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ALC Game 18, Take 2: Spain/Isabella

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by Sisiutil, Sep 12, 2007.

  1. Winston Hughes

    Winston Hughes Wrathful Warlock Retired Moderator

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    That sounds awfully late to be launching our first attack in a domination attempt. Are you thinking we should pursue a different victory condition?
     
  2. Sisiutil

    Sisiutil All Leader Challenger

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    I plan on building forces to take down Joao ASAP. Since he lacks metals but has horses, Swords, Spears, and Catapults should suffice. Granted he'll probably soon have Longbowmen, but that just argues more in favour of Engineering for Trebs. Plenty of Spearmen (later Pikemen) too, since I expect to see a lot of HAs and Barcelona's cottages floodplains are very vulnerable.

    Rome will be tougher so I prefer to wait until I have the full pantheon of medieval units (meaning Macemen and possibly Knights as well) in place.

    The UB is not far off, the UU is. Conquistadors replace Cuirassiers now, not Knights, which I think is a real shame. So I would be surprised to see Conquistadors in action on this continent or at least what I know of it.

    I agree that more exploration is a priority. I may pop a Trireme into the build queues in Seville and Cordoba immediately, ahead of the land units, to get that underway, especially now that I have OB with Augustus. I don't think any other civs are within reach by the early boats or Augustus would, by now, have met them (me too) and he would no longer consider Calendar a monopoly tech. So that, I think, means Astronomy from Liberalism, especially if we want to see Conquistadors in action, which we do. Yes, normally I'd pursue Nationalism from Liberalism for that purpose, but there will be no where to use them without Astronomy, I think.
     
  3. johnny_rico

    johnny_rico one more turn addict

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    As long as that stone quarry gets online quickly, I suppose nice trebs (is 10xp possible?) could pave the way for swords. And the pikes will handle the horses.
     
  4. nwadams

    nwadams Chieftain

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    if agustus attacks us before joao is gone, the game is pretty much over right?
    this is probably gonna sound nuts but i say we delcare war on agustus and play defence on the choke point, declare war on joao and focus offensive on him
    so we are fighting them both at the same time, and we won't get any suprises...can our economy handle that?
     
  5. KMadCandy

    KMadCandy giggling permanoob

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    "Augustus appears to have researched Metal Casting on his own. He did earn a Great Spy and I thought I saw something about another Golden Age for him, but I should go back through the game log to check. He'd have needed another GP of another type for that. Maybe he did use the GSpy for infiltration and stole MC from me? If so, he's not doing a very good job--I still have several techs on him."

    the power/etc. graphs now have an espionage graph too. i loaded your game and checked it, to see if there was a big jump on gus's. there's not, but i guess i don't understand how the graph works in the first place. you guys all look the same to me, even tho they each have double the points on you that you have on them :confused:.



    there wasn't any obvious spike on there like i was looking for. but i'm not sure it would show up, either. that thing is a mystery to me!
     
  6. Validator

    Validator Prince

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    There's actually an easy explanation for that. Joao and Augustus have directed all their EPs against Sisiutil while he has split his EPs between the two.
     
  7. KMadCandy

    KMadCandy giggling permanoob

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    i'd expect that if they hadn't met each other but they have. they even have OB. maybe they only met each other like last week?

    edit: they'd met each other by round three at least, so before 65 BC. i dunno what to think. that's the only way the graph matches what i expect it to be tho, since that's the only way what they're spending on espionage matches what he's spending. maybe they only spend it on someone they share a border with, so they are ignoring each other?
     
  8. Percy

    Percy Cow who laughs

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    Intuitively, and without any actual knowledge of the AI mechanisms whatsoever, i'd tend to favour this explanation.
     
  9. Winston Hughes

    Winston Hughes Wrathful Warlock Retired Moderator

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    I'd guess that each of them adjusted their espionage balance against us to 1 when we first met, and in the absence of any reason to change that (neither has seen the other gain EP against him; neither has increased his espionage rate; neither has perceived the other to be a threat/target), they both just left it that way.
     
  10. pigswill

    pigswill fly (one day)

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    I think Validator's theory can't be right. If Gus and Jo had eg 20 ep each concentrated on Sis and Sis had 10 ep split between them (i.e. 5 ep each) then the ratio would be 4:1 not parity. It may be that Gus and Jo are maintaining parity with S and each other (e.g. Gus puts 5 ep to Sis and 15 to Jo and vica versa).

    The other alternative is that they're both generating a lot less ep than expected. Maybe they haven't been building courthouses or running spy specialists and using GSpy for GA.

    Edit. Sisiutil: f Joao has construction then he could have a lot of cats waiting for you. It's likely to be better to declare on him and let him do the initial invasion so your cats can take out his stack rather than the other way round.
     
  11. Guardian_PL

    Guardian_PL Emperor

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    Well, I don't know about this espionage graph (something's fishy here...), but for Joao's cat's maybe it would be good to get several Horse Archers for flanking attacks? If I understand correctly in BtS siege weapons are immune to collateral, but whenever mounted unit attacks stack with siege units they are receiving damage similar to collateral.
    So while we are waiting for Conquistadores maybe Sisiutil could build some cheap Horse Archers and season them a bit?
     
  12. patagonia

    patagonia Emperor

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    Flanking attacks will work well against stacks of cats (you need to promote down the flanking line for them to work, don't you?), but I wouldn't bank on Joao having too many of those. Spies can quickly tell us what forces he's got where anyway, so they'd be a good early build in preparation for war.

    As I see it, the biggest risk with war against Joao is that he becomes a vassal of Rome, so make sure there's a decent force defending the border to the west.
     
  13. alcaras

    alcaras Warlord

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    I'm not sure whether we have OB with Rome; if we do, build a scout or two and send it over there to explore the terrain. If we don't, build a spy or two and send it over there to explore the terrain.
     
  14. Winston Hughes

    Winston Hughes Wrathful Warlock Retired Moderator

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    By the looks of things they're generating exactly the same as us - just the 4 EP from the palace - with each aiming all of their points towards us. Because we haven't increased our rate, and neither of them has directed any points towards the other, they haven't had cause to produce any more.

    If they had met each other first, they might well have got into a kind of espionage race, with each attempting to out-do the other (to our advantage). But since both have been able to stay well ahead of us, and are yet to start competing with one another, they've been content with the palace's EP.

    Still just guessing, though. ;)
     
  15. Sisiutil

    Sisiutil All Leader Challenger

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    That's what I thought at first, but that's not been my experience. All mounted units, regardless of promotions, have a chance of performing a flanking attack and causing collateral damage, essentially, to several siege units. It's made Horse Archers a little more useful, certainly.
     
  16. Sisiutil

    Sisiutil All Leader Challenger

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    Round 5: 640 AD to 1310 AD (66 turns), Part 1

    As the round began, I finished a handful of civilian builds and then began to prepare for war. I got news that someone completed the Temple of Zeus and worried that it was one of my targets... er, neighbours. But my luck held:




    Still, this could be a problem later. I'm aiming for a domination win, so facing the Temple of Zeus against a later opponent in the game eras where war weariness piles up much faster could be a definite problem. I may have to either try to capture the ToZ city very early in the war, or forgo attacking its owner. Even with all the improvements Blake and others have made to the AI--and they are there, noticeable, and very much appreciated--I find that war weariness makes a more formidable opponent in this game than the AI generals.

    I know some of you were advocating taking down Rome first, but Joao was teching towards being troublesome:



    Feudalism for Longbowmen was bad enough (but not unexpected). More worrisome was Compass. That put him closer to Optics (though he still needed Machinery, too) and his UU, that Caravel that can carry Settlers. That could, potentially, make Joao very difficult to hunt down and eliminate.

    So I was building units in my cities' queues and gearing up for war against Portugal. Perhaps I should have done it earlier, much earlier, but I made other decisions. Metals were not close by. And as you'll see, waiting this long means I definitely got a chance to let Spains unique building shine.

    So, with several units in the cities' queues, I took advantage of Spiritual and switched civics:



    As the army began to appear and make its way down to Barcelona, the staging point, I earned my next great person, a Great Scientist in Madrid. I used him for the first tech on the Liberalism path:



    However, Taoism had already been founded, so I didn't get the religion with it.

    Then several interesting developments occurred. First of all, I'd built a couple of Triremes and discovered that the land extending beyond the peak in the northwest didn't amount to much: 3 flat forest tiles and one fish tile. Barely worth a city, but I'll consider it. To the northeast was a different story. Beyond the mountain range was a straight, and beyond that, a fairly large island, arguably a continent. And Augustus had been busy settling it, which probably accounts for why he hadn't been seeking to expand aggressively in my direction.

    Since it's a separate land mass, the colony expenses for Rome obviously began to mount up, so Augustus created a colony, the earliest one I've seen thus far in BtS:



    Yes, I normally wouldn't trade a Liberalism path tech this early, but the Emperor-level civs were beginning to out-tech me. And as you can see, my underdeveloped economy and growing unit maintenance costs were driving down my research slider.

    This allowed me to do another civics change:



    Vassalage and Organized Religion are, I admit, a bit of an odd combination. But my cities were now alternating between units and buildings. Vassalage ensured that the former would emerge with Level 3 promotions, while OR ensured that the latter would benefit from faster builds. Come on, Isabella is Spiritual, it makes sense to leverage that with several opportunistic civics changes. And as you'll see, I certainly did that in this round.

    I also did a tech trade with Augustus, before I ran the risk of him getting ticked off with me for declaring war on Joao:



    So I finally obtained Calendar and got access to the UB even sooner than expected. As you can see, I did indeed research Engineering before Civil Service, which is unusual for me, but the goal here was to extend the life of the UB as much as possible.

    My units were in position. So were Joao's, to an extent. He had a few units running around in my territory thanks to Open Borders. I never like to be surprised by where those units end up when I declare war, so I always prefer to cancel the OB agreement first, often a turn or two ahead of time, so I can position counter units, if necessary, do deal with the "bounced" units of my imminent opponent.



    Time to backstab Joao before he backstabs me.



    First things first: I dealt with those "bounced" units I mentioned. I also captured a couple of Portugese workers that were right on my borders.



    I then moved my stack towards Lisbon, aiming to capture Joao's best city and the Apostolic Palace right at the start of the war. As expected, he sent several units towards Barcelona in a counter-attack. A lot of units. In retrospect, I probably should have left my stack in my territory to deal with his counter-attack first, but with Lisbon so close to my own borders, and the AP there, I was anxious to get that first war objective accomplished. Nevertheless, I just managed to kill all his units in my territory with Barcelona's defenders. Yet he still sent more.

    But then I got, on the next turn, and incredibly pleasant surprise:



    A golden age! It couldn't have come at a better time, what with my economy struggling to support the massive army I'd built and still fund research. Between it and Markets I built in Madrid and Barcelona, I was able to push my research back up to around 40% (woo-hoo!) and get several more builds done, especially walls and Citadels.

    Meanwhile, my stack closed in on Lisbon. Opposition there was formidable:



    It also took forever and a day to whittle away the defense bonus. I don't know how the numbers work (one of my weak points, I know), but several of Joao's cities suddenly had a 100% bonus, which I believe means he built both walls and castles in each one. Even with five Accuracy-promoted Catapults, it took several turns to remove the cultural defenses.

    Eventually, however, by throwing practically every unit in the stack into the fray, I succeeded:



    Lisbon is a very nice city with several wonders:



    Unfortunately, because it was in the heart of Portuguese territory, it starved all the way down to 1 pop before I managed to free up any of the tiles around it. It should recover quickly thanks to the corn tile, though.

    Now, I screwed up in one area big-time. In my impatience to get my units built and the war underway, then in my desperation to shore up my economy, I neglected espionage, despite several of you posted with advice regarding spies. I paid a price for my cavalier attitude to this new element of the game:



    Well, that hurt. It meant I wasn't running 2 scientists in Madrid in addition to those from the GL to take advantage of BtS' Golden Age boost to Great People points. Wah! In addition, I had several tile improvements pillaged, including some of Madrid's and Barcelona's precious cottages. Ouch. Lesson learned: before I take on Augustus, I'll remember to perform a counter-espionage mission, and have spies in the border cities at least to further reduce the success rate of Rome's espionage.

    The story, and the war, continues in part 2...
     
  17. slobberinbear

    slobberinbear Ursine Skald

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    I'm a fan of the OR + Vassalage combo. Vassalage gets your units to 5 xp with a barracks, and OR is a solid builder civic and is missionary-friendly. Another balanced combo is Bureaucracy + Theocracy, which gives you the same starting xp as OR + Vassalage and lets you crank out boucoups promoted units in the capital.

    Counterespionage is worth every stinkin' EP you will spend on it. Also, it rarely fails and your spy is rarely caught, so it's just a slight delay for your spy to run back to the front line from the capital after the successful mission.
     
  18. Sisiutil

    Sisiutil All Leader Challenger

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    Round 5: 640 AD to 1310 AD (66 turns), Part 2

    Even with the pains from espionage, something very exciting was happening. My first few Citadels were complete, their builds accelerated by the steady supply of stone from Toledo's quarry and by the golden age. It was time to start building Spain's hyper-promoted siege weapons:



    Heh. A golden age, the Colossus, and the Moai Statues all make water tiles pretty awesome, don't they? As I recall, I switched the citizen working the watermill to a coastal tile instead. Seville has plenty of happy and healthy headroom.

    I could hardly wait for the Trebs to show up. I was using Catapults at this point and quickly running out of them thanks to all the #@$%!! Longbowmen Joao was building. Well, I pillaged his horse tile and he has no metals, so I can't blame him.

    Once I had several Trebuchets ready to go in my cities' queues, it was time to switch civics again:



    Theocracy for even more XPs and Slavery to deal with all those whining Portuguese citizens.

    My first Trebs completed their builds shortly thereafter. Look at what Vassalage, Theocracy, Barracks, and Citadels give you right out of the starting gate: Level 4, 12 XP Trebuchets! Woot!



    I loaded them up with City Raider promotions and sent them to the front. Longbowmen? Hah!

    Nevertheless, it would take a while to get the Trebs into position. Meanwhile, my stack continued to rely on Catapults to deal with them.



    I'd lost two Swordsmen to Portuguese counter-attacks, so I was also looking forward to Civil Service so I could replace them with Macemen. I took Oporto and found a very nice surprise awaiting me within: a settled Great General and a settled Great Prophet!

    For my own Great Generals: I had already earned my first Great General in the counter-attacks around Barcelona and combined him with a Combat I/Medic I, 6 XP Chariot for my M*A*S*H unit (and HE/WP enabler). My next Great General got settled in Seville, which will be the Herioc Epic city. I like combining HE with the Moai Statues. I then have to put West Point in another city, but I've been doing that since Warlords anyway (2 settled Great Generals = West Point). But the settled GG means that Oporto is poised to be my 2nd military city, where West Point, a military academy, and possibly the Red Cross will go.

    As some of you predicted, an AP vote to stop the war came up. I voted to defy the resolution and braced myself for the unhappiness that would cause. But it turns out Augustus, in veritable Machiavellian fashion, was on my side, in a way:



    Interesting, eh? The AI does astound me sometimes. My power rating was about equal to Augustus' at this point. Was he concerned that I'd turn on him and was content to keep me going at Joao instead? Was he happy to have me eliminate a rival for him? Was he courting my favour? Perhaps someone who knows the XML and AI programming better can enlighten us. Regardless, I thought it was a savvy move on Augustus' part. Not that it's going to keep me from ripping his lungs out, but still.

    And thanks to this I discovered that defying an AP resolution that fails results in no additional unhappiness. Phew. And it also looks like I'll have more than enough votes to become the AP resident after the war--no real surprise.

    My stack marched on, to Coimbra, and this time I had Trebuchets and even a Maceman at my disposal. The city fell quickly, especially with the Trebs helping the Cats remove the defenses.



    In other news, I got some benefit from the ruins of that barb city.



    I can't remember who recommended leaving city ruins alone in BtS until they yield this type of a random event benefit, but thank you. That's a very useful tip. And now I can get my Workers over there to cottage that tile.

    Someone else researched Divine Right ahead of me to found Islam, but I'm thinking, with this boost, that I should pursue it very soon anyway. I'm thinking of the Spiral Minaret. I already have the AP for the +2 hammer boost to all State Religion buildings, you see, and Augustus, bless him, built the University of Sankore, so the SM would make a religious building-boosting hat trick for Spain. I have stone, so why not?

    My next Great Scientist was used for Paper.



    As you can see, I was researching Compass. I'm working towards Optics so I can go out and meet the other four civs (minimum) out there.

    The war was nearly over, as was the Golden Age, and I didn't want to burden my lurching economy with any more units than absolutely necessary, so I decided it was a good time to change civics and start focusing on infrastructure rather than military:



    There was only one Portuguese city remaining. I kept them all, as they all have decent food supplies and even some relatively mature cottages.



    Besides, Guimaraes yielded one more pleasant surprise that, in all the excitement of the war, I'd somehow managed not to notice until it was mine:



    The Hagia Sophia! And the forge survived. Maybe I'll be able to generate a Great Engineer out of that city sometime.

    Anyway, the war was over and so was the round. I played one more turn just to let all the war weariness and "we wish to rejoin our homeland" unhappiness and other war effects vanish. A state of the world post will follow.
     

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  19. Sisiutil

    Sisiutil All Leader Challenger

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    The State of the World, 1310 AD

    To start off, here's a look at the map, first with resources...



    And without.



    Obviously, both Augustus' and Justinian's territories contain some very attractive resources that I don't currently possess: dye, spices, crabs, whales. Not to mention extra fish, sheep, and sugar for trading once Astronomy comes along. Do any of you think any Roman or Byzantine cities are candidates for razing? All of them seem to have a food resource, with the exception of that barb city at the southern end of Justinian's continent. Maybe just that one, since all it has going for it is the copper.

    Domestic advisor:



    Yeah, mostly infrastructure builds that will aid the economy. Any suggestions on where the Forbidden palace should go? Looking at the map, the former Portuguese cities aren't that far away, so I'm thinking of saving it for Rome. Or better yet, since it's on a separate land mass and will therefore entail higher maintenance costs in BtS, Byzantium.

    Financial advisor:



    I think once I get courthouses and some Markets built, and once the Portuguese cities recover their populations and are able to work more of their cottages, I'll be in better shape.

    Foreign advisor:



    One of Justinian's cities went Christian, so he's not exactly in love with me at the moment. I think I should send a bunch of Jewish Missionaries to Byzantium; it would help with the economy, certainly--more money for Barcelona's shrine. Cumae could be converted to the one true faith as well.

    Active trade deals:



    Resources:



    Info--civics and trade:




    Techs:



    Pretty even-steven here. Notice something interesting, though? Yes, Augustus has Guilds. He can build Knights! Oh no! :eek:

    Relax. Go back and look at the map. I'll wait.

    Heh. That's right. Neither Augustus nor Justinian, his vassal, have horses. So no Knights for them! I could use them, however; Augustus definitely has Crossbowmen.

    Military Advisor:



    So I have a comfortable number of workers, especially since they're now accelerated by the Hagia Sophia. And I expect the next Great General--who will get settled in Seville so the HE city has the equivalent of an early West Point--to show up during the upcoming war with Rome.

    Religious advisor:



    Everyone in Spain is Jewish! Mazal Tov! Considering the lousy treatment of Jews in Spain during the middle ages, there's a certain delicious irony, even a poetic justice at work here.

    The power graph:



    Ahh, that's better.

    Demographics:



    Yep, the economy needs help. Like I don't already know that when the slider doesn't break even at 20%.

    And finally, espionage:



    So I think both Augustus and Justinian must die and their territory become part of greater Spain. The question is when. I'm moving my army to Seville and I'm tempted to just launch the war immediately, but I'm not sure that the economy can currently handle it.

    That being said, what infrastructure should be laid down before launching the war against Rome? Courthouses everywhere? What about Markets?

    The other question is technology. I'm researching Optics, and obviously finding the other civs is rapidly becoming a priority since I'm about to declare war on my only potential tech-trading partners. However, if I want the Spiral Minaret, should I research Divine Right now instead? Someone else already has it, and if that civ has stone, could easily beat me to the SM.

    Anyway, the Citadels are in place and Spain's uber-promoted Trebuchets helped finish the war against Portugal. The Spanish UB gets the Sisiutil stamp of approval; it makes up, big time, for the way siege weapons have been nerfed in BtS. Another consideration for the next round or two, then, should be gaining access to the UU. Could Spain field Conquistadors in time to finish off Byzantium? Stay tuned!
     
  20. LightSpectra

    LightSpectra me autem minui

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    I think we should immediately start advancing into Rome, that is, immediately as all your veteran troops move to the eastern border.
     

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