[BTS] All Leaders Challenge Game 36: Pacal II / Maya

I sometimes build a stables in the cap when going for a HA rush. I don't think they are worth it in all cities, but they definitely can be worth it in one city that's producing a large % of your early attack force.

I never build them when going for an Elepult attack though because they don't benefit Catapults. Even with a strong unit like War Elephants supporting them, Catapults are still going to do a lot of the heavy lifting and you will lose more of them and build more of them than WEs.

As for answers to your questions:

#1) Not sure atm - I would need to think about that a little more.

#2) Probably somewhere around 50/50 in my experience

#3) This depends a lot on how many units are in the city and what kind of odds your are getting. If a city is lightly defended it's often not worth bombarding. Just suicide a Catapult or two and take the city. If i do stop to bombard a heavily defended city i usually take it all the way down to 0 (or very close). How many Catapults to suicide is really a judgement call. Keep checking the odds your top attacking units have after each Catapult attack.
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I basically agree. The only thing I’d say is that I’d go 50% siege/50% units that can kill rather than 50/50 elephants/catapults (perhaps that’s really what is being said anyway). I’d hook up the iron and most of my actual attackers would be swords or axes. The war elephants would mainly be there to deter the AI from attacking your stack. I’d normally go in with two or three elephants max and a bunch of metal units. Swords will get better odds than elephants once they’re at CR2 against anything other than axes and they’re considerably cheaper than elephants. Axes also do a decent job and you can get two for a two pop whip instead of one elephant.

I’d probably not end of building many more elephants if things go well as they shouldn’t die if you build enough catapults.

Another thing I’d like to do if you capture horses is build a horse archer or two because I find the extra movement means they get to the front when they can still contribute. A weakness of mine is building units that arrive too late to contribute and two movers mitigate this somewhat.

Also build a scout with overflow so you got a unit ready to become your super medic. Another thing I tend to forget.

Is your comment that you can only wipe out a civ with elephants if you’re the Aztecs premised on the sacrificial altar allowing more whipping? I’d assume that the ball court could play a similar role albeit by providing more happiness rather than removing the unhappiness.
I basically agree. The only thing I’d say is that I’d go 50% siege/50% units that can kill rather than 50/50 elephants/catapults (perhaps that’s really what is being said anyway).

That's a good clarification. You can absolutely afford to have some weaker mop up units in your stack when you are using siege.
Thanks a lot. Lots of information to digest.

So I am supposed to maintain 50% siege. Since siege die more, I need to produce more siege than non-siege. Agree about mixing in horse archers later when I get horses. Agree about mixing two-legged units. But maybe only a few because I am not sure if swords get better odds than elephants.

CR1 sword: 6*(1+0.1+0.2)=7.8 Combat 2 elephant: 8*1.1=8.8
CR2 sword: 6*(1+0.1+0.2+0.25)=9.3 Combat 2 elephant: 8*1.2=9.6.
CR3 sword: 6*(1+0.1+0.2+0.25+0.3)=11.1 Combat 3 elephant: 8*1.3=10.4

At 10xp, yes. At 3xp when they first come out, swords are inferior. Saving production matters but even that's complicated. Against full-health defenders, elephants might be more efficient because they die less (and kill more). Against weakened defenders, I might prefer swords but with combat promotions to stay back and defend afterwards. Not axes because they die to mounted units, and if I add a holkan, I might as well just use a sword.

I prefer chariots as great medic generals. Barracks, stables, general, that's 25xp. Win one fight and that's 26xp. Then I get combat I, medic I / II / III, leadership. That's 3 movement. That reminds me: I need one stables. I need units with sentry later on.

Great generals don't have to be medics. At war, once the enemy gets longbows, they switch to vassalage.
CG2 longbows on hills: 6*( 1 + 0.25 fortification + 0.25 hill + 0.25 longbow hill + 0.45 CG + 0.25 longbow CG) = 14.7

A dozen catapults can die for nothing. I might instead promote some units to 10xp and sacrifice them soften their top defenders first.
I have no math to back it up, but I like to promote elephants to flank2 against those nasty longbows.
High base strength and then an immunity to first strikes should have a much higher chance to make a dent at really strong top defenders.
Let me introduce you to the magic of vodka: https://civ.zulan.net/vodka/ .

@sylv: Attacker promotions except Combat modify defense strength. For instance, C1 (AGG), CR2 sword vs CG2 Longbow is

6*(1+0.1 Combat 1) = 6.6 vs 6*( 1 + 0.25 fortification + 0.25 hill + 0.25 longbow hill + 0.45 CG + 0.25 longbow CG - 0.45 City Raider) = 12
I took the advice of @Mr_Trotsky and others to go 50% catapults and 50% other units.

I disagree that swordsman should make the main unit and a few elephants for stack protection. I still believe that more-expensive but higher-strength units are more cost-effective. Most of my units will be injured after successfully taking a city but then the same injured units may have to face counter-attacks.

I mixed-in a few swordsman afterwards but it was mostly elephants and catapults.

Round 3a: the problem with no horses (650 BC - - 275 AD T126)

As a recap, this is the technology situation in 650 BC. The only ones with horseback riding are the ones without horses.
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Catherine demanded I join against the Vikings. Since the Vikings are weak, losing, hated by everyone, and far away from myself, there was no harm in joining.
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550BC Buddhism finally spreads to my lands. Pause everything and convert immediately.
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Some more technologies are given and traded around, and Catherine makes another demand, this time for horseback riding. I forgot why I accepted. Maybe I didn't want to deal with an annoyed Catherine.
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On 225BC, my target, America, was the first to reach machinery. This is good news because the units enabled by machinery match-up poorly against what I am using.
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I am attacking with elephants. The AI will defend with pikeman and crossbows. The AI will see my elephants, calculate that the pikeman have winning odds, which is true, and leave the city to attack. I prefer being hit in the field, even by counter-units, than having to attack into a city. I always look for opportunities to lure the AI out of the city. Also I don't think elephants match-up too poorly against pikeman. Injured pikeman, on the other hand, match-up poorly against catapults.

If the AI went feudalism instead, I will face longbows hiding behind walls instead.

So anyway, after I declare war against America, I remembered that I was officially still at war against the Vikings at the same time. So I paid a small sum of gold to end that symbolic war...

... and then Catherine shows up.
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Once again I accepted. So now I have -6 diplo modifier against the Vikings for absolutely no reason except to, um, do everything Catherine says. As I am writing this even I am not sure what I was thinking.

On a more serious note, this is exactly the problem with not having horses:
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The plan was that after I took over New York, I will heal up and then keep marching towards the other core cities. But now I am stuck in New York trying to hold against counter-attacks from catapults, horse archers, and pikeman. Elephants counter horse archers but not after suffering collateral damage from catapults.

But I can't just move out and clean up the catapults. As soon as the elephant moves out to attack, it becomes an injured unit stuck outside to be picked off.

If I had horse archers or even chariots, I could have picked-off the catapults lying around and move back into the city. I could have continued the attack onto the core cities and the surrounding lands with well-developed cottages. But now I am just stuck in the city losing units.

Interestingly pikeman did not cause problems. When they attacked, my catapults defend.

So instead I send a secondary stack to take what periphery cities I can.
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Then I noticed that Zara Yaqob is still "pleased" towards me. He plots at pleased and has a big stack near me. Fortunately I managed to ask him for something
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Civ4 aged well but the rusty bits show up every now and then.
Round 3b: the wonderful Egyptians (275 AD - - 500 AD T135)

I gained four (4) cities but failed to deal any real damage to America or take over their core cities. It was as much as I could do but it might come back to bite later.
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Right after I signed peace, I directed research to polytheism and monotheism. I needed to run theocracy and get Zara Yaqob to friendly status. To this end, I decided to burn a great scientist for philosophy to get some trades.
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In hindsight, taking literature was just using up WFYABTA.

This trade was better
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Switch immediately. I did not switch to hereditary rule because it wasn't worth an extra turn of anarchy. Catherine was already +13 diplo with me, I didn't need more points. Getting Catherine to friendly status was never even a part of my plans. It just happened.
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What I really want is to get Zara Yaqob to friendly status. 475AD he gifted me a tech.
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I guess that means he wasn't plotting on me? I don't know, that big stack is still on my borders and it didn't seem like it had anywhere else go. Objectively it wasn't a big stack but I was defenseless so it looks big. My cities are slow-building workers because I needed time for whip-unhappiness to subside and for cottages to grow. I also needed to road-up my lands.
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Technology and wonder situation. I have an unused great scientist in the capital.
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How do you even hog that many world wonders?
What a marvelous calculator! It helps a lot. Thanks for sharing that lovely Vodka magic with the community :thanx:

Zara's stack looks suspicious. You made the right choice of begging Fishing from him :goodjob:. Better safe than sorry.

Ram is a real wonder-spammer :crazyeye:. But in this case, it might take long time for you to "take over" his wonderful land, because he's not your neighbour.

It seems no AI gets Education yet. So Lib woulb be still possible? Maybe Lib Chemistry? Or ignore Lib and go for Cannons? :think:

For the long-temr, UN victory seems also an option, I guess? Because already 3 AIs are Friendly with you. But this situation may change, since there is still a long way to go between Medieval era and Mass Media.
Round 4: one-city vassal (500AD - - 1300AD)

A few turns onwards, I was incorrect in my assessment that I failed to deal damage to America. They were tech, GNP, and production leader before my attack and slowed down a lot afterwards.

Since they were weakened, I didn't need to bother with cannons.
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I am a teeny tiny bit proud of myself for being patient with trades. I could have traded education for nationalism since everyone had it but I didn't. Julius Caesar was the first to gunpowder and I waited until someone else had it. Then I traded education for gunpowder and trade that around. I needed nationalism but I self-researched that one all the way. The reward was getting machinery and engineering, speeding up unit movement.

Once I took nationalism I started drafting muskets as usual. Muskets don't do so well attacking fresh defenders but can deal with weakened ones. They can also defend well. Notice that Zara Yaqob switched religion. Since Zara Yaqob was "pleased" with Roosevelt, I had to switch to ZY's religion before I attack, to prevent any nasty surprises.

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State of the kingdom at 1050AD (T165). Notice the incredibly annoying purple city on the left edge. Julius Caesar popped a great artist just to steal my tiles. He will pay for this later.
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More trades, a few turns of whipping and drafting, and the war started in 1210AD (T171). Lasted a whole seven (7) turns.
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The free market civic was definitely useful. I got more than that though. Capitulating was risky in case someone didn't like him. On the other hand, to my knowledge, and I could be wrong, but capitulated vassals always accepted _ _ fair _ _ trades regardless of diplomatic relationship.
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That purple city to the left? It was annoying me badly. So I attacked into it. Cuirassiers against infantry, doesn't matter, my unit maintenance was high and I need a productive way to dispose of outdated units.
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So what happened? I took two cities and gave away the American one I took earlier. San Francisco was surrounded by culture and wasn't productive anyway. Same tactics of holding off stronger enemies for several turns using cavalry.

Technology status at 1300AD (T190). I was behind but everything seemed manageable. I had a one-city vassal that still had several techs to offer and I could beeline for key techs to catch-up. There was sufficient time and a favourable diplomatic environment.
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Epilogue: conceded defeat and reflections (1300AD retired)

Upon closer inspection, I don't think the game was winnable anymore:
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I could have drafted and whipped a stack of rifles and cannons, walk half-way across the map, and raze a couple of key cities? Dude had mass media, which meant he already had radio, and probably bombers on the way. Even if I succeeded, then what? I wasn't progressing towards a victory condition.

So, was it better if I tried to go counter-clockwise in the beginning?

Not really. The Roosevelt AI does not produce many units, while Zara Yaqob is a tough nut to crack. It may not have even been possible. Plus Roosevelt also runs away if left alone.

Nono... I think I misread the game right from the beginning.

I should have went the standard nine-city totally pacifist cultural victory all along.

I had a strong capital, lots of riverside grassland and floodplains, the right civ and leader traits, and enough space for 3 great cities and 6 medium ones (even good ones) without war. The diplomatic environment allowed me to go pacifist. Religions were everywhere and easily accessible. If I fought for key wonders, it also denies the key wonders to others and slows them down.

This game is on public record. Grassland gems, riverside corn, riverside rice, and I lost. Happens.
Sorry about the loss :sad:. Sometimes the map generator can be tricky: it gives you a gem/corn capital but sets some potential runaway AIs around you :(. If the game put Shaka or Monty at Ramsy's place, the game might become less difficult, because these unit-spammers won't get an early Culture win and usually slow down their neighbours' tech rate.

After all, in a strategy game, wins and losses are all normal. So please don't be too disappointed about that. People learn more from their losses than their successes :)
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