[BTS] All by myself always war


May 14, 2021
I’ve ended up isolated in an always war game and, given it’s an unusual situation, I thought I’d share the map and ask for thoughts. I've never played always war before and this was not what I expected.

I’ve already played to T108 but the big reveals are behind the spoiler tabs. The settings are below:

Normal speed
Normal size

We’re Gilgamesh because I like the colour. Also, vultures seemed like they might be fun and he’s a solid but not spectacular leader and I didn't want to try a new setting with an OP or particularly well suited leader because I thought I’d learn less.

Spoiler :


Where we are?
Spoiler :

Essentially I set off with my warrior to harass an AI like a four year old on half term and didn’t find one. I can see Joao’s culture on another landmass but it looks like I can’t reach him pre-optics and vice-versa. We’ve not been formally introduced and I could only see his culture for the first time about five turns ago. I probably should have scouted that last bit of the island earlier but I don’t have metal or archery so venturing into the jungle was a bit too scary and it wouldn’t have changed much.

I’m teching civil service and I’m wondering where to next. A lot of the always war tips don’t apply but beelining astro à la isolation didn’t seem right either (hence teching civil service).

Spoiler :

I think the key question is: when do we want to meet the AI?

I’m thinking when I have cannons and rifles. I suspect they’ll find me before then but I don’t think I want to introduce myself until I plan to attack. It’ll only cause them to start building units and prevent them from fighting each other. I guess there’s a small advantage to them starting to build units which will be obsolete when I attack rather than research but that seems pretty minor.

A question that follows is: can you meet an AI with privateers? If not, I should think about whether my tech path can be directed towards privateers so I can start messing with them pre-contact if possible. It’ll help to sink their navy while it’s still made up of caravels and galleys. Joao is close but, if the others are not on the same landmass, sinking their navy could be very helpful.

I’m also assuming that I can get close enough to other landmasses without making contact with caravels because they can see two tiles. If that’s wrong, that’ll be annoying because I will want to scout pre-invasion to get some idea of where everybody is and whether they’re all on the same island. Also, I’ll want to win circumnavigation because the extra movement should help me move troops quickly and, perhaps more importantly, avoid battles at sea.

Spoiler :

After worker techs, I went mysticism, poly (because my original plan was to go for the mono religion), PH and monarchy. When I finished poly, I realised nobody had built the oracle and wondered whether perhaps going for monarchy while making a cheeky play for the oracle would be better. Founding a religion felt important for happiness and also to allow me use of the religions civics - I don’t need to worry that nobody will like me as a heathen - but I thought I could get the philosophy religion even if I missed out on the earlier ones.

I got the oracle T78 which I assume is really late. I think this is the second time I’ve built it and I tend not to pay too much attention to when an AI builds it. I was going to take COL but I finished monarchy the turn before the oracle and went feudalism because it was the most expensive tech, it’s also on the way to civil service and it’s on the way to banking. I then went maths because I wanted civil service but then came my first distraction.

Trade routes didn’t add much given they’re all internal but it was getting to the point where I was running out of useful things to build and wealth became attractive so I went currency. It also made COL cheaper which was where I went next. This was because I was working on a great person in Uruk which was 65% GS and I wanted to be in a position to bulb philosophy if I got a GS. I’d forgotten that I’d need alpha and aesthetics too so this was pointless. I also wanted COL because it made CS cheaper and I’d need caste at some point for a golden age. Then I got a great prophet rather than a scientist so went for masonry and mono to open up the theo bulb because I wanted a religion and didn’t want to delay and miss out.

Also, with a religion I would want to do a double switch into bureau and OR so getting CS earlier wouldn’t help that much. I bulbed theo and now I’m finally going for CS.

My broad plans are: civil service, philosophy, banking, optics with a view to taking astro with lib.

I think I need optics early enough to win circumnavigation but probably no earlier and banking will help a lot. Therefore, I’m leaning towards banking first but don’t really have much of a feel for timings yet. Also, not sure where philosophy fits in because I don’t think I’ll bulb it and I feel a fair way from a golden age. Perhaps that’s a mistake.

I’m thinking astro with lib because, although I could probably go for something bigger - say steam power or communism - I can’t check where the AIs are tech wise because I plan to avoid meeting them which means there’s a risk of losing lib. Also, I think I want to start attacking before communism or steam power.

There’s also the question of whether going lib is the right thing to do rather than just going for lib because I always go for lib. It would be faster to get to cannons and rifling if I avoid lib. I could skip philosophy and education as well as lib. However, I will need lib eventually because communism is important. I will also need philosophy for nationalism because I think I’ll be drafting. I’ll want to take advantage of being isolating to have a caste/pacifism golden age too. The only potentially superfluous tech is education which is cheaper than astro and I suspect I will need education eventually as it’ll probably be a long game.

Great people
Spoiler :

My first GS was used for an academy and I then got a prophet for theology bulb. I’ll work on a golden age great person in Eridu.

I’m not really sure how to play it from then. If I’m going lib, the classic lib GS generation makes sense to me. But not sure how useful other great people will be. Obviously GMs are much weaker without trade missions so I guess golden ages although perhaps I just keep bulbing. I don’t need to make a decision on this too soon.

Spoiler :

With no stone or marble on the island nothing really stands out to me. I made a halfhearted play for a very late oracle. I think the hanging gardens might be worth a halfhearted attempt because the health situation doesn’t look stellar and I’ll want an aqueduct in Uruk anyway.

I’m also pondering the AP. It would remove the risk of losing to an AP vote and AP hammers wouldn’t be bad. It feels like a big investment though.

Spoiler :

Unlike in conventional isolation I didn’t want to sit on four cities and beeline astro. My plan is to just keep expanding and fill out my island to give me production when I finally meet the AI. The land isn’t flush with amazing resources but there will be a lot of green tiles once I’ve cleared the jungle.

I’ve waited for civil service before going too crazy - partly for bureau and partly because a lot sites are going to benefit a lot from chain irrigation. I’m also going to need a lot more workers (and iron working) before really filling it out.

I doubt serfdom is going to be superior to slavery or caste at any point where a civics switch is on the cards but it’s worth keeping in mind given the amount of jungle.


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Phoenix Rising
Feb 12, 2006
Spoiler thoughts :
I zoomed out with culture option on. You are not isolated. You can see the AI culture just by looiking where the warrior is. The more Ai you meet the more people you will be at war with. Once they meet you they can't declare on anyone else.

The minute you land on the AI continent you will have stacks pretty much converging on you. So landing now only has merit if you can land a large enough force to hold a position. Sooner or later the Ai will settle your unclaimed land if they find you.

Colonial costs will also be an issue. If you wait for galleons you can do a raze and burn war on coastal cities. That or just spam cuirs and taken down the Ai by force. You probably have a good tech lead here just poor land to whip.

Privateer will instantly meet new AI when they come in contact and you will be at war. So Privateers have no value here. For 10H more frigates can bombard and have 2 strength more. On always war map bombarding by sea is much safer!

If you do go for navigation bonus use top of map so to avoid any AI you might meet. You want to be fighting as few ai as possible.
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