Advanced Civ Play-Along Game

Spoiler Post-game musings :

Contrary to what you said, Jorunkun, I actually did not go SE with my second city. I was a bit scared with the unfamiliar settings, so I wanted to play the early game as safely as possible: thus I prioritized the northern Copper. I didn't know how much Barbarian activity to expect, so I built quite a lot of military units in the early game, which proved useful given Ragnar's aggression. I capitalized on his aggression multiple times, and those early plays (the first two wars), pretty much wrapped it up.

I guess I got pretty lucky in the early game. Ragnar didn't pressure me much for city spots in the SE, he weakened Saladin for me, and foolishly let me chip away at his empire while he was busy terrorizing everybody else (Saladin, Barbarians, Kublai). Though, in his defense, he was never in a position to take me on, so he had to do something, right? In the end, Ragnar did manage to take Mongolia, but that conquest was slow. Thus I could consolidate my economy while staying ahead of him military. Had I left him alone after conquering Mongolia, he could have become very powerful indeed. After Ragnar was defeated (Turn 570), my position was unstoppable.

All in all, this ended up being a very comfortable victory, more so than I would expect. By the way, Jorunkun, when I was talking about the (lack of) city maintenance, I was talking in general, not specific to this game only. The distance maintenance seems to be a bit too low, it's something I have been thinking about for a long time. Maybe it's just because the number of cities maintenance is so much higher, relatively speaking, in AdvCiv. There is no point in Advciv where it caps out, unlike in vanilla.

I enjoyed the revised Marathon game speed, and I think it's a good change. The winning endgame was still tedious, though. I guess that'll always be so on slow game speeds. Having buildings be more competitive than in vanilla marathon was good in my book. It made it less obvious than before what buildings were worth it. Not to mention: I'm still somewhat too fond of playing "sim-city" in civ!

I've done another, much quicker playthrough, trying to apply my lessons learned about the settings. I did not consciously make use of my map knowledge – but also didn't try hard to avoid doing so inadvertently. I'm attaching the replay file. This time, I aimed at a space victory from the beginning, which meant fewer shortsighted plays and less conquest (and less hassle). I won on turn 772 (Jan 1951). That's only 50 turns earlier than on the first attempt. Seems that there isn't much of a fast track for turning a decisive midgame advantage into a space victory.
Spoiler :
I went for IW early, which allowed me to ignore the Desert Copper and focus fully on boxing Ragnar in: I founded my 2nd and 3rd city about as quickly as possible (Worker, Work Boat, Settler, Warrior, Warrior(?), Settler), both toward Ragnar, then got some Archers and IW before founding my 4th city (940 BC), also near Ragnar, denying him Iron. I got Buddhism founded in the 2nd city just as in my original playthrough. This still strikes me as a strong play for cultural superiority at the border.

On top of my uncooperative city placement, Ragnar also had his Horse blocked by an early Barbarian city and his 3rd city razed by the Barbarians. On the other hand, he also conquered a rather remote Barbarian city in the SE early on. Then, in 830 BC, he attacked Saladin with Archers (at Pleased attitude toward me and Sal), and succeeded in conquering Sal's Iron city. I joined the war in 510 BC after having trained some Swordsmen, razed Ragnar's awkwardly placed 2nd city, but was unable to take the Iron city for quite some time. I stayed at war to ensure that Ragnar didn't connect the Iron. He got Catapults soon, but those defend no better against Swords than Archers do. In 20 BC, I finally took the Iron city. (Ragnar's juicy capital remained beyond my means.)

The closest savegame that I have is from AD 955, so here's a screenshot from that date:
Spoiler :


My 3rd city, Vijay, was placed just a few turns after Ragnar's second (now Ruins) and stole Rice and Cow through a quick Monument and the influence of the nearby Holy City. I didn't want to get distracted too much from my peaceful expansion, so I left Ragnar alone until the High Middle Ages. No further inter-AI wars until then either; Sal merely razed the Barbarian city near Ragnar's Horse. In my short Medieval war, I took the capital and Bjorgvin to the NE and razed Birka to make room for two better cities (founded by me right after the war) north and south of Birka's ruins. That left Ragnar only with that desolate mining town of Jelling and the former Barbarian (Polynesian) city as his capital.

I focused my peaceful expansion on the jungle in the N, and managed to get the whole "Central American" part for myself plus the southern coast of the nothern subcontinent. Caesar had expanded W first, cutting off Boudica's expansion, and he struggled against the Barbarians. I also managed to place 2 colonies on the SW islands; got beaten to the best and closest site there by Sal. Sea Barbarians four times captured poorly defended cities of mine west of my capital, but they were easy to reconquer or replace; I don't think those were major setbacks.

I went for Liberalism into Steel again (AD 1290); not quite as early as in my first game as wasn't going to start another war. I figured that my 24 cities were easily enough for an effective Space economy. In the early 18th century, I placed 2 more colonies on a large island E of Kublai because that island has really strong sites. (I hadn't even noticed that in my first game.)

Arguably, I should've conquered some cities from Saladin at some point as he kept culture-pressuring our border, eventually with a Great Work even, and, akin to my first game, Sal built up heavily once he got to Camel Archers, forcing me to divert some production into maintaining an edge. That said, Caesar in the N was about as threatening as Sal, with even more units, but farther behind technologically.

Starting in AD 1425, Tokugawa went after Boudica and conquered most of her cities, in the end, with Riflemen. But it seemed to take Toku a long time to capitalize on his coqnuests and move on to Infantry, so I never perceived him as much of a threat.

I founded Mining Inc around the time that I finished the Apollo Project. Ultimately, that may have saved me just 10 to 15 turns.

I've read everyone's spoilers now, just need to turn my notes into a post. For a start, let's reveal the true personalities of the AI leaders:
Spoiler :
Ragnar        =   Gilgamesh
Kublai Khan   =   Suryavarman
Saladin       =   Qin Shi Huang
Julius Caesar =   Frederick
Togugawa      =   Augustus
Boudica       =   Ashoka
Joao          =   Victoria
So my guesses based on Open Borders behavior – peaceful leaders in the north, medium in the south – were pretty accurate.
The eastern hemisphere had very peaceful personalities:
Hannibal      =   Pericles
Zara Yaqob    =   Mansa Musa
Cyrus         =   Joao
Pacal         =   Hammurabi
No wars there in my games (nor in anyone's I think). Not much trouble with the Barbarians either.
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.
I didn't have this issue in my second playthrough either – despite similar geopolitics. Well, I have savegames from my first one; I'll figure out what the cause is.


  • [AdvCiv]brandy_AD-1951-Jan.CivBeyondSwordReplay
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Spoiler :

No wars there in my games (nor in anyone's I think).

In my game Pacal waged a couple of successful wars against Hannibal. Looking at the replay, he declared war as early as 80 BC actually: He captured two cities in that war. Later, in AD 1035, he invaded Carthage again. Hannibal did survive till the end, at which point he only had a tundra city and one small island colony.

I guess none of my posts showed this. Pacal was of no significance anyway: Both Cyrus, Julius, Joao and even Zara Yaqob stayed ahead of him pretty much throughout.

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!
I believe you did very well. No nonsense.
Spoiler :

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.
Maybe, but, then, luck tends to favor those who keep a stack of Axemen at hand.
Regarding Ragnar:
Spoiler :

[Ragnar] then turned on Saladin, as in most (all?) other games.
In my first game, he only attacked once he had Catapults; first me, then Kublai, never Saladin. This may come down to randomness. In that first game, Ragnar's Horse Pasture got pillaged by the Barbarians around 400 BC. But in Santa's game, he has already declared war at that date ... Ragnar's city placement also seems pretty random. I think, in most games, Ragnar's 2nd city was in or near the desert, but, in Santa's game, it was at the Horse – even though the desert river was still uncontested. I've taken control of Ragnar's civ in an early save from my first game, and found that Ragnar had explored the Horse but few of the surrounding tiles; not enough to settle there. The desert was also barely explored. Going farther back, I saw Ragnar's starting Scout die to an Animal in the SE around 3000 BC, shortly before production on the Settler started, which, I guess, tied down Ragnar's third Archer as a future escort for the Settler, preventing that Archer from being used for exploration. Edit - screenshot from Ragnar's point of view:
Spoiler :


I see two viable strategies for the start: Settle toward Ragnar, or settle west and north, giving him some room. The former is riskier, because Ragnar, being in the middle, is hemmed in and must attack to grow - and if you are the weakest of his three neighbors, he might attack you, and even if he doesn't succeed, that's costly, especially early in the game. In my case, it worked out because I was stronger than Saladin (who had a bit of a barb problem I think), and he got the grease, and I got to swoop in and prosper.
I don't think giving Ragnar more space would've made it considerably easier to coexist with him. I guess one could go straight for the Copper – but that would be for an Axemen rush. Imo being as uncooperative as possible toward Ragnar was best. Then, if he tries hard to avoid war at Pleased (true for about half of the leaders in the game), he'll just put up with it once a shared religion has spread across the southern continent. Otherwise, or if we don't want to take chances, there's a choice of preparing for an aggressive war as soon as we have a metal, or else to only train enough military to repel an attack and bide our time until he attacks a third party or until we have Catapults or even until Macemen. In my first game, I let Ragnar alone, without room to expand, until I had Grenadiers. That didn't work out well because it allowed Ragnar to (fully) conquer Kublai – and I also obtained Ragnar's powerful capital far later than I could have.
edit: screenshot added for Ragnar's city placement decision
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Some random comments in response to Jorunkun's posts:
Spoiler :

So, I'm in the late middle ages and sitting pretty. [...] I'll probably spend a few dozen turns buffing all my coastal garrison to two defenders but mainly focus on tech / economy [...].
Why? It's not like that would stop a naval invasion by an AI civ. :hmm:
I thought the map was really pretty, quite fair wrt starts and early resources (except maybe Pacal, who didn't have much good land) [...]
Agree about the map. For reference, a screenshot:
Spoiler :


Too many large bays, I guess. Well, there are a lot of marginal seas on Earth ... True about Pacal. Would be an interesting human start; though less so in terms of strategy (obviously Carthage has to be destroyed). Boudica and Caesar had rather too powerful starts.
I've noticed my settlement pattern is rather dense, comparatively - not sure what the ups and downs are here.
With so much land available and distance not being penalized much, I've been pretty greedy with my city placement, especially in contested regions. Not much of a point in sharing strong tiles when most cities can work all their strong tiles already at 3 or 4 population (due to resources placed relatively far apart) and when excess food can always be pumped into more settlers and workers. On the mod's default settings, I do pack my cities more closely, knowing that I'll be forced into an early war if I end up with just 4 or 5 cities.
Also, could someone comment on how the changes to scaling in Marathon play out vs1.06?
I'm not sure that I've played anything close to a full game on Marathon before, so I can only point to differences between your game and SantaFlagship's and mine. Slightly increased Barbarian activity may have crossed a bit of a tipping point (though, with 13 civs instead of 12, it might've still been fine). The near-60 unit stack of Caesar in 1862 could be attributed to the higher tech cost modifier in v1.06. I only had to contend with 28 from Saladin in 1835. Perhaps also the high number of wars started by Ragnar. Though he also starts several early wars in Santa's game. Less early AI warfare could maybe also explain the faster tech pace with v1.07 that you've observed.
... and someone really needs to explain to me how to use Caste System.
I've relied on it more than ever in this game. When I felt compelled to switch to Emancipation, I was caught off-guard by 8 or so of my cities running Citizen specialists because they had 0 specialist slots or only 2 Scientists from a Library. If I had actually played for a military victory, i.e. bee-lined to Assembly Line instead of Superconductors after Communism, I think this low-infrastructure approach would've paid off, and I don't think the game would've lasted long enough for Emancipation to become widely used. On this map especially, where a lot of cities have just 2 resource and 0 river tiles, it's not attractive to grow cities much when aiming at decisive tech advantage in the medium term. For example, this city (double screenshot) ...
Spoiler :


... works some mediocre tiles now that I'm building units. Might've been smarter to switch back to Slavery for some time here. And the Forge perhaps wasn't worthwhile as I get only 3 production out of it, don't use the Engineer and don't need the happiness. Could be 4 production if I'd work one Plains Forest instead of a Cottage (don't yet have Guilds for Lumbermill). Anyway, once I go back to focusing on tech, I can assign 3 Scientists; enough to actually get a GP eventually (so long as not too many of my cities play this game). Would be much more effective in Representation and Pacifism (or in a Golden Age). Could also run a food deficit for some time to avoid working the Plains Farm.

And the Artists can obviously handle the first border expansion in a new or conquered city (the AI governor knows this trick too), but can also help getting revolts under control (much more efficient, I've come to think, than a Theater) or when some crucial tile is contested.
And, to conclude my commentary, some small things that I've (re-)learned from reading this thread:
Spoiler :
• Liberating cities, if an opportunity for that presents itself, is less of a sacrifice on a Huge map, worth considering, especially when there are few other ways to influence diplomacy.
• Slower game speed leaves more time for pillaging.
• Alphabet reveals rival tech even if tech trading is disabled. Not the first time that another player has made me aware of this. It's not an intuitive rule, but at least it makes Alphabet a bit more valuable.
• Also forgot that there is no colony maintenance when vassals are disabled. Avoiding colony maintenance was my rationale for not getting too invested on the minor continent in the SW in my first game.
• Based on Mark's abandoned game: Seems that Settler-first – which I had initially considered as well – is really not an efficient play on this map. Oasis is an OK tile, but not good at getting a Settler done fast.
Thanks for the write ups, folks.
And thanks for this mod, f1rpo.
I might chip in if there is another game coming up with normal speed and size and an unpredictable map.

I usually play the points handicap to AI as it is sensible to have the AI starting with their 2 techs and then they can buy whatever they like. Perhaps Monarch with 581 points to AI is interesting?
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