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Blackbetsy HOF Attempts


Feb 15, 2005
[Edited Subject - I think having a thread for every one of my attempts is probably bad form and I like what Spoonwood did, so I am going to try to consolidate in one place]


I realized that I lost my "Machiavellian" status on the Civ III HOF status because my one 20k submission (1812 Small Demigod) got pushed off the board by 22 turns. So looking at the HOF for 20k it looks like the most achievable on a difficulty level I can reasonably handle at this stage is Standard / Monarch, where the current #10 date is 1745 AD. I figured I could give that a run.

Recently I did a 20k cultural victory for fun just to build all the wonders, so I wasn't totally out of practice. I read up on some 20k strategy and tried out an archipelago map with the Babylonians for Sci/Rel and the nature of the map left me with very little opportunity for early expansion to generate the tech I would need, especially with my opponents doing the dumb island-based zero tech massive warrior/spearman armies.

So I decided to go continental / warm / 5 billion for good food production and instead of the Babylonians, I decided to try Arabia for (1) expansionist - wanted to pop an early settler or city to be my settler factory; (2) religious to start a temple right away and get one built to double its culture in as few turns as possible.

I got a dream set up with two forests (one on a river), five bonus grasslands, and a ridge of hills with fresh water to start (not on the ocean). On Turn 2 I popped a barb hut and got a city that would barely overlap with my capital AND had two grassland cows. A perfect 4 turn settler factory. After one scout in the capital, it was straight to a temple. A quick early meeting with my neighbors the Dutch and the Zulu got me Masonry and Alphabet and I was off to the races for Writing / Philosophy. After the temple was built in Mecca in 3400, I started on the Pyramids while city #2 chopped a granary while growing rapidly to size 4 and started spitting out settlers. I spread out rapidly across the large sub-continent I was placed on, with a 2-tile choke point to the Zulu. The starting position gave me reasonable access to 2 luxes and a long road slog to a 3rd. With a rapidly growing and producing Mecca, the Pyramids were built in 1425 BC - I felt pretty good about getting them done that fast.

I had a short gap before I got Literature, and agonized over slaving Mecca down for the Library. I completed it in 1125 after I built Barracks and then realized that I had no pressure on the Great Library and that the Mausoleum of Mausallos would keep the Meccans happy as the population grew to 12. I completed Maus 800 BC and then hit the Great Library in 390 BC. I then went for Temple of Artemis for my last Ancient Age Great Wonder, but it got hit in a wonder cascade and I wound up with the Great Wall in 150 BC. I had flipped to Monarchy with 2 turn anarchy right after I built the Great Wall. Since I was teching and the pace of the AI was SUPER slow at this point, I wasn't feeling great about cash rushing (via worker) a Colosseum in 90 BC since it put me down to about 150 gold and then had to build the Cathedral in 70 AD. I had to wait a few turns and built some catapults to crush the Zulus while Feudalism finished (not being Scientific hurt me here - I had no pre-builds to span the time), and started Sun Tzu as a pre-build for Sistine. I hit Sistine in 470 AD. I started another pre-build with Leonardo's for Invention with JS Bach's in mind but then decided to grab Knights Templar in 590 AD for the free units.

By this time, I hit a Golden Age with my Ansar Warriors and was in a war to rid my continent of the Dutch and hopefully create an Army from the elites I built when I crushed the Zulus. Then I built a University in 670 from scratch after being cash poor from pushing techs and doing a cash tech buy. I got Copernicus in 810, and built Heroic Epic with my second MGL in 820. I thought I had JS Bach's easy since my competitor was Chichen Itza with a lot of irrigated grasslands around it. The joke was on me - I missed it by 5 turns and had to pivot to Adam Smith's, which I got in 990. I traded my way to Free Artistry and got Shakespeare's Theater in 1160 AD.

At this point, I was fighting off the Maya and Dutch on my East and actually losing ground to the Maya with some of the most horrendous RNG I've ever seen. Healthy veteran Ansar Warriors were losing on offense to unfortified damaged Mayan Knights on grassland at an alarming rate and the Mayan knights seems to have no trouble at all beating Pikes fortified behind city walls. Tired from the wars, I finally thought about whether I was doing well enough from culture to hit my goal of pre-1745.

Ugh, I was generating only 81 culture per turn at this point and had 6971 culture total. I was 160 turns away and wouldn't finish better than the mid 1800s even with some additional high shield / low culture Wonders. What a bummer. I really thought I was going strong and only missed out on JS Bach of the wonders I really wanted.

I am really trying to figure out what my mistakes were. I could have prioritized Music Theory and gotten JS Bachs but I might have lost Copernicus. After being dead in the Ancient Era, it felt like the AI were zooming in the Middle Ages and were trading amongst themselves more productively. I probably should have put Great Library ahead of Museum of Mausallos and gotten the higher culture earlier. Obviously making myself cash-poor through teching made me unable to rush the Colosseum and University when I should have. I wasn't able to get the AI to pay me very much for tech since they always seemed broke - I picked up a few 15-20 gpt a few times but that's it. Maybe could I have gotten into the late 1700's for a finish?

Not sure where to go on my next attempt. I love building in the cap for the lack of corruption and early culture/temple. Maybe I give that up in favor of City 2. I really like Expansionist Civs and Religious for the early Temple and the ability to pop the 2nd settler / town and tech trade early with fast scouts. Maybe Pangaea is better so I can hit more civs early - my first contact with the other contact was very late. Great Library and 6 culture per turn should have been built before Maus. I could have gotten Mecca up to 12 population faster. I could have been better with commerce in outlying cities to tech faster, and I could have gone Republic for more commerce and faster tech and more gold.

In the end, I feel like you need at least one SGL to complete an wonder fast and maybe 2 to hit these early 1700's time frames. A Scientific Civ would have given me a better chance of that and I wouldn't have waited turns for a pre build after I hit Great Wall. If I got a SGL on Literature I could have had the GL in 1400 BC and Maus pretty fast thereafter. Babylon gives you Scientifc / Religious and the early settler may not be as important (I may look at the downloads from the top 10 games to see timelines and where the Wonders were built (Cap or 2nd city).

I can see playing to 1000 BC to see if you get a SGL and dumping any game where you don't get one. Any thoughts/suggestions?

Here is the timeline of culture builds:

Temple 3400 BC
Pyramids 1425 BC
Library 1125 BC
Maus 800 BC
GL 390 BC
Great Wall 150 BC (2 turn anarchy to Monarchy, Republic not yet mine through GL)
Colosseum 90 BC
Cathedral 70 AD
Sistine Chapel 470 AD
Knights Templar 590 AD
University 670 AD
Copernicus 810 AD
Heroic Epic 820 AD
Smiths Trading 990 AD
Shakespeares Theatre 1160 AD
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You pretty much have to have at least one early SGL to make the 20k charts. Trying again if you don't get an SGL for your first tech is a strategy that keeps you from investing too much into a game that isn't going to be fast enough, but I can't stick to it. Usually I'll bail after the Republic slingshot if I haven't gotten one, though I might stick it out a little longer if I have ivory. In my current 20k game, which won't chart but is lots of fun, I got early-ish leaders to rush GLib and SChapel as soon as they were available, but I'll still end up about 20 turns too late, even with SoZ and no missed wonders. (I'd like last place on Std/Demigod to complete my collection, but it isn't looking good for me in many not-too-serious tries.)

Good luck.
Honestly, I am amazed that I got 1812 on Demigod way back when. It's just so hard to fight off the AI at that level and tech and build. I must have been a decent player! I do think it's SGL in the Ancient Age or bust.

By the way, I watched Suede's 5-minute 20k victory at 1555 AD on Youtube last night and it has given me some ideas about the lower level difficulty charts. The trick in replicating his win is keeping the other AI from the domination limit. If you aren't playing for speed like him and can get a second city and use the 2d city as your "capital" for building a military civ to keep the other AI down. Russians look good for this for a popped settler and contacting early AI for Ceremonial Burial while also contacting other AI for their free tech. Russians (Pottery, Bronze Working) would be a good match with civs with Masonry and Ceremonial Burial and Alphabet and maybe even the Japanese for the Wheel on a Standard Pangaea.
I just watched the replay on Tone's 1270 20k Culture Victory on Chieftain Standard and...holy moly, he hit 5+ SGL before 500 BC. Talk about great rolls of the dice.
Well, my first attempt at Russia Standard 20K Chieftain went exactly as I hoped from an early game perspective. Popped a city out of barb hut very early, got all the starting techs before I finished pre-build for temple (Granary) and then hit an SGL with writing. Pyramids 1700 BC and Great Library 1675. No competition for Wonders makes it all about teching and sequencing and optimizing your 20k city from a production standpoint. Honestly, the capital isn't in that great of a location in terms of food/shields - no hills and just 2 BG with lots of plains, not coastal.

Clearly the 20k attempts are won before 1000 BC based on at least one SGL and getting your 20k city up to 12. Chieftain makes that easy - you don't even need the luxury slider until 7 or 8 with an early Temple.

Right now I'm 940 AD and just got a second SGL. One of the things about Chieftain and having no competition for Wonders is that order is not what you expected. You have to do Shakespeare's as soon as its available for the 8 culture for doubling as soon as you can so my order has been:

Temple -3350
Pyramids -1700
Great Library -1675
Library -1650
Oracle -1075
SoZ -775 (as soon as I hooked up a far away ivory)
Maus -470 (after 5 turn revolution to Republic)
Gardens -170
Colosseum -110
Cath -5
Sistine +380
Univ +390
Epic +450 (only got 1 MGL, built army couldn't rush)
Shakespeare +580 (JS Bach was pre-build!!)
Bach +790
Newton +930 (before Copernicus!)
Women's Suffrage +940 (+4 culture, more shields to build so I figured more culture faster if I built WS first and then Copernicus)

Next builds are 1 turn Factory and Coal Plant buys and I should be able to knock out Copernicus in 6 turns (13 turn build now). Settlers are railroading the next 2 turns so by the time the Factory and Coal Plant are up I'll have max productivity!

Just including Copernicus build I'll be 20k around 1600, the question is whether I can push 4 more turns to 1580 to grab #7 spot on the table. I definitely could have done better optimization and cut out 6-10 turns I think with the way I managed the 2nd city and I missed that Moscow had 4 extra food at pop 12 and I could have been 4 shields higher by mining 4 plains. I think it may have been up to 50 turns not noticing so that's 200 shields down the drain ... a whole Statue of Zeus worth of shields missed! Had I gotten another SGL in BC (was cursing I didnt) I could have avoided that long Sistine Chapel build. 44 turns of + 6 culture (22 for initial build and 22 for later doubling) and the reduced opportunity cost on others would have been huge.

Anyway, anything below 1500 I think requires two early SGLs. That's just dice rolls.

I'll finish write up soon.
Finished up a few turns sooner than I originally estimated because I just kept cranking out culture. Finished in 1555 for what will be #7 on the Standard 20k Chieftain chart if accepted. 2 SGLs only despite that I got 90+% of the tech tree by researching myself and hitting the techs first. I probably should have gotten 3-4, in which case I might have finished before 1500. Still very satisfied with the execution at the first go and getting on the charts by 22 turns. If accepted, this re-completes my Machiavelli (after 19 years....I originally was on and fell off) and I just need to get on the Board with Regent and submit a Histographic win (Milk Run) to complete the Quartermaster. Some errors that cost me 6-10 turns, but I had room to spare. Very enjoyable game.
Oh boy Regent Tiny Histographic only has 9 slots filled......I think I know what my next game is.
Women's Suffrage +940 (+4 culture, more shields to build so I figured more culture faster if I built WS first and then Copernicus)
It's better to build the cheaper wonder, Copernicus's Observatory, since it gets finished sooner.

The Republic slingshot comes as very helpful for 20k games in my experience below Sid level (it's too difficult to get on Sid level). One trick I've used consists in disbanding units to help short-rush buildings. Another consists in having an island with just my people on it, emptying the capital, and blocking off adjacent tiles to the capital, *except* for one tile. Then declare war on someone who can reach the island by boat. If no other wars start, then the AIs will land their units next to the capital, and with enough force my units can defeat theirs to spawn an MGL.

Getting Shakepseare's sooner rather than later can work out better on most levels.
@Spoonwood thanks for the reply. I built Universal Suffrage using an SGL that I got from discovering Industrialization, so I figured with Suffrage and Copernicus both available, I would get the +4 culture from the second wonder faster (1 turn Suffrage + 7 turn Copernicus better than 1 turn Copernicus and +12 turn Suffrage).

I had been playing on a Pangaea but the MGL funnel sounds interesting. On Tiny Chieftain, the AI were hardly building any units, much less a threat. Mostly, I kept winning with elite units without getting any MGL. At the point where there is only one AI city left, I kind of give up on the MGL.
I built Universal Suffrage using an SGL that I got from discovering Industrialization, so I figured with Suffrage and Copernicus both available, I would get the +4 culture from the second wonder faster (1 turn Suffrage + 7 turn Copernicus better than 1 turn Copernicus and +12 turn Suffrage).

Oh. Yes, using an SGL for Universal Suffrage is better than using it for Copernicus's Observatory! But, I think I would have swapped builds to Copernicus's first, finished it (given there were shields in the box), and then SGL rushed Universal Suffrage.
Shields in the box were for Newton's. IIRC, I finished Newton's maybe the same turn as Industrialization and got the SGL right then, or maybe got the SGL one turn before. It all happened at the same time but the decision seemed pretty easy.
I just played again on Warlord level / Small and heading for a 1600's finish, so I'm abandoning. I got an early SGL for GL at 1075 BC after I built the Pyramids (no settler pop so I had to build settler after temple). Even with my Capital pumping out 26 shields per turn outside the golden age, it just wasn't enough. The Pyramids triggered the golden age in despotism which was not ideal.

Two early SGLs are an absolute must to get on the table Hitting two early SGLs as a Scientific Civ out of your first 3 techs is a 1 in 135 chance, 1 in 71 if you are talking about 2 of your first 4 techs....and you have to play until about 1500 BC at least to see if you get the first SGL out of the first two techs to see if you have a chance at 3. Since I might play about 1 in 15 starting maps.... this is a LOT of starts, play for an hour (?) and quits. Sigh. Tone's game with 5 SGLs before 1 AD was a miracle.

Just doing the calc now, you can't get much better than 26 shields pre-Shakespeare/Hospital/Factory/Coal Plant you can go on a pop 12 city. 12 bonus grasslands is 24 shields + 2 shields if you plant on a BG = 26 shields. Never seen 12 bonus grasslands in the game in a city big cross. If you have a flood plain wheat without the despotism penalty, you get 6 food, which means you can work 4 mined hills with 3 shields each. Take away 2 shields from the use of the FPW, that's +2 versus 5 bonus grasslands.

I guess you could go: 2 FP wheat + 8 mined hills = 24 shields + 1 mined grass cow + 1 mined hill for 5 shields + city square 2 shields = 31 shields. 9 hills, 1 grassland cow, and 2 FPW wheat centered on a bonus grassland or plains in the 21 tile big cross.....that's gotta be exceedingly rare. If you are an AG civ I guess it could get pushed to 32. Or if you have 6 grassland cows with 3 food / 2 shields + 6 hills for 1 food / 3 shields if you are non-AG. Never seen 6 grassland cows together before.
Reflections on Standard Regent Diplo HOF Efforts

In my Quartermaster Quest, I need a Regent-level win that will hit the boards. My weakest Machiavelli score is on Diplo, where I am hanging onto one board with a 10th place. So I decided to go for Large / Regent / Diplo where there are only 8 spots anyway and worse case I get Quartermaster with a 9 position on Regent/Diplo. In addition, the 8th spot is 1802 which I thought, given my Regent milk run, would be pretty easily beaten.

My theory was Continents / Wet / 60% /all Scientific opponents/ minimum required for Large to give myself (1) lots of room to spread out; (2) food potential to grow cities, and get commerce & beakers in the door; (3) I could be good friends with the civs on the other continent when it came time to vote for UN Sec Gen. even if I needed to beat up the locals on my own continent for resources / luxes etc. I decided to go with Greeks for Scientific / Commercial so I could get a bigger OCN for productive cities and get the free techs each age.

My first effort I made it to about 10 BC before I gave up on it. Because I had decided to fight a relatively large war with two neighbors, I chose Monarchy instead of Republic. As my tech pace slowed, I realized that it was just dumb, dumb, dumb. I should have listened to @SuedecivIII (
). Also, my efforts to gift the Regent level AI to the Middle Age was just ineffective.

My second effort is going well in a Republic and I reckon that I'll finish somewhere around 1450-1550, for #6 on the chart, I think. But I could have shaved off turns and challenged for #5 I believe if I did it again. Some lessons learned:

(1) Diplo / SS fast finish is all about tech pace. You need to fly through the tech tree, get Fission (hopefully for free as your Modern Age tech), finish your UN prebuild a turn after you create a world war against your biggest rival and it's over. That means you don't research Monarchy, Printing Press, Music Theory, Chivalry, Economics, Navigation, Military Tradition, Nationalism, Fascism, Espionage, Communism, Ironclads, Amphibious War, and Advanced Flight. You need to research 45 techs if you are lucky to get Fission as your free Modern Age tech, 46 if not, and +1 if you get Nationalism as your Industrial Age tech. (That includes the fact that you start with 2 free techs). Republic and LIterature are technically optional, but I don't see fast tech without them, so I think they are mandatory. Technically I guess you could wait for an AI to research Literature after you gift them all the other techs (or they could pop from a hut) and trade for it. But you need it to build libraries to help the tech pace in your core. This speaks to having variety in your AI opponets so you can have all the starting techs out there. I didn't have the Wheel (should have picked Japan) out there, but had all the others, I think. Their are 7 starting techs if you include Japan, so trading for the other 5 brings you down to 40.

(2) At Regent level, the AI needs to be dragged along from a tech standpoint. They just don't generate useful techs. After the starting techs, they can't keep pace with a human Republic. And in the Industrial era we all know they go down the Useless Path. In my current game, my gifting of the other civs to the Middle Ages DID NOT GENERATE A SINGLE UNIQUE TECH. That sucked, they all got Monotheism like I did - 4 for 4 that I had contact with at the time. By the time I hit the other 2, I already had the MedAge starting techs. They won't be helpful in an age you gifted them into, either, because they will be so far behind and their civs won't produce enough beakers for the new age tech. You are on your own from a tech perspective, absent good luck when you gift them into the new age, with the POSSIBLE exception of Mysticism and Polytheism while you are going after Republic.

(3) The only true luck you can get for an earlier finish is popping techs from goody huts in the Ancient Age (SGLs this game are just a matter of probability). Popping 4-5 non starting techs from goody huts makes a huge difference since those Ancient Age pre-Republic techs can take a long time to research. Some will overlap with starting techs from other civs BUT in my game I actually had a two-tech hut...I popped Philosophy and immediately got Code of Laws from being the first to Philo (second, if you count that tribe that gave it to me ;-) ). I also popped Horseback Riding. That's a huge boost, maybe 20-30 turns. I can see why Russia is often picked for Diplo/SS.

(4) If you have enough room for your optimal city number, and sufficient food in your area, I'm not sure war is even necessary. And certainly the Regent AI doesn't warrant a 15 Treb stack like I built and pay for (but disbanding the Trebs can be beneficial). I have run into a few pikes at 1000 AD but its mostly just spears. I researched Chivalry - a 4 turn distraction - and I'm not sure Horsemen/Archers/MI weren't more than enough if you have a good Treb or Cat stack. I did a two-stage war against the Byz and the first stage ran through them with 10 Arch/2 Cats. At best they had 2 spears in their cities. Smaller army / no war certainly reduces the need for Unit Support in Republic. Outlying cities don't produce many beakers and probably they should be beaker specialists if you can get food in them. In my current game I am in a very one sided war with the Russians, who are way behind on tech and aren't going to give me any luxes or resources (I don't even have access to saltpeter, so my 4 turns on Mil Trad to get an unstoppable cavalry force was wasted). I'll finish what I started, but mostly the resources and unit support aren't speeding my victory. Regent AI just aren't a threat militarily. They are a non-factor.

(5) SGLs (you should get some) are probably only useful for Copernicus / Newton / ToE / United Nations. Obviously, ToE and UN are the two priorities as ToE saves you 8 turns at minimum and UN wins you the game. I actually now regret using my one SGL on Newton's when it would have been better saved for the UN, which is a 1000 shield wonder and the biggest pre-build is Hoover Dam at 800, I believe. Theoretically, I am due for another SGL given all the tech I'm doing on my own but I've been unlucky so far. I'd think 2 SGLs are what you should get with average luck and it's arguable you should save the first one you get for UN and just use the second one for one of the other 3 I mentioned.

(6) Should be obvious, but you are absolutely in desperate need of workers to create roads and get the extra commerce and settle on every river you can find. Commerce / beakers / GO! I probably do not have enough. Probably I should have had 2 worker factories going at the start (but unit costs).

(7) I got Colossus in my second city on the coast with good production. Goes without saying that's your Harbor / Aqueduct / Library/ Univ/ Copernicus / Newton city. I wound up getting a coastal tile on a river so I didn't need Aqueduct. 4 river tiles with two flood plains in its big cross are huge. Two hills and two mountains are nice, would be nicer with gold or a lux in them.

(8) I timed my Golden Age with a Hoplite right after I hit the Republic. I only built 1 in a core city away from the front to avoid triggering. Maybe early, but I zoomed through early Middle Age tech which would have been otherwise much more expensive while my empire grew.

(9) Micromanaging your sliders is an absolute must, especially on the 4 turn research phase. Save up gold for when you need to put the pedal to the metal for the expensive techs. I try (not always successfully) to do it every turn. Also, excess food in corrupt places needs to be turned into beakers through scientists, I think. 30 beakers across 10 corrupt towns makes a difference even if it allows you to generate more gpt by adjusting the slider.

I feel like I learned a ton from this effort and definitely think I could take a run at the #5 spot if I tried again. I'd have to study the top 4 spots for clues on how they played it to hit 1000 AD / earlier. I see how its possible. Large worlds are such a slog though. War may be more important to get big enough civs to research fast on Tiny / Small. If I played this world again, I'd have saved 8 turns researching Chiv / Military Tradition and would have junked the Russian war. More workers, etc. (I wish I had Civ Assist telling me when there are workers available for trade).
Well, I finished my Standard Regent Diplo HOF game @ 1385, and I definitely could have finished 12 turns earlier (1325) if I didn't (1) research Chivalry and Military Tradition; (2) managed the UN prebuild better. I wound up building Hoover Dam in Athens when I intended it to be a pre-build and then doing a new prebuild (Suffrage) in Sparta that only finished 9 turns after Fission. I think I could have micromanaged Athens to take away shields and slow down Hoover Dam only to switch it up for United Nations and hit it 4 turns later. I did need to research Nationalism while waiting for the UN to finish. The AI weren't giving me Military Alliances against Sumeria at ANY PRICE (I swear I never ruined my reputation- I fought the Russians all 20 turns of my military alliance with the Babylonians). So I eventually figured I would get Nationalism and MPPs with everyone except Gilgamesh. I transported some tanks over to the Sumerian continent, declared war, and we got everyone but Gil's vote for Secretary General.

If accepted, it's #6 in Large Regent Diplo, finishing my Quartermaster.

My after the 19 year break submissions have been (if accepted):

#6 Large Regent Diplo
#6 Tiny Regent Historigraphic
#7 Standard Chieftain 20k Culture
#6 Huge Monarch Spaceship

Really fun to get the variety of wins. Should move my Pentathlon average to 6.4 from 7.4, Machiavellian to 6.0 from 8.0, and Octathlon should go to to 7.14 from 7.75.

I may try to hit a higher ranked Warlord on the Octathlon (currently a 9) and an Emperor (currently an 8). After playing Regent / Chieftain will have to gear up for that!

Small Warlord 20k looks enticing....Huge Emperor 20k also looks VERY doable to climb the ranks.
Milk Run for Quartermaster.
Well, pending acceptance of my games (fingers crossed), I think I just finished the Quartermaster's Challenge after a break of 19 years. Assuming they are accepted, my Standard Chieftain 20k game and my Huge Monarch SS Game would complete everything on the Quartermaster's Challenge (Octathlon, Machiavelli, Pentathlon) except for a Regent win for the Octathlon and a Historigraphic win. So looking at the tables we saw only 9 slots on Tiny Regent Historigraphic, so here we go.

It's fun after 19 years and remember concepts. The Historigraphic game is just a Fast Domination game where you stop short of the Domination limit and "milk" your territory for happy citizens. My first effort failed miserably - not because I lost to the feeble Regent AI, but because I generated way, way, way, too much culture and hit the 60k culture limit many turns early. I felt like it wouldn't be right to disband 7+ wonder cities to avoid the limit and go back to a save, so I just started over, convinced that you should NOT build Temple of Artemis like you would in a fast domination game.

I went Inca for Agricultural characteristic - more food, faster spread, and expansionist to get the early techs and free settler or two. Cuzco had a grassland cow, forests, and three grassland BG for a perfect 4 turn settler factory. I popped the settler with my scout as hoped and picked up CB, the Wheel, Mysticism, and Bronze Working from huts while trading for the Sumerian and Indian starting techs. Annoyingly, our nearest lux would take a bit to hook up so I had to use the lux slider more than I wanted in the early game. Our closest AI was the Indians, who only beat me to Math, which I thanked Gandhi for before declaring war. A few veteran swords and archers and 5 catapults were enough to wipe out the Indians and their 6 cities. Unfortunately, their last 2 cities were in a vast swamp/marsh that slowed movement and eliminated catapults, so I had to slog through that to finish them off and had to wait 15 turns as my building up armed forces circumvented the Great Dismal Wetlands on a sparse road network and reached my far borders with the Sumerians. The Sumerians didn't stand a chance against a combined MI+Catapult +Horse onslaught and there wasn't even a question where their prison would be - the pointy tip of the Northwest Peninsula of our Pangaea. Conquest was done by about 500 AD - still a little slow for a domination game on tiny Pangaea, although I did go with 60% water, making it bigger and my Pang was irregularly shaped.

Teching was a breeze by this point and we had 70 workers and untolled numbers of slaves watering and roading and railroading our continent. Thats when the settler boom started again, and we squeezed every tile out of our domination limit, choosing fertile grasslands and abandoning the plains. I saw a post somewhere where someone forested all the empty land and I liked that concept- our world would be dominated by railroaded, irrigated (or mined) territory with wild and planted forest everywhere else. After I had to fight too many wars with Gilgamesh as he sent settlers out of his prison (more slaves), I moved him to a more appropriate setting befitting the second civilization sharing a world with a democracy (Sumerian Prison Camp island). It took me long enough to learn that I needed to give him a Mutual Protection Pact to get a Right of Passage, and that lesson was the last moment Gil sent a unit outside his city walls.

Scoring is interesting- I knew that it was an average score so the priority was to hit the domination limit early and then max a happy population as soon as possible. I lost points where I didn't have aqueducts built fast enough and by having content / angry citizens when I didn't need to. I put least 3 cities in places that hurt my score (they didn't have any working citizens since only the city square was available, and that city square could have been worked by another city's happy citizen.

I THOUGHT I was on a trajectory for the #3 score in Tiny Regent Historigraphic based on my early scores / calculation of score per turn. But the actual calculation, I've learned, is more asymptotal. Between turns 229 and 241, I was adding 12 points to my score per turn. By turn 366. that was down to 8 points per turn....declining to 5 points per turn by turn 491 and just about 4 points per turn at the end. At my finish, I wound up with 4014 points, which, if accepted, will put me at #6. I am happy to get over 4000 but I really thought for a bit that I would wind up over 5000. Lots of Maya on milk runs...and I won't deny that Industrious trait saving worker turns seems mighty appealing.

It's fun to think that I finally did something I wanted to do after 19 years. I still love this game more than any other version and just wish it didn't basically own my existence for hours at a time while I was playing it.
Reflections on Huge Emperor Conquest Victory

Looking to improve my Conquest score in the Machiavellian challenge, I set out to table the Huge Emperor Conquest HOF. It's not a full table and, let's face it, 2014 and 2046 are not speedy conquests. Superslug's 5th place conquest looked very doable and a 5th place would replace my current 8th place best in conquest.

I've never really been a conquest type player in Civ. In fact, as an old Civ 1 player, I thought that Spaceship was the way you were "supposed" to win. (I remember doing early milk runs leaving an AI in a city surrounded by my troops, with the AI periodically throwing a legion or something at a Mech Infantry). In fact, in 2005 I disfavored conquest so much that I only submitted 1 conquest win, which happens to remain on the tables at #8 (Standard Emperor, 270 AD) after I submitted it as a #1 at the time - it may have been an empty table at the time. 270 AD is an OK time but it wouldn't be on the Monarch table and would also only be #8 on the Demigod table.

I am here to tell you I have no freaking idea how people did a Huge Conquest on Emperor Level before 200 AD. To me, playing now after all these years, it's like I'm the Americans going to the moon in 1969 and I land there with two guys in spacesuits on a primitive lander that can stay there for a day and running into the Hittite convenience store next to the Sumerian spaceport in the Sea of Tranquility.

My game with the Iroquois finished up in 1410. It should have ended in 1395 when I razed the last Egyptian city but Cleo had 2 flippin' settlers on galleons I had to find. I felt like I played pretty well - the Emperor AI didn't seem challenging even after playing a lot of Chieftain and Regent lately and I turned the abundant grasslands and flood plains of my starting location into a lot of good cities quickly. Great Library allowed me to turn off research in favor of cash and I churned out a lot of gold in the Republic. Very interesting 80% water Pangaea had a dumbell shape with a 1 city sized isthmus between two big halves. I was on the east side with 5 other civs and there were 2 civs on the western half. I focused on researching to Republic and Horseback Riding to build 3/1/2 Mounted Warriors for fast moving victories over early spears. But early on building up a 20 mounted warrior army I knew that I had zero chance of a pre-200 AD finish. I only started my first war of conquest around 1000 bc, taking out a 6-city English civilization with a few swords plus mounted warriors and a couple of cats. We were building barracks to get veterans, which surely slowed progress by 8-10 turns, but even going with regular MW wouldn't have made a dent.

The Scandinavians were next in late BC, with our friends the Egyptians looking like strong allies and trading partners playing a key role. They took three northern Scandinavian cities in a pretty nice, food rich location vs. the horrible Egyptian marsh/swamp lands (Cleo should have CTRL-Shift-Q'ed her start). Just to the south of the Egyptians were the weak Spanish and Japanese and the average Carthaginians. My plan was to use my ROP with Egypt to walk through her lands, take care of the Spanish quickly, mop up the Japanese while building up the army to take on the Portuguese / Dutch on the western half of the pang and then fight the Carthaginians at the same time I took on the Portuguese and Dutch in succession in the West, finishing with an ROP coup de grace on the Egyptians. The Spanish fell very fast, and the Japanese were almost dead when the Carthaginians blew up my plan by declaring war while my forces were scattered among a few Japanese cities. The Carthaginians took a couple of key cities and wiped out some troops in the open (former Japanese) fields. This was already after 800 AD and I had to re-deploy the Western Task Force to fight the Carthaginians. Now my plan to finish before 1000 AD was kaput.

The Carthaginians fell after I scrambled to put things together, and it took me several turns to redeploy (pre-railroad) to the West. The Portuguese were backwards and caused little issue, but the Dutch were one of my preferred trading partners (they paid for tech in cash), so they had riflemen fortified in cities. In the first 3-4 turns I struggled with the war as I tried to trade cavalry losses for cities, but my cavalry force was depleting too fast for it to be sustainable. The Dutch cities, although mostly railroaded by now, were also too far apart to take quickly by artillery/Cav attack, as it took 2-3 turns to get artillery in range to attack the next city, all the while the Dutch were fiercely counterattacking and picking off injured cavalry, including two weakened cavalry armies. I finished the Dutch in the mid 1300's and begain redeploy for the one and only ROP abuse in the game against my dear friends the Egyptians. It took 3 turns to wipe out their cities, slowed down by the heavy unroaded jungle and mountains of Egypt and 3 more turns to find and kill the two remaining settlers.

I thought I played pretty well even if a little conservatively. But I have no idea how to finish in BC, much less before 200 AD. The Carthaginians probably cost me 30-35 turns since I could have fought two wars at a time instead of sequencing them like I did.

I'm going to review the .sav files on the early wins to find out what happened. MAYBE if the other 6 civs wipe each other out it makes sense. BUT AI don't raise each other's cities, so each AI taking another AI's city just makes the war against the winning AI harder. I'd be curious for any insights anyone has, I may re-play some conquest as I may have a taste for blood at this point. I guess you could kill 1 civ in its cradle? Maybe 2 if you are lucky?

Another point is the critical nature of armies. I absolutely did my level best at farming MGLs and I didn't get one until much later - it was only the Japanese war that produced a leader. If I could have had 2-3 armies of MW in the BC times, I might have had a chance at running through many more spearman defended cities fast. But absent fratricide among the AIs, I couldn't tell you how to finish a Huge world game that early.

My guess on what it takes for a fast finish on Huge (vs 8 civs):

(1) 1-2 civs killed in cradle
(2) Early MGLs
(3) AI's killing each other without your involvement.
(4) Maybe - A linear type Pangaea where you just start at one side and keep your troops moving forward? They are just walking / fighting their way across the Pangaea accompanied by slaves building roads back home and replacement troops speeding along the built roads?
Pictures, if you can provide any, would make this thread more interesting. Congrats Betsy, and it's good to see someone around here writing!

With regard to the fast low level diplomatic game, SirPleb made a well written post a while back.

O. K., so ignoring all that information about playing a map with cows, since most maps aren't like that, basic settings still apply. All scientific friends, first, mostly for their free tech. Yes, Japan can help in principle also. Sedentary barbarians for the huts. I'll note that huts usually go for the cheapest tech. Consequently, once you learn Writing, be careful to wait to pop anymore huts until you research Philosophy. If you get lucky, you can get Code of Laws from a hut, and then learn Philosophy for The Republic victory. Also, when you change an age, DaveMcW's trick of using "What's the Big Picture" to first trade for all of the AIs free techs. For example, gift the Ottomans up to the middle ages and see they have Feudalism, then gift everyone else and scratch your head as two of them have Monotheism, but none have Engineering. Then trade The Republic for Engineering. Trade Engineering and The Republic for Feudalism. Then you can close "What's the Big Picture" for your free tech. Then curse at the computer for giving you Chivalry as your free tech instead of Theology.

But seriously, getting all 2nd level techs isn't necessary to get spots on even full diplomatic and spaceship tables. That said, when using "What's the Big Picture" during the Industrial Age and Modern Age transition it can help to temporarily turn the science slider all the way to 0%, and then use gpt to purchase technology, if you don't have a lump sum of gold (a lump sum of gold in my opinion ends up preferable, but that doesn't work with full research speed often). Then once you take your free tech, you can sell it back for most, if not all of your gpt.
270 AD is an OK time but it wouldn't be on the Monarch table and would also only be #8 on the Demigod table.

Huge Emperor Demigod only has 1 entry at present.
I'd be curious for any insights anyone has, I may re-play some conquest as I may have a taste for blood at this point.

Someone on an island can very much slow things down.

I'm finding there exists a Huge Monarch Conquest gauntlet from a while back. Of course, they played 80% pangea maps. EMan chimes in at one point and says:

"I find that most Tiny Pangaea Maps are not Pangaea's!.....That's why I make a beeline for MapMaking!"

DaveMcW later:

"About 75% of the maps I surveyed had civs on remote islands."
(2) Early MGLs

I saw in the Monarch gauntlet linked above that DaveMcW didn't get any MGLs until late.

My opinion comes as that filling up tables ends up a better thing to do than focusing on finish date. I'm not sure your motivation for fast finishes Betsy. But, if you want to improve your quartermaster position, probably the best thing you can do lies in finding relatively empty tables and submitting something. I mean, that should improve your Machiavelli, if for example, you submitted a Huge Demigod Conquest game, since there's only one on that table at present. That would also improve your Pentathlon position for a Huge map.
Tiny Demigod Diplo

I've won at the Demigod level in my recent run so I'm not too intimidated by it, but I know my game has to be a lot tighter than playing Emperor and below. 70% may only be 10% more of a discount than 80% but it also means that your 1000 beakers are 700 to the AI, meaning you have to be 42% bigger / more productive than the AI to stay even (30/70) at Demigod vs. 25% at Emperor (20/80). Fast Diplo (although to be honest the table is pretty empty, any diplo victory will get you on) requires fast science and at least one good productive city for pre-build for UN or at least one SGL.

Tiny means at max you are playing 3 civs, even with cheaper research. I chose 3 civs, all scientific, for the free techs in each era, and also because if one AI conquers the other, domination is a problem for the winning AI, as well as the two-vote UN issue. In addition, the Great Library strategy is a lot weaker when you need both your AIs to research something. In fact, I've learned that even at 3 civs its a problem. I chose Archipelago 60% so I could avoid war with the AI as much as possible, develop a decent sized core for Tiny and focus on putting commerce into beakers rather than unit support. Archipelago is somewhat problematic, I've re-learned, on unit support costs because (1) ships are added to the equation; (2) you have more "border" towns on the water and few interior towns, so I feel like I need to have some protection. I chose Byz for the seafaring so I could get out and trade the early techs. Warrior/Curragh/Settler in the capital, looking to build the Colossus for commerce in my 2d town while turning the Cap into a 4 turn settler factory as soon as possible.

My first playing attempt isn't going that well. I am in 200 AD and we are still relying on the Great Library for tech. I have lots of workers (27) burning up unit costs on an empire that isn't productive enough. We have 4 knights and 2 elite Horsemen, 2 Med Inf, 4 Trebs and a Dromon, plus defensive units in almost all of the cities. This is enough to take down the AI cities, although Saltpeter is on the map. MGL farming in a war with the Germans failed despite quite a few elite Horsemen against weakened spears. Not that I could put a built army in a Dromon, anyway. The Germans absolutely demolished the Russians, who now have a weak capital in Orenburg and an afterthought small city in the marshes west of my capital on my island continent. They are toast, they won't come back. My biggest asset are a 26 shield generating cap and the Colossus.

The GL strategy is starting to fail since the Germans - who I trashed in a quick war to rid my island continent of their settlements - have taken a leap forward. They are building Cope while the Babylonians are equal with me in tech and, quite frankly, trailed me in tech. I may have to flip on Science and try to catch up from behind by going for Chemistry / Metallurgy and trade for the stuff the Germans have. But here I am at 200AD and still early in the Middle Ages. This is NOT good for flying through the tech tree and getting a 1300's or 1400's UN victory. In fact, the Germans are threatening to just run away with this game unless I throttle them by landing my knight/treb army near their core. But this pretty much ruins the tech pace of the game. I think I might be playing just for the win here, which is always a problem when you are trying to table a good fast finish.

In retrospect, I don't know how to play this that much differently given my map and the relatively poor food position outside the capital. The only grassland cow is in the capital and there isn't any wheat near the core. Adrianople, with the Colossus, has no food bonuses so growing it is an absolute pain. To the west of the capital where I could have less distance corruption is an uninterrupted field of marshes that would take forever to clear. Maybe I just chalk this up to a map loss. Only having 1 lux easily accessible left my slider really high. The GL, often critical for me at higher levels, maybe not as important. It triggered my Golden Age in despotism, which is no bueno.

I could restart Tiny/DG/Diplo as a war game, switch to Pangaea, beat the AI down early with Immortals as the Persians, and then just maximize for tech as early as I can. War and flying through the tech tree are generally mutally exclusive but 8 immortals and 4 cats can do a lot of pointy stick research.
70% may only be 10% more of a discount than 80% but it also means that your 1000 beakers are 700 to the AI, meaning you have to be 42% bigger / more productive than the AI to stay even (30/70) at Demigod vs. 25% at Emperor (20/80).

The bigger factor than the cost discount, in my opinion, comes as the free settler that AIs get on Demigod and Deity (it's 2 free settlers on Sid). They also get a free worker (unlike on Emperor and lower). I once made a scenario where the AIs had the same starting units as they do on Sid with the same unit support and trading rate, but their cost factor was Regent level instead of Sid level. I only played the ancient age, but the AIs tech pace seemed kind of close to what I remember of Sid tech pace on a similar map.
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