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ALC Game #24 Pre-Game Show: Playing as Babylon/Hammurabi

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by Sisiutil, Jul 24, 2008.

  1. Sisiutil

    Sisiutil All Leader Challenger

    Feb 19, 2006
    Pacific Northwest
    All Leaders Challenge Pre-Game Show:
    Game #24 - Babylon/Hammurabi

    In the next ALC game, I'll be playing as Hammurabi, leader of Babylon--one of the new/old leaders added in the Beyond the Sword expansion pack. (Old because for us Civ veterans, Hammurabi and Babylonia were included in previous versions.) The purpose of this thread is to discuss, before the game, how to best exploit this particular leader's characteristics, which is the main feature and purpose of the ALC series. Just so we're clear, I'm playing with the Beyond the Sword expansion pack with its most recent official patch (3.17) as well as Solver's unofficial patch. (I should also note that I elected to allow tanks to still get barrage promotions.)

    Here's the fact sheet:
    • Traits: Aggressive (Free Combat I promotion of melee and gunpowder units; double production speed of Barracks and Drydock) and Organized (Civic upkeep reduced 50 percent; double production speed of lighthouse, courthouse, and factory).
    • Starting Techs: The Wheel and Agriculture
    • Unique Unit: Bowman (Replaces Archer; Strength: 3, Movement: 1, Cost: 25; Unique Characteristics: +50% versus melee units.)
    • Unique Building: Garden (Replaces Colloseum; Cost: 120; Unique Characteristics: +2 health)
    I'll be playing with Choose Religions on, just for flavour. I'm undecided on the map type, so we can discuss that. The game speed will be Epic, as usual. And should I stay on Immortal difficulty or go back down to Emperor? I'm leaning toward Immortal again, but I'd like to hear your views.

    Hammurabi has very good traits for warmongering. Aggressive obviously gives advantages here, what with the free Combat I to the melee and gunpowder units, along with the cheap military buildings. But don't overlook Organized. It's subtle, but it serves Julius Caesar well when I play as him. The lower-cost civics let you run the science slider a little higher, while the low-cost buildings are some of the best ones in the game. Courthouses in particular are invaluable when conquering territory. So, I expect to be going to war quite a bit with Hammy.

    His unique unit is a tough one--I've gone up against Bowmen in other games, and they're formidable, especially on hills and/or fortified in cities--even against Praetorians. If they're fortified in a city on a hill with walls, they're practically invulnerable. And, of course, they're cheap. Bowmen are comparable, in my mind, to Protective Archers. So the way to use them is similar: I can defend my own cities and ones I capture with fewer, cheaper units. The main downside to Bowmen is that their bonus disappears when you upgrade them. That's too bad--a Longbowman with a +50% inherent advantage verus melee units would be freakin' awesome. But if I deploy enough of them and play aggressively, they should earn several promotions. The other downside is that Bowmen have no bonus versus the AI's favourite units, the mounted ones. Even so, especially if I stay on Immortal level, researching Hunting -> Archery will be an early priority.

    The unique building, the Garden, doesn't thrill me as much. Colloseums are buildings I rarely build. Then again, if I warmonger as much as I anticipate, they will help with war weariness, and the additional health is a nice bonus. Let's hope for the random event that requires you to build colloseums to make them even more worthwhile.

    As for the starting techs, Agriculture and the Wheel, they're very good. Since grains are common in the capital's fat cross, both of them should give Workers something to do right away. I'm thinking of building a Worker first if it's justified by the map. And Animal Husbandry is only a tech away. So what do you think of researching AH first, followed, especially if there are no horses nearby, with Hunting and Archery for the UU? Remember that as of the 3.17 patch, barbarian Spearmen are a lot more common, so you don't want to try to fend off barbs with Chariots alone.

    Over to you!
  2. CivCorpse

    CivCorpse Supreme Overlord of All

    Nov 15, 2005
    Move the warrior 1NE
  3. VoiceOfUnreason

    VoiceOfUnreason Deity

    Dec 5, 2005
    I'm not so keen on Animal Loving as an initial target. With Aggressive giving you buffed melee and your civ giving to a buffer archer, why would you want to make Mounted your initial objective? If the local food isn't telling you to do it, I'd hold off.
  4. Whiskey_Lord

    Whiskey_Lord Deity

    Jul 15, 2008
    Bowmen are excellent units for conquest, for the reasons you stated. Leave them in newly captured cities so you can have more axes and spears leftover. But why are you worried about mounted units vs. Bowmen? With City Garrison promotions, Bowmen hold their own against Chariots anyway. You should have already knocked out a rival before Horse Archers anyway. If they have lots of HAs, simply bring more spears. As for barb defense, Bowmen are all you really need. Post them in your border cities and on hills with resources (metals in particular).

    As for the Garden, I think of it as almost like an adjustable Hammam. The initial health/happy bonus isn't great (health isn't much of a problem most of the time anyway), but with Drama it becomes a godsend. I can't believe you don't use Coliseums normally, especially on Emperor/Immortal where you usually need all the happiness help you can get if you're warmongering.

    For map choice, you could show of the new Tectonics map if you haven't already. Inland Sea might be good for warmongering, or Hemispheres with 2 continents. Just try to choose a map where you're not likely to start isolated.
  5. Bandobras Took

    Bandobras Took Emperor

    Jun 27, 2007
    Orem, UT
    Have to agree that Animal Husbandry doesn't excite me that much. If anything, with Agriculture and the Wheel, I'd be more likely to choose pottery.

    Bowmen have a +50% vs. Melee; they'll be able to take down any Barbarian unit. You might even take a few along on the offensive.

    But yeah, I expect this to be war, war and more war.

    With regards to map type, try something arid or cold -- just to minimize possible health resources. :)
  6. CivCorpse

    CivCorpse Supreme Overlord of All

    Nov 15, 2005
    Sis, the garden is +2:healthy: not +1. Though i tend only to build the unique versions of colloseums as 120 hammers (240 on marathon) is quite expensive for +1:) Especially multiplied by several cities. those hammers can be used for units which end wars sooner thus reducing unhappiness. +2 :healthy: on the other hand is like giving a city freshwater access and really pays off in the mid to late game. especially on maps where the food sources are redundant, like all corn no rice.
    Like the protective trait, bowmen are not strong enough to warrant changing your game plan. Though Archers are usually obsolete by the time you decide on one. But then again so are riflemen. (yes, the theme this game has changed from teasing regarding civics changes to teasing about more policy changes than an American presidental canidate). Bowman are also crappy vs barb archers as well as AI mounted units. Agg can compensate for that by making it possible to produce combat 1-2 formation spears and pikes with a single civic or MI. A C1-2formation spearman is dead even with a c1 shockphant.
    Agg/Org is great for rexing with or without wars. I think a nice ole fashioned continents map is in order with an added civ. this limits the chances of you ending up isolated or on a 2civ continent.
  7. marstinson

    marstinson Chieftain

    Jul 14, 2008
    Having read through many of the previous ALC write-ups, I'm planning on lurking through this one since I don't know enough to make intelligent suggestions. But I do have a question.

    In most of my games I'm doing well to get even a single food resource within the BFC for the capital unless I want to move a couple or three tiles before settling, while the AI seems to be exceptionally blessed in this area. In my last game, Isabella, for example, ended up with three clams and a fish in the initial nine with a second fish and a couple of plantation resources after the first border pop (she had to die, but at least did it in a good location). How does the map generator determine where to put the player and the AI civs? Sisiutil's comment about grain being common in the capital's BFC doesn't make sense considering my experience to this point.
  8. BalbanesBeoulve

    BalbanesBeoulve Emperor

    Jan 6, 2008
    Hammurabi is a very underrated leader. The trait combo is great, lots of early warring without your economy crashing. The UB is actually better than you give it credit for. As has been mentioned, it's +2 health. And early game post HR, i find health more limiting than happiness. I mean, happiness is unlimited if yo'ure in HR.

    I'm not a huge fan of the UU, especially since he's not protective, but they make ok stack defenders and garrison troops.

    Unless you're isolated, or the only AI is far away, you should pretty much plan on axe rushing someone in the next game, and using that momentum to keep warring as much as possible. Plan on going for the oracle to get CoL, and then construction early for cats and the UB.
  9. popejubal

    popejubal Emperor

    Jan 13, 2006
    Allentown, PA
    My absolute favorite trait combination, together with Charismatic/Org.

    Sure, Agg/Charismatic will win wars a bit faster, but Agg/Org will let you actually DO something with your newly expanded empire. :)
  10. LiberiGlacialis

    LiberiGlacialis To the stars!

    Sep 6, 2007
    Online, for crying out loud!
    Little early there ;)

    Sis: Where are you finding lots of Barb Spears....wait, I've only stepped up to Noble, ignore that last comment. This should be fun. I'm not much of a warmongerer, but that seems like a good path. Trying for BW after that, I assume, right?
  11. MyOtherName

    MyOtherName Emperor

    Dec 7, 2004
    What map script are you using? All of the ones I'm familiar with come with an near 100% guarantee you get a food resource in the BFC of your capital. (Occasionally it's just a plains cow or a forested deer, but that still counts) The only possible exception is if you manage to get 20 flood plains in your BFC.
  12. Killroyan

    Killroyan Deity

    Apr 10, 2006
    I am looking very forward to this game. I have used Hammurabi only once so far in a boreal map. Normal speed on monarch and there the bowmen were not very special. On epic speed it will become more important I guess but still not one of the best UU in the game. The garden though is a building I really like. Especially on the boreal map with a great lack of health it did wonders for my empire. 2 health and 1 happy at immortal is a nice addition if you ask me.

    @Myothername: I have started maps with absolutely no extra food in the BFC unless you are counting 1 flood plain as extra food. Great plains is a map where that can happen pretty often.

    @Civcorpse: I agree, move the warrior 1NE :)
  13. Bandobras Took

    Bandobras Took Emperor

    Jun 27, 2007
    Orem, UT
    I find that a colloseum has is worth it only if you've put a little in the culture slider. Combined with Theatres, you get a not insignificant amount of happiness with even 10%.
  14. Munch

    Munch Benevolent Despot

    May 25, 2006

    Stick with Immortal; the last game was a pretty handy win and the traits this time shouldn't make it an incredibly tough game.

    I'd echo the calls to postpone AH unless you have some animals by your capital, as you want to get aggressive axes or swords up as fast as possible.

    Mining -> Archery -> BW? Mining will research slightly faster as a first tech as some AIs will have it already (am I right about that?), and you'll get time to erect a cheap barracks. Archery for REX; BW for locating your second or third city with copper.

    As for maps, have we had an ALC on Big_and_Small? I've had a lot of fun with this map type with the islands "island" size (rather than tiny) and "island region separate". It's pretty much a cross between continents and terra.
  15. patagonia

    patagonia Emperor

    Aug 19, 2006
    I agree with staying on Immortal - Hammurabi's a strong leader and with the propensity for war his traits suggest, Emperor would be a cakewalk.

    This makes a lot of sense too. Unless the map throws up pigs/cows, AH isn't an immediate priority; either fishing (if coastal) or mining/bronze sound better to me. The starting techs give you a possible source of food and a means of connecting resources, so I'd focus my early research on a means of production. When you do go for AH, you should slip hunting in first for the discount (and since it's on the way to the UU).

    I actually like Babylon's UB. It pretty much means you don't need to waste hammers on aqueducts and like the Greek Odeon, it's unlocked with construction which encourages you to think about warring if you want to gain access to it early.
  16. bjam

    bjam Chieftain

    Aug 7, 2007
    Lyon, France
    All Leaders Challenge Game 17, Take 2: Russia/Peter
  17. kniteowl

    kniteowl Pirate Captain :P

    Dec 27, 2005
    Is it just me or are people underestimating the Babylon UB?

    I consider it a late game Building, in the early to Mid game, the Happy cap is more important then health... later in the game around the Industrial Age.

    You start building lots of unhealthy buildings and that's when the UB comes into play. delaying constructing them until you reach your health cap.

    Usually by that point inthe game the Colosseum UB at 120 Hammers is quite cheap especially when your cities are around size 18-20.

    As for the UU... I Forgotten my number crunching but they have quite fair odds vs Macemen, so you can delay building expensive Longbowmen in the early middle ages and substitute them with Bowmen (UU) and spend those saved hammers (resources) on other things like more offensive military units or economic buildings etc...

    This is form memory (someone can correct me if I'm worng, I don't mind) but the odds are for a Bowmen UU defending in a city vs an attacking Macemen, both unpromoted

    3 Str vs 4 Str = (8/(1+1*100%)) (+50 FROM NATURAL CITY DEFENCE, +50% VS MELEE)

    This excludes 1st strikes so the odd should be close to 50%, so when using Bowmen UU to Defend vs Macemen, you'd want them to be more promoted then their melee enemies. Also Note Bowmen are very cheap, so you ccould potentially defend with 2 bowmen for every Macemen, I'm too lazy to check the hammer cost and such detail... someone can do it lol...

    that's my 2 cents on UU & UB.
  18. Lord Parkin

    Lord Parkin aka emperor

    Apr 27, 2004
    New Zealand
    If you're looking for strategies... I'd be interested to see how a few Guerilla II Bowmen would work as a pillaging force. Traversing those hills at top speed, wrecking havoc, and then squatting and denying the AI access to their nice Gold, Silver, Gems, Copper and Iron resources... it seems like it could have some great potential. I've always found Bowmen to be a pain in the neck to encounter when I'm trying to gain the high ground or capture cities from Hammy, so I suspect that a force of pillaging Guerilla II Bowmen would be quite formidable indeed. ;) Gaining the extra 2 XP necessary for the Guerilla II promotions shouldn't be too difficult, if you do a bit of barb-hunting (there will of course be no shortage of barbs on these high difficulty levels!). The +50% Melee bonus should help a lot to ensure easy victories against the barbs.

    The way I see it, once those Bowmen get up on the hills, there's really no effective counter to them until Horse Archers, so the AI may not even dare attacking them. So the earlier you try the "pillage and deny" strategy, the more likely I think it will be to succeed. Of course, this would beg a map type that tends to have large amounts of clustered hills. And the more civs nearby, the better. ;)

    I agree with what some have said earlier about only heading for Animal Husbandry if the capital's location warrants it. While The Wheel/Agriculture usually begs for early Animal Husbandry and a potential Chariot rush, it really doesn't leverage Hammy's traits at all. That said, an early Chariot rush would still be acceptable if it allows you to utilize Hammy better in the later game. But heading for Bronze Working for those Combat I Axes seems like the logical choice for an Aggressive leader.

    Organized will be great for those cheap Courthouses. The UB doesn't thrill me, since how useful it will be depends a lot on the map. Still, +2 health is always nice, especially if you're running Hereditary Rule and maxing out the happiness of cities.

    I say go for Immortal; give yourself more of a challenge. :D
  19. Stuck in Pi

    Stuck in Pi 3.14159265358979323846...

    Oct 23, 2007
    I have just two words to say, just two words: Great Wall.
  20. kazapp

    kazapp Emperor

    Apr 2, 2006
    Actually, I think that comment was perfectly placed... :smug:

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