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ALC Game 33: Byzantium / Justinian I

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by sylvanllewelyn, Jun 10, 2021 at 9:21 AM.

  1. sylvanllewelyn

    sylvanllewelyn Perma-newb

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    All Leaders Challenge Game 33: Byzantium / Justinian I. The original thread is here.

    Round 0: settling the capital (4000BC to 3880BC)
    Round 1: early ancient era (3880BC - 2240BC)
    Round 2: ancient and early classical production trap (2240BC - 400BC)
    Round 3: classical era (400BC - 400AD)
    Round 4: dark ages (400AD - 700AD)

    ALC33.png
    The idea of the All Leaders Challenge is that games are going to be played with each of the Civ IV leaders. With the help of all the posters who participate, an attempt will be made to make the most of the leader's unique characteristics: traits, starting techs, unit, and building. Aside from the leader, the other game settings are (mostly) kept constant for the sake of comparison. I will post the saved game files, screenshots, and status reports here as the game progresses.

    I can also post the worldbuilder file if someone can teach me how to.

    Everyone is invited to offer opinions and advice, and to make your own attempt at playing the same game. But if you do play a "shadow game", I kindly request that you refrain from posting spoilers--i.e. any facts or even hints about the map, opponents, and so on--before I'm there myself. I'm trying to play the game as authentically as possible.

    In this ALC game I’ll be playing as Justinian I of Byzantium. In ascending alphabetical order, this is the first civilisation that has not been played in the ALC series from 1 to 32.

    Civ4ScreenShot0000.JPG

    My thoughts on this leader? Both the UU and the UB requires horses to be (fully) functional. Let’s hope we can find horses.

    The game settings are: Immortal, Fractal, Cylindrical, Standard, Temperate, Medium Sea Level, Ancient Starting Era, Normal Game Speed, No Tribal Villages, No Random Events.

    Civ4ScreenShot0001.JPG

    The start. Plains cow is about the best food source you can hope to find in the starting capital.
    Civ4ScreenShot0002.JPG

    (kappa)

    Seriously though, this is actually very playable. If you are not getting frozen in actual ice and snow, or dense jungles, or tiny pacific islands, you already have a head start.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jun 14, 2021 at 8:33 AM
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  2. Nick723

    Nick723 Warlord

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    Hmmm - tough start! Long way to animal husbandry and not much to do before then.

    Either settler first, or maybe just better to wander inland a little and try your luck!
     
  3. AcaMetis

    AcaMetis Emperor

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    Warrior 1SW to check the empty square 2SW, if nothing there move to the PH and settle next turn I think. Plenty of empty tiles that could contain something, and SIP isn't really doing you any favors other than fresh water.
     
  4. dankok8

    dankok8 Elected World Leader

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    This could be one of those rare starts where you go Settler first if there are no other resources... Hopefully the Warriors 1SW reveals something.
     
  5. pigswill

    pigswill fly (one day)

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    Warrior NE, settler S then E to plains hill if nothing better. Coastal start with seafood is seriously naff.
     
  6. konata_LS

    konata_LS Chieftain

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    Satan's voice :satan:: settle on cow and research Medi:devil: ! <--:jesus: : Don't do that. Food tech first.
    ^Just joking :lol:. It's a great pleasure to see ALC series revive :clap:

    Moving warrior 1 SW seems a good choice. If there is no food resource 2W of the cow, settling on plain hill would be quite good. If there is food 2W of the cow, settling decision may become a little subtle.

    Justy's traits are decent. His UU can be considered as a Cuir that comes with Guilds (though you'll need spies to put AI's city in revolt or sabotage wall). But Byzantium's starting techs are not food tech, which delays the growth in the early game.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2021 at 3:14 PM
  7. sampsa

    sampsa Ghost

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    Settler first will be pretty awful, as no connection via river, worker out T28... Settler first on river+floodplains is another thing. I think I would go on the plains hill though assuming warrior finds nothing.
     
  8. Snowbird

    Snowbird Prince

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    Dif being just immortal... I'd go for a walk. Move the warrior 1NE - checks coast and the tile 2E from the warrior, if nothing found, move the settler 2S1E and keep looking for something with food and less brown stuff.
     
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  9. sylvanllewelyn

    sylvanllewelyn Perma-newb

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    Round 0: settling the capital (4000BC-3880BC)

    Turn 1 (4000BC)

    The trees to the North are covered in snow. I want to move the settler South. To explore more effectively, the warrior move the opposite direction, 1NE. Then the settler moves to the hill 2S1E.

    Civ4ScreenShot0003.JPG

    Not looking good. I need something better than plains cow.


    Turn 2 (3960BC)

    Civ4ScreenShot0004.JPG

    Still just plains cow. There is a riverside plains-hill. If there are no food resources, I will settle with floodplains.


    Turn 3 (3920BC)

    Civ4ScreenShot0005.JPG

    This looks like my capital. I cannot afford to delay any longer.


    Turn 4 (3880BC)

    I met everyone's favourite civilisation even before I settle my capital. Must be close. Good to know that I am neither isolated nor semi-isolated with a warmonger.

    Civ4ScreenShot0006.JPG

    Three (3) delay for a capital that is more conducive to cottages. Vast desert to the West. Will obtain stone 55 turns later. Want to expand down along the river and then backfill later. However if there are no more funny surprises then my first expansion must be next to the oasis. I need to ensure that there is enough commerce to even reach pottery.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2021 at 9:32 AM
  10. pigswill

    pigswill fly (one day)

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    Starting with wheel you can get pottery after agric if it takes your fancy.
     
  11. sylvanllewelyn

    sylvanllewelyn Perma-newb

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    Round 1: early ancient era (3880BC - 2240BC)

    Sorry if it seemed like I ignored some suggestions. I read and appreciate all of them but in the end I have to make a decision. I might even regret some of the decisions I ignored.

    For example (3000BC)
    Civ4ScreenShot0000.JPG

    If I moved the warrior 1SW instead of 1NE in the beginning, I would have seen the wheat and settled in place.

    Tech order, agriculture, bronze working, pottery. Land explored, neighbours met, details.

    2240BC
    Civ4ScreenShot0001.JPG

    After I finished bronze working T36 (2560BC), copper showed up in my face. Given the circumstances, I feel like I should attack Mansa Musa with axemen, even against skirmishers and I am not aggressive.

    Arithmetic. Mansa Musa founded Hinduism in T16 (3360BC). The palace has 2 culture. The holy city has 5 culture.
    20% cultural defense by T5 (3800BC)
    40% cultural defense by T27 (2920BC)
    60% cultural defense by T83 (680BC)
    This is the latest possible time. Preferably I can attack much earlier because, a few turns ago, Mansa Musa also switched to organised religion. So all their cities have high culture and defended by skirmishers.

    It would be great if I could self-research hunting, fishing, writing, alphabet. Then I can trade for sailing, animal husbandry, archery, before I attack. But that might be too slow so I have to make decisions. Or I can do something else.

    I do not care about horses yet. I am not sending chariots against skirmishers in a holy city.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2021 at 3:41 AM
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  12. pigswill

    pigswill fly (one day)

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    Given this is ALC you could consider waiting for Cataphracts before rushing Mansa. The fact that you've already discovered enough food for 4+ cities is another factor, the fact that Mansa will trade techs is an ever more sgnificant factor.
     
  13. krikav

    krikav Theorycrafter

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    This is how I would think, given this opening:
    Spoiler T19 :


    Fog-gazing shows these two tiles are empty.
    Civ4ScreenShot0000.JPG
    Candidate spot is on the PH 1E of cow, this would keep the northern resource but lose the south-western one.
    Therefore I check what I stand to lose if I move on top of the hill.
    Civ4ScreenShot0001.JPG
    This shows wheat, and some more hills. They are also connected to fresh water, and it looks like there is desert there. Could be an oasis.
    Civ4ScreenShot0002.JPG
    Settler moves here, to gain maximum info while moving.
    Civ4ScreenShot0003.JPG
    Scouting yet more by moving south before jumping up on the hill.
    Civ4ScreenShot0004.JPG
    Somewhat decent.
    Civ4ScreenShot0005.JPG
    Agri->Worker.
    Civ4ScreenShot0006.JPG
    What is done, roading the wheat and will then road one turn 1N of oasis. Once sheep is done I can finish that road and then the worker is free to move in alot of different directions.
    Settlement southwards to block of land seems sensible, but settlement 1N of the cows could be OK too,
    Civ4ScreenShot0007.JPG




     
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  14. sylvanllewelyn

    sylvanllewelyn Perma-newb

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    @krikav
    Once again your walkthrough is very informative. Thank you. My thought process was definitely not up to your level.

    I am not sure how to go for cataphracts. I only know how to do it if I skip fishing, so there is not enough food for 4+ (real) cities. The surrounding land is not commerce-rich; Not poor either, I say average. However this is compounded with no fishing and sailing. Limited foreign trade routes. Economic management a little challenging.

    Well okay, maybe trade routes with immediate neighbours, but, BUT... _ _ sigh _ _

    Round 2: ancient and early classical production trap (2240BC - 400BC)

    The standard target tech is alphabet. This requires writing, which I got 1640BC
    Civ4ScreenShot0000.JPG

    Worst enemies of 4 out of 6 civilisations and they don't even have religion. I can still trade tech, just no open borders and no resource trades.

    But that's actually a big problem because Mansa Musa is my only connection with all the other civs. Again, cataphracts, so no fishing and no sailing. So I have to slowly build a road across the desert to my only other neighbour to the West, Du Gaulle of France. Massive delay in economic development.

    Trapped in a small commerce-average location, trapped by instructions not to attack Mansa Musa until cataphracts, trapped by desert to the West, tundra to the NW, I fell into a production trap. Autopilot production trap despair. Unnecessary granaries, libraries, barracks, and axeman. Useful things, just not the right time. Axeman cost maintenance, further delaying the quest to alphabet.

    Checking the espionage screen every turn because I had nothing better to do.

    And THEN, in 800BC...

    Civ4ScreenShot0001.JPG

    I wonder what wonder is close to completion? I was hoping it would be the Temple of Artemis because I really could use a Great Merchant but it wasn't. Anyway I need the stack of axeman to do something. The desert road turned out to be useful.

    Civ4ScreenShot0010.JPG

    Screen shows aesthetics completed by 675BC. Yes, no new techs from 1640BC to 675BC. I did not mean to play so many turns without pausing. It's just that not much happened.

    A few turns into alphabet and got some trades going.
    tech trades.png

    Obtained animal husbandry and iron working somewhere along. Forgot details.

    500BC: siege of Paris. After taking Paris, I will go back, meet up with the reinforcements, and attack Lyons.

    Civ4ScreenShot0005.JPG

    Later on I take Lyons but the gold mine remains in French cultural influence. Unfortunate.

    Civ4ScreenShot0006.JPG

    Tech situation in 400BC. Du Gaulle is willing to sign a peace treaty, which I plan to do.
    Civ4ScreenShot0008.JPG

    Not a critical juncture since I am going to finish metal casting anyway. Besides avoiding fishing, I also have to avoid mathematics.

    What would I have done if it were not ALC? Maybe... be best friends with Mansa Musa, trade my copper to them for ivory, go elephant-catapult the world everyone else, upgrade elephants to cataphracts much later. Maybe.
     
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  15. dankok8

    dankok8 Elected World Leader

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    I'm not a big fan of Cataphracts at all. Guilds are hard to beeline requiring CS + Machinery and Catas don't ignore Walls and Castles making them much worse then Cuirs. Like they are a good unit but hardly worth planning your entire game around IMO.
     
  16. konata_LS

    konata_LS Chieftain

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    Wow, Mids captured! :clap:

    Mids is particularly cool with SPI leader :cooool:, because it allows you to switch smoothly between Rep/Caste and Police State/Slavery.
     
  17. sylvanllewelyn

    sylvanllewelyn Perma-newb

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    Knights (cataphracts) require guilds, not civil service. That's why I have to avoid mathematics.

    EDIT let me clarify. If I avoided code of laws, then I could research fishing, sailing, mathematics, and still allow the Great Scientist to lightbulb machinery and the Great Merchant to lightbulb guilds. But I am not philosophical and without caste system, it is very difficult to obtain two great persons in time. The market is also a very expensive improvement.

    If I were to play this game normally, my first expansion spot would be where my settler started, chop out The Great Lighthouse, settle along the coast of the peninsula, beeline to currency, enjoy 4 foreign trade routes per city with everyone on the same continent, meanwhile gathering failgold with both marble and stone.

    For ALC, however, I need to at least try to use the UU and UB.

    Pyramids is never bad, and certainly never bad to capture, but in this case I don't think it's that gamebreaking. I need monarchy anyway, I got wine in my borders, and I don't have a lot of food for specialists. I don't have a lot of food, period.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2021 at 6:13 AM
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  18. dankok8

    dankok8 Elected World Leader

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    Sorry. I meant to say Guilds require Feudalism + Machinery. It's quite a tough tech to beeline. Especially on Immortal+ where using the Oracle to grab Feudalism while also getting Pyramids for a GE to bulb Machinery is probably extremely difficult if not totally impossible to pull off.
     
  19. krikav

    krikav Theorycrafter

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    If you get a GEng, you can use that guy to bulb guilds, if you avoid math.
    If you get math, the GEng will bulb along construction->engineering instead.

    That way, you get longer to spawn that GEng from pyramids (or a lone forge?) and using that bulb as a final push i the rush.
     
  20. sylvanllewelyn

    sylvanllewelyn Perma-newb

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    Most things did not go as plan. My original plan was to get a great scientist off a library and a great merchant off a market. The problem was I needed code of laws to run merchant specialists to reach currency. Perhaps in a more commerce-friendly map.

    Getting an engineer was the backup plan but that also did not work out.

    Round 3: classical era (400BC - 400AD)
    Changing religions at-will is a benefit of the spiritual trait. I signed peace with France and then tried to patch up relations with Zulu and France by sharing religion.
    Civ4ScreenShot0000.JPG

    That did not work.
    Civ4ScreenShot0001.JPG

    Thankfully I stacked my remaining axemen ahead of time in Paris just in case.
    Civ4ScreenShot0002.JPG

    The problem was the Zulu were attacking from French lands and I have a piece treaty with France. I cannot finish off the weakened units.

    Currency by 25BC followed by tech trading and selling.
    Civ4ScreenShot0004.JPG

    Many of the trades seemed lopsided but I got no diplomatic modifiers for most of them. They were researching the techs themselves. I list them out of order for ease of disposition.
    Spoiler :

    tech trades.png


    A pivotal moment arrived in 25AD.
    Civ4ScreenShot0009.JPG

    I declined, and then neglected to make units to defend Paris. That will later turn out to be poor judgment... by the way, this is exactly the problem with binary research. If I had less gold and they demanded less, none of the later tragedies would have happened. Since I am not playing with events on, the benefit of having a stash of gold is not obvious.

    Another pivotal moment, 50AD
    Civ4ScreenShot0010.JPG

    This time I accepted, and then threw my chips in to open borders and trade resources. As of this writing I am unsure if this was the correct decision. I did get ivory, for copper that I did not need, so that was neat.

    I needed to give away two techs for peace. I thought about just giving him the French cities but I was worried they would be liberated anyway. The techs were not very big ones.
    Civ4ScreenShot0014.JPG

    The Zulu then went for someone else
    Civ4ScreenShot0019.JPG

    As I said, my backup plan was getting a great scientist or great engineer. Instead I got something rather unwanted.
    Civ4ScreenShot0024.JPG

    I have to make do with infiltrating the Mali and then stealing their gold. Less efficient but at least it's not a great prophet.
     
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