Babylon, Demigod. Do I have any chance?

Sakharov

Chieftain
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Started a game on Demigod with Babylonians (usually I choose Monarch/Emperor). I decided to follow such tactic: build GL ASAP, switch to monarchy and put science to 0% and conquer all rivals on a continent and build cheap libraries and temples in captured cities to produce culture. I failed to build GL and I'm way behind. As I think, the only solution is to declare war to Vikings (appears to be my weakest and nearest rival) to expand my territory. In this game Babylonian UU has 3/1 A/D and might be sort of advantage. I have a source of Iron in Samarra, but for that reason there's no reason to build swordsmen. Cause Bowman will triger GA, I should wait before I research monarchy (every AI refused to sell it). It's 7 turns left and I already built barracks in my core cities and started producing Bowmen. WDYT, do I have any chance?

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Not with that city-placement. Way too loose, you could have put about twice as many towns in that area, and still have unused tiles at Pop12.

And if your plan is a Bowman-rush, why are you building Galleys in Barracks-towns?!
 
Well, I'll slightly disagree, and say yes, but first build a bunch more towns and workers. You can plant about 10 more pretty good towns in the space that you have. Then go after the vikings.
 
Not with that city-placement. Way too loose, you could have put about twice as many towns in that area, and still have unused tiles at Pop12.

And if your plan is a Bowman-rush, why are you building Galleys in Barracks-towns?!
I placed cities this way for the future growth to 20+ pop powerhouses and always placed core cities like that.
I agree, building Galleys didn't worth it, I thought I would transport my Bowmen to enemy territory to capture Molde, but that was stupid cause there was only 1 tile to go. Anyway I captured it. There's bad news: they already have Berserks which replace Med Inf in this game (5/2/1, 40s).
Now I triggered GA, I got +59 gpt if put science to 0. No one AI agreed to join war. I have to research Construction and Currency to advance to Medieval. Research rates are pretty poor but I can buy Construction from Romans (the best deal) and build aqueducts at non-river cities.

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WDYT, do I have any chance?
The starting conditions you had in 4000 BC were more than good enough to win this game but your strategic choices so far and the intended strategic choices looking forward are in my opinion poor choices. If you still have the 4000 BC save, then i in your place would rather restart there. The map you where on in 4000 BC does not favour early aggression. In my opinion building the GL is often not a good strategy even if the risk of not getting it were not there. A SGL would better be used on the pyramids.

In the early game your focus needs to be on tiles and population. Try to get as many good tiles as you can get without a war and build as many towns as needed to use all those tiles reasonable soon. Before all cities aimed at size 10 to 12 have reached that size, it is no good idea to start a war and risk an early GA. While waiting for monarchy or better republic for a GA makes sense, but it is not sufficient. You need to wait till the tiles to utilize the GA have reached their (preindustrial) potential. Else you loose out on a significant portion of what your GA could be. Letting your modified UU rule your judgement is a somewhat major mistake.

So my choice for the early game would be to explore(that you did), expand(that you did more or less) and exploit. It is the later that leaves much to be desired. Get republic ASAP, many many turns before 280 AD. Buy it for gtp if you have to. Hell, buy it as early as you can. Such a purchase requires to first have the gtp needed in the purchase, so set the research slider to zero for the duration of the negotiations.

Irrigate to facilitate growth. Have 2 to 2.5 workers per town to match high population growth. Once all relevant tiles are improved join some worker for the last bit of growth to the (preindustrial) potential. Up until that point you army needs to be reasonably small. Use veteran bowman as deterence and have a few units outside your borders for exploration. But have no army beyond that. Donnot start building up a significant army till about 20 turns (or even less) before the intended start of your first war. At that time you will surely already have feudalism and problaby chivalry and possible gunpower or even military tradition. The later may be too unlikely to plan with it. Build some cheap veteran UU, enough to trigger the GA safely. That takes up less than 2 turns of your average production of about 10 shield per city at that point. Build no more than a handful of pikes or musketmen. Possibly build a few trebuchets. What you have build so far should be less than 50% of your intended military strenght. The rest would either be MedInfs or knights. Given the strain unit support can be as a republic knights are preferable. One the war has started, any additional military production should only go into knights which absorb production in a unit support friendly way and later they can be upgraded to cavalry which is very well suited for efficient warfare and after all you donnot want inefficient warfare, right?
 
Yep, I have a feeling that I made something wrong. I've got 4000 BC save, and here's the staring position. It's a bit modded game and you start with 3-moves settler so you can choose better position. Is coastal capital a reasonable choice? I always thought it is. Here's what we got:
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Which tile is better? Tile 1 have lots of shields and it will pay off in long term. But tile 2 have some forests to cut down for shields and there's lots of food in sea (wheat and 2 fish, not visible on screen). In my last game I made weird choice, but I like placement of Nineveh and Ashur.
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I regret that I could not expand further, so that's the reason of war.
I gonna retry this game, and maybe it's not quite fair, but still my aim is just to win on Demigod.
 
The next question is what to research first? Researching Alphabet doesn't worth it cause I'll meet Vikings, Romans and Greeks. Maybe choose mysticism and then trade it? There are no other religious civs on that continent AFAIK.
 
I've only played and won once at Demigod (using loose city placements but in a custom game I think was made a little easier). Assuming your difficulty settings are standard then in the following conditions it is always worth hanging in there if you have decent land because the game arguably gets easier through each era (if you are lucky enough to have access to resources) as the AI builds more units and gets obsessed about war (which is when you catch up). I think the measures of when a game should be abandoned in the ancient era (other than being stomped militarily) are:

- is Republic within reach (say less than 30 turns)?
- is your land area within 75% of a couple of nearby Civs? (i.e. ones you may be able to catch up with tech wise towards late medieval)
- is your land fertile & productive?
- is there potential to send galleys to locate other Civs (and thereby accelerate your tech rate, simply by having contact - always a priority for me) Or are you stuck across an ocean from a fair proportion of Civs?
- do you have excess resources or luxuries that others would like to buy (to maintain good relations and help counter a runaway AI through diplomacy)?

If I was stubborn enough in your situation I would:
- gamble on not being attacked by building cheap units to my Republic unit cap.
- focus on literacy and a worker to develop those hills
- claim the tundra with coastal cities and a cheap temple as its likely to hold late game resources
- have a settler or two produced as soon as the Vikings go to war with the green Civ, to settle right next to any cities the Vikings lose. Then dogpile in as best you can when the Vikings look certain to die.
- turtle for a diplomatic or space victory

The fact the Vikings are behind other AIs and are an aggressive Civ means there is a good chance they'll declare a suicidal war against someone early enough for it to not be irrelevant to you. If your weak neighbour was a competent Civ like Persia or Sumeria your options would be a lot more limited.

With all that said, I think my chances of winning in this situation are less than 5%. I would have zero chance of winning militarily against the Vikings in this situation because I'm a lover not a fighter.
 
Well, I followed your recomendations and payed more attention to city growth. I even managed to build Colossus in 1600 BC. I researched Mysticism and now researching Polyteism. According to my calculations, AI won't favour that techs very mach so maybe I could trade them. Let's see what happen.
 

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I was lucky enough to get pottery from goody hut. There's one forest tile left near Babylon so I can chop it to gain extra shield for Granary. And Niniveh may reach size 12 faster.
Is it worth to irrigate grassland if I removed despot penalty?
 

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Finally I met Vikings! I was right, they already have Alphabet and don't have Mysticism.
UPD: Unfortunately, they refused to sell Writing. :(
 

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Is it worth to irrigate grassland if I removed despot penalty?
I irrigate Bonus Grassland (or Grassland with Furs, after a Forest got chopped) once I've changed to Republic, but usually not normal Grassland during the early/mid-game. Because I want all worked tiles producing at least one shield, ready for boosting to 2 shields when I get my GA.

Later on, once I have Rails and RepParts, I might irrigate a normal Grassland in order to support a citizen working a mined Mountain near a core-town, but otherwise I'll only do full irrigation in the 90% corrupt areas.
 
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Yep, I have a feeling that I made something wrong. I've got 4000 BC save, and here's the staring position. It's a bit modded game and you start with 3-moves settler so you can choose better position. Is coastal capital a reasonable choice?
What you want is to settle along the rivers. Try to squeze as many towns along the rivers as you reasonably can. The extra commerce helps your research towards republic and once you are a republic they enable growing beyond size 6, which you very much need to do as early as reasonably possible.
I gonna retry this game, and maybe it's not quite fair, but still my aim is just to win on Demigod.
I think it is an excellent opportunity to learn. You can compare different approaches and see which appoach is best suited for achieving a reasonably goal as early as possible. A good goal is having 10+ cities of size 10+ as a republic. Having a strong ecenomy is what you lacked most in your first attempt. And maybe after your second attempt you try the map a third time to incorporate your learnings.

Since your settlers move really fast i would like to suggest something radical: Move a lot. Found your capital at Aschur-2. That way you have 3 wheat available. You need any advantage for growth. Never found cities with lower net food when cities with higher net food can be founded.

You need to find some way to not end in war. Research Warrior Code because you will need your UU for deterrence. After that halt research and buy Alphabet for gtp from the Vikings. These gtp ought to lower the chances they will attack you and thereby increase chances they will fight someone else. Which will likely suit you. So keep buying techs for gtp from them.

Buy or research writing. Research Philosophy and get Code of Laws as bonus tech. Then research republic. Meanwhile spam settlers. There is place for about 20 cities to found, so donnot delay that. After that build workers. Relatively few workers are needed while you build settlers because growth is absorbed by settlers. Once this changes many workers are needed to keep up with growth.
 
Well, I followed your recomendations and payed more attention to city growth
That is the wrong lesson. You need to optimize total population growth by spamming settlers. This sort of necessitates that the population of individual cities stays somewhat low for quite some time. First spam settlers, second spam workers and only third let cities grow. Minimize the time it takes to get all important cities to size 10 or higher. In order to achieve that you need to minimize the time till you found your last city with fertile lands. Tundra towns also need to be founded for good measure, but their economic prospects tend to be more limited, so that is only a mediocre priority. Still, the settlers for that should be built before growing to size 7.
I even managed to build Colossus in 1600 BC.
Never build wonders before having founded all cities unless you get an SGL.
I researched Mysticism and now researching Polyteism.
Never research techs you will not need reseasonably soon. While it can pay out in trading, it may also go the other way. So at least i prefer to take the safer route there.

Also more or less never build spearmen. Warriors suffice early on and if you can spend 20 shields on a unit, then it better be your UU.
I was lucky enough to get pottery from goody hut.
Since it is one of the cheapest techs it is likely to get it from a hut. It is of course preferable to research or buy cheap techs and therefore get more expensive techs from huts. Pottery can be a sensible tech to research first. You need the granary for your capital at Ashur-2. After Pottery you could buy Warrior Code from the Vikings.
Is it worth to irrigate grassland if I removed despot penalty?
Usually yes. And since irrigating wheat also increases net food that can even work before republic.

Net food should not be lower than 5 if it can be avoided. But during despotism options are limited. That is why leaving despotism is such a high priority.
 
I think it is an excellent opportunity to learn. You can compare different approaches and see which appoach is best suited for achieving a reasonably goal as early as possible. A good goal is having 10+ cities of size 10+ as a republic. Having a strong ecenomy is what you lacked most in your first attempt. And maybe after your second attempt you try the map a third time to incorporate your learnings.
I gonna retry this game until I win it. :) I already partially explored this map and I know my neighbours.
 
That is the wrong lesson. You need to optimize total population growth by spamming settlers. This sort of necessitates that the population of individual cities stays somewhat low for quite some time. First spam settlers, second spam workers and only third let cities grow. Minimize the time it takes to get all important cities to size 10 or higher. In order to achieve that you need to minimize the time till you found your last city with fertile lands. Tundra towns also need to be founded for good measure, but their economic prospects tend to be more limited, so that is only a mediocre priority. Still, the settlers for that should be built before growing to size 7.

Never build wonders before having founded all cities unless you get an SGL.

Never research techs you will not need reseasonably soon. While it can pay out in trading, it may also go the other way. So at least i prefer to take the safer route there.

Also more or less never build spearmen. Warriors suffice early on and if you can spend 20 shields on a unit, then it better be your UU.

Since it is one of the cheapest techs it is likely to get it from a hut. It is of course preferable to research or buy cheap techs and therefore get more expensive techs from huts. Pottery can be a sensible tech to research first. You need the granary for your capital at Ashur-2. After Pottery you could buy Warrior Code from the Vikings.

Usually yes. And since irrigating wheat also increases net food that can even work before republic.

Net food should not be lower than 5 if it can be avoided. But during despotism options are limited. That is why leaving despotism is such a high priority.

Never build wonders? Even if I aim cultural victory? I chosen Babylon because of both cheap temples and libraries. Never tried cultural victory on such level.
Never build spearmen? Even with raging barbarians? In all my attempts of that game there's always barbarians camp nearly my capital. What's better: build more spearmen to passively defend or to destroy barbarian camp with warriors (modded 3/1/1 bowmen would trigger GA, that's too early).
 

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Defeating barb-units with a UU doesn't trigger a GA.
 
Never build wonders? Even if I aim cultural victory?
If you aim at 20k, then you might as well play an OCC, therefore you would have already founded all your cities and my statement holds true. You could of course later still expand and therefore break the OCC-condition, but that is another topic.

If however you go for for the global culture value of 100k (at standard size), then my statement still holds true. You need as many towns as possible.

But mainly my statement was meant for a normal game in which your focus is economic strenght as a source for either scientific progress for the 2 modern age victory conditions or as a source for military might for the 2 military victory conditions, and it also works well for the histographic victory in 2050 AD exacty.
I chosen Babylon because of both cheap temples and libraries. Never tried cultural victory on such level.
So your goal is indeed a cultural victory? Personally i am not so fond of this victory condition, so my advice was not taylored for that. In that case you need to squeeze in more towns into your territory than is otherwise reasonable. So that is 1 town per 4 tiles instead of 1 city per 13 tiles prior to hospitals and around 17 tiles per metropolis once that is an option. This is one reason why i think that this victory condition is the least fun. Of course you can still win with a proper placement of cities, but then military expansion is key. Which is more fun.
Never build spearmen? Even with raging barbarians? In all my attempts of that game there's always barbarians camp nearly my capital. What's better: build more spearmen to passively defend or to destroy barbarian camp with warriors (modded 3/1/1 bowmen would trigger GA, that's too early).
Fighting against Barbarians does not trigger GA.

Barbarians are best defeated by founding towns, so the barbarians have no free tiles to spawn on. With this approach barbarians are only a nuisance. Whether you accompany your UU with spearmen or warriors for defence or even no designated defender at all hardly makes a difference. But whether you get 2 units military police or just 1 for 20 shields does matter. In the first 150 turns setting the right priorities tends to matter most. And that may mean to only build 3/3 warriors for quite some time. You donnot need them for fight barbarians, only to protect settlers and workers and of course for military police.

Having lesser units for military police matters for getting out of despotism ASAP. Once you are in a republic disbanding lesser units helps to mitigate unit support. Despite the intended disbanding this approach is quite sensible.
 
The Heroic Epic has high cultural value, and requires 4 cities. So, OCC is not optimal for 20k.
Yes, also you will need at least 5 cities if you want Wall Street etc.. But that is again asking for an OCC for as long as cultural buildings are buildable and abandon the OCC-principle later on.

One might argue that army based buildings donnot require to (fully) abandon the OCC-principle as conquering 3 cities in one turn, founding an army and then destroying the freshly taken cities before the turn end is still within OCC.
 
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