with Rome, I put Saladin out of his misery. I managed to get tribute from recently discovered Ethiopia, providing me with map of the other continent. This actually came very much in useful: I had spammed Mausoleums in a lot of cities to manage War Weariness, and as a result, I was able to investigate most cities of my newly discovered rivals. Cyrus in particular was on track to have me beat in the race to the Statue of Liberty. Thus I could save up money in time to rush it. After securing the Statue, I was able to place a lot of filler cities around on the main continent which would otherwise not be worth the extra maintenance. Especially so after discovering Biology, which I prioritized highly since I was running so many farms.

Spoiler Statue race (just screenshots) :



Spoiler Turn 634, demographics, power (just screenshots) :



So at turn 634 I was pretty much 3x as good as the 2nd best civ in any category (apart from score, which was 2x). The play out from there was just a matter of mopping up the remaining civs on my continent, which was a bit tedious. Due to the attachment limit, I will continue the write-up in another post.

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Spoiler Turn 634 - 724 :

First I conquered Boudica's empire, and I did so in one war. Then I finished off Rome before finally conquering Japan. When Japan had one city left, I won the game by domination. None of these wars were interesting, as I had snowballed too much. I could probably have won a bit sooner, but I couldn't be bothered to play very efficiently.

Thus I will simply post some screenshots of the final position (some of the graphs, demographics, statistics and wonders.)

I will provide some post-game musings in another post!

Spoiler Final position (screenshots) :


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