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Building All the Ancient Age Wonders

Discussion in 'Civ3 - General Discussions' started by Buttercup, Jun 10, 2019.

  1. Buttercup

    Buttercup Chieftain

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    Have you ever managed to build all of the Ancient Age Wonders in a single game? And have you ever tried?

    Rules:

    Regent difficulty or higher. And if so, what difficulty do you stop being able to?

    Does not include The Statue of Zeus or Heroic Epic.

    Does not include conquering them. Built only.

    Whether building them is even strategically worthy is irrelevant, just talking about the pleasures of building Wonders for the sake of greedily building all the Wonders.

    Any starting parameters can be chosen except, obviously, turning off victory conditions, having barely any/no other civs in the game.

    No modified games, just the usual Conquests Complete version that includes all the additional Wonders that the original vanilla and Play the World didn't have.

    Supplementary discussion:

    Descriptive examples of when you've tried, ie: Hypothetical assumption propositions described as facts are irrelevant.


    This is an achievement I like to attempt when I fancy playing a bit of civ without wanting to commit to a whole game and something I treat as game by itself. ie: As soon as the AI beats me to an Ancient Age Wonder I'll quit and start a new game.

    Over the years I've had fun with this many times but I think only once have I ever got them all, and even then I may be misremembering. On a recent attempt at Regent the other day I was doing pretty well and had:

    Colossus
    Oracle
    Pyramids
    Mausoleum of Mousollos
    Temple of Artemis
    But got pipped to the post for the Hanging Gardens by just 5 turns.

    I could imagine that a perfect start would help, such as a few Cows on a River near some Gold Hills, but I've never had such a starting position in many thousands of tries.

    However, I guess the start-searcher cheat mod is a cheat that's allowed. If you are regular user of this cheat then maybe you can tell us what the ideal minimum starting position is to achieve this target.

    Most tactical walkthroughs and general advice about beating the game involve avoiding a lot of the Ancient Age Wonders, but for this challenge it's the only challenge and so I wonder if anyone's ever even worked this one out in fine detail yet?
     
  2. Nathiri

    Nathiri Commander

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    Yeah short games are fun. I've done some MP games with one person where I took away all the 3-4era wonders and played Wonder Victory on Regent. This became quite a competitive game between us, with the AI causing a little bit of irritation building a wonder here and there. I barely won by one by getting Zeus :). I took the route of focusing on expansion more at the beginning and he built more anc wonders. This worked well for me later, as he only had 2-3 cities of semi-decent production but required pre-builds (esp due to his land). So once he completed a certain amount it took him a while to do the later ones, while I could start about 6 wonders at once and prepare other cities (I needed time to develop my land to good productivity also due to the geography). We soon built them all then realized we didnt have Ivory, so we both invaded Egypt on another island, and I barely snagged the ivory on the coast before he did and he needed another turn to get another source next to it. Literally seconds since it was simultaneous moves. We had a pact of no war, so we couldnt sabotage by war, only in other ways. I rushed harbor immediately paying a huge sum of gold, and had a pre-build already ready to finish Zeus in 1 turn :).

    Me and him played some other "peaceful" space race or cultural games, where we did allow war with the AI, but was somewhat restricted and had to have a limit and a purpose. We both thought about how we could "disrupt" the other player by either stealing wonders or blocking off land or influencing the AI by taking all of their gold in trades etc. Once I had to build the Great Library to catch up, and he then kept back techs and then traded around Education. Very fun and interesting, but got boring by 3rd era, as is often the case for me and civ3.

    Voice chat is a key component in the fun though :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2019
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  3. jarred!

    jarred! Chieftain

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    I rarely build AA wonders, save maybe Hanging Gardens, or Colossus on a tiny map. I played a quick run this morning to get a feel for the challenge. I lost on the first wonder, The Colossus, by 9 turns but I also had Pyramids, Oracle and Great Lighthouse in process.
    I tried to play on a huge map to slow tech pace (with max opponents), but that seemed to backfire, as all the AI could just trade amongst themselves to parity.
    My overall strategy was to try to get a start with a 4 turn settler factory to pump out 4-5 towns early, then switch to some workers, then back to settlers to boost the population of my other towns. The strategy not only hinged on getting a high good start, but also fresh water so I didn't need 'ducts. Some luxes would have been nice, but I didn't have any near my start.

    I'll try a smaller size map for my next attempt, fewer opponents means fewer wonders being built, and I'll need to get to wonder building sooner. I built a second worker, then a gran before a settler, but settler first would probably be a better strategy.
     
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  4. WeirdoJoker

    WeirdoJoker Chieftain

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    I usually get the Pyramids (which I like, as it never becomes obsolete) and try for the Colossus. I typically get the Great Library, but it only helps of course if I am behind in tech that early in the game.
     
  5. Buttercup

    Buttercup Chieftain

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    As is common knowledge and so not really a spoiler, The Great Library is the one you'd want to be leaving until last for this challenge as the AI doesn't bother learning Literature during the Ancient Age as per it's coded script. Possibly useful for pre-builds though, of course.
     
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  6. jarred!

    jarred! Chieftain

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    On a larger map, the effect of the Colossus becomes small potatoes compared to the rest of my economy. In the early game, when it's effect is most beneficial, there are often other builds/needs that take priority, IMO of course.
    I rarely play the "build the Lib, then shut off research until education" strategy. I like playing Space/Diplo games so I favor racing through the techs at max speed.

    On Regent, getting Philo first is pretty easy, and I used it to get Map Making.
     
  7. CKS

    CKS Chieftain

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    I may give this a try. I've gotten all the AA wonders before, but not at regent or above. I played a one-city 20k game on chieftain, I think, where I built every available wonder except the modern ones that I didn't get to before winning and maybe Sun Tzu's and Leonardo's. That was not particularly difficult.

    On Regent, I'll probably pick the Byzantines, so as to start by water with alphabet and to be scientific - an SGL or two will be quite helpful, if I can get them. I'll want to select my opponents carefully so as to avoid wonder-builders and play with no barbs, so as to avoid giving techs to my opponents. For me, the trick will be to get some early expansion so that I can build wonders in more than one town. I've got some other ideas, but I want to try them out to see if they work before talking about them.
     
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  8. WeirdoJoker

    WeirdoJoker Chieftain

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    I usually don't get the Colossus anymore, and it would probably be useful considering I've only played Standard or smaller maps. (I may quit Tiny maps because, like my current game, there just are not enough resources to go around and it forces me into a war I'm not ready for in order to get them for the Spaceship.) It's just that I usually do not have many towns yet when it becomes available for me to build, and building it would inhibit growth too much - which I have enough trouble with as it is - but I guess that is part of the challenge of building all the AA Wonders.

    Getting Philosophy first, though, I can't always do at Regent, which annoys me, but when I do I always use it to get Republic so I can get out of Despotism most quickly. (I normally get to Republic and just stay there.)
     
  9. jarred!

    jarred! Chieftain

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    I was just trying something here. In the epic game, leaving despo ASAP is best. I didn't hit CoL first, just Alpha, Writing, Philo, Maps. Doing this, or going for Lit as the freebie, are other slingshots that are useful with less than great terrain or on high levels where getting CoL before Philo is improbable. There are situations where switching to communism is favorable, too. If you have a large empire that you want to be productive, communal corruption treats all cities like they're the same distance from the capital (should give the effect of lower average distance corruption), and increases the optimal city number for a given city (will generally lower rank corruption).
     
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  10. CKS

    CKS Chieftain

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    I played the first two starts I rolled - I didn't roll a bunch of starts and pick the best.

    So, my first try I had a river and some grassland, but not even any bonus grass in the first 9 tiles. I ended up with two BG in the BFC and some wines just outside it. I lost the Oracle around 400 BC, with 4 wonders built.

    Second try looked much better - I had no river, but I had 2 cows and a lake. No ivory was available, but I got all the rest of the ancient age wonders. I got a SGL for monarchy, which I used for the ToA, but it was pretty clear to me that I would have been able to build it by hand in plenty of time. I also would have been able to build SoZ if I'd had access to ivory, as I had plenty of spare shields.

    My set-up:
    Standard Map, no barbs, Regent
    Archipelago, 80% water, so the AI can't trade easily.
    Seven opponents - Egypt, America, Zululand, Aztecs, Mongols, Japan, China - ones I think are weak for a culture game.

    I built a curragh, a warrior, and then the Colossus. Then I built a settler and then went back to wonders. I researched masonry to get the pyramids and palace prebuild and then went for the slingshot, which I made easily - China and Japan had writing by the time I learned the Republic, but I don't think anyone else I knew did.

    I could have used a couple more workers earlier, but I built all the wonders in only two towns, so I didn't make use of the settlers I built, and the workers I put to work improving their land wasted a bunch of effort.

    Clearly I've got room for improvement in my game, but I think this should be doable at monarch, and I'll try that next. I don't think I can do it at emperor using this strategy, though.
     

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  11. Buttercup

    Buttercup Chieftain

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    That's excellent CKS, nicely done. That's the great thing about this site, people are so knowledgeable about every minute detail that someone, whatever the challenge, will know precisely which specific elements of the game to hone in on for maximum effectiveness.

    I like how you went straight for the Byzantines. I think this was the Civ where I've had the most success. The game I mention in the OP was having a stab at the French and so consequently no coastal start! Could that have been the primary cause of the French's 'just miss'? Having to move two turns to get to the coastal spot before getting going.

    The Byzantines also have the Scientific trait which does indeed offer the best chance of those lovely Scientific Great Leaders. The poor old French in the OP didn't get any at all. Alas, among the many civs I've tried this with I've very rarely managed to secure an SGL, but I'm pretty sure that those Byzants, for whatever reason, do love chugging them out the best IMO. Even my many Greek starts don't seem to generate that many by comparison, which I'm sure is confirmation bias as I've certainly not played enough times to make a specific chart of success, it's just my limited personal historical experience. My Greeks normally start getting loads of them towards the middle of the Industrial era, for maximum irony, for example.

    The SGLs are certainly the most controversial aspect of this challenge. After all, it's quite feasible to get three just from going Alphabet, Writing, Code of Law, Philosophy, Republic, which is obviously going to be a huge differential to someone who gets none from anything. I'm sure a really determined person could simply keep going until their luck hits for all starting parameters thereby rendering the most interesting aspects of the challenge less interesting, at least on the difficulties closer to Regent. However, as you admirably declare, there's a certain element of dissatisfaction in completing the task purely by rolling SGLs, as if it's a kind of cheat and the challenge does feel 'purer' and 'more enjoyable' if one believes that the same result would have occurred if there had been no SGLs. But then the whole point of picking a Scientific civ is to have the chance to spawn SGLs. Hence the mild controversy involved in this one aspect. In this instance I don't think the SGLs were why the French failed.

    You've also gone for a Standard size map on Archipelago 80% with a Seafaring civ. And had the good fortune to start on your own island. Yes indeed, this is a remarkably similar strategy to the one I went for with the French in the OP, only in that case it was a Huge map and the French, obviously, aren't Seafaring. So another advantage you've correctly immediately identified is the advantage of contacting other civs with extreme quickness and ease, for tech trading, while also keeping yourself a very long way from any enemy harassment. I notice the Japanese are at war with you, but that has zero effect on the challenge and you can maintain virtually zero money or production shields spent on military.
    In the OP, the French are not so good at sailing and a Huge map makes it much harder to go get that easy contact. This aspect will depend a lot on the location of your island. Could the French have failed because they didn't get enough contact quick enough? Possibly, 5 turns is about the length of one cheap tech.

    You had Incense available one square from the Capital's expanded radius, this is very similar to the French's start who had Wine one square from their Capital's expanded radius. Is a nearby luxury crucial? The jury is out, no difference can be identified here.

    Both were on Regent.

    You've hand picked 7 opponents, which is commendable, I was honestly expecting people to ask "what's the minimum number of opponents I can have", so I'm delighted you agree to the spirit of the exercise here. I personally had no idea different civs had different Wonder biases, this is indeed some interesting and useful knowledge, though you did pick Egypt and my experience of Egypt has always been that they often beat me to Wonders, which made me chuckle. The French in the OP had 11 opponents, all random, so perhaps there's a factor here? Is it possible to make the challenge significantly harder and more tense simply by opponent choice and there being a specific number of opponents where the balance gets tipped? It's worth a thought.

    You've chosen to have zero Barbarians. I've no doubt this could have some effect. The French in the OP had Raging Barbarians. Perhaps the 5 turns was lost making an extra warrior to escort the first Settler? Perhaps the rival who got the Hanging Gardens did so because they raided a hut or two on their way to Monarchy? Hmm.

    A very impacting factor is, undoubtedly, the starting position. Your failed fun had the River, but not much else by the sound of it, but your successful run had just a Lake but possibly a lot more importantly, 2 Cows and 4 Bonus Grasslands. Now I think this is very important as the French in the OP also had the river but no Cows, instead relying on just one Corn for express growth. And Corns don't help with production. The French did have the 4 Bonus Grassland though, and some hills, though the Hills aren't so easy to turn to when you only have one Corn to help you populate those Hills. I remember that the time I think I managed this challenge I also had 2 Cows. So I'm not going to say it's impossible without Cows, but I am going to say 2 Cows is probably the greatest candidate for success. Everything always seems easier with Cows.

    The factors you don't mention are the following:
    The French had:
    Normal, Temperate, 3 Billion Years (deliberately aiming for Hills)
    Default Rules (I should have specified this in the OP instead of suggesting people don't turn off victory conditions as pressing the Default Rules button does all that anyway). I'm pretty sure you got this anyway and, like me, just always use Default Rules by instinct anyway.
    Ai Aggression: Normal

    Since you're a very experienced player I'm guessing you went with AI Aggression set to Lowest, but I'm not sure what impact that might have anyway in a game where AI contact is negated by seawater anyway.

    All in all, good show and I look forward to seeing if you find Monarch (and beyond?) as fun.

    I don't want people to think that Regent is done and dusted now though, I feel there's still ample room within Regent to find out if the challenge is a lot more difficult, or possibly even impossible, under different starting parameters and positions. For example, are some civs just more screwed than others for this challenge? Are Cows really the be all and end all? Does having a few pressurising civs next to you ruin your chances? What is the maximum number of neighbours you can have, and under what Aggression level? etc. Not that any of this matters for the fun of just running through the challenge, but just to say that while Regent has been confirmed to be possible, Regent has not been thoroughly assessed yet so please feel free to contribute more Regent runs everyone!
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019 at 9:07 AM
  12. CKS

    CKS Chieftain

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    I went with normal, temperate, 4 billion years old, the default rules, and least aggressive. I don't think any of these matter much.

    With a scientific civ, the chances of a SGL are 1 in 20. The key to getting one is to be first to a lot of techs. In this game I was first to writing, code of laws, philosophy, republic, map making, monarchy, construction, literature, and (I think) math, so my chances of getting an SGL weren't too bad. Between the two first games, the expected number of SGL spawnings was pretty close to 1.

    Cows are good, but my capital topped out below 20 spt, so I don't think it was such a great start location. I had lots of food, but it was really pretty shield-poor because of the lack of hills. For much of the game I ended up working a bunch of coast for lack of improved grassland, which I suppose was helpful with research.

    I've started a game on monarch. Here I threw out several starts without playing them, because I don't think it will be possible to win without fresh water, but I took the first start with water. We'll see how it goes.
     
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  13. CKS

    CKS Chieftain

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    My first try at monarch ended when I lost the oracle in 630 BC. At that time I had the pyramids and the Colossus, and I'd just gotten an SGL which I was hoping to use for ToA. If I'd used it for the oracle instead, I'd have still lost very rapidly, since two known civs immediately switched to GLH.

    I had only a lake and one game tile, and I was stuck on a small island with the Aztecs. They weren't an issue yet, but my lack of food and commerce was.

    My next water start is also a lake with no visible food bonus. I'm going to play it out, but my current thinking is that I need a river and a better food bonus than game in the woods to have any hope of getting all the wonders. Unless this game goes significantly better than the first, I'll then start playing out only starting locations with water and extra food.

    The second start ended roughly the same way - lost the oracle in 390 BC. I'm going to look for a river and a food bonus now.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2019 at 11:17 AM
  14. jarred!

    jarred! Chieftain

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    Do you think a wheat is sufficient? Or do you need cows?
    Are you going for the Slingshot, and grabbing the republic?
    Do you think an SGL is needed on Monarch?
    Have you considered playing as the Portuguese, or only the Byzantines?
     
  15. CKS

    CKS Chieftain

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    I don't think I need cows, but I'm sure I need a real food bonus.

    I am going for the slingshot. My research path currently is masonry, writing, CoL, Philosophy, Republic. None of my rivals have learned writing before I get the republic in the games I've played so far.

    I don't know if an SGL is required, but it would sure help. With fast research, the odds of an SGL are about one every three games, so that isn't too bad.

    I don't think the Portuguese are a good choice, because I do want SGLs, even if they may not be necessary, and the SGL chance is much smaller with a non-scientific tribe.
     
  16. CKS

    CKS Chieftain

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    Here I've gotten all the AA wonders except SoZ on monarch. All the settings were the same as my Regent attempt. As you can see, I started with a lake and wheat. The key here, I think, was the SGL I used for the oracle, which kept the AI from getting many shields into wonder builds, and the mostly spread out AI. (The Japanese were killed off pretty early.) AAMonarch.png
     

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  17. jarred!

    jarred! Chieftain

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    Great work! Any plans for further attempts?
     
  18. CKS

    CKS Chieftain

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    I'll give emperor a try, though I'm not optimistic that _I_ can do it on emperor. I play too sloppily and the emperor bonus is pretty big. However, the monarch game really didn't have an overpowered starting position, and five of the seven AI had a potential trading partner on their island and their starting locations weren't terrible. I think emperor is doable with a really good start, a little luck, and better play. In any case, I'll give it a shot.
     
  19. CKS

    CKS Chieftain

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    Well, okay, emperor is doable. This time I had ivory, so I got the SoZ, too. I looked for a good start instead of playing whatever I got, but I didn't use MapFinder, I just quick-started if I didn't like it. I played out a few games until I lost a wonder, and then I got this one. Here I had wheat, game, and a river. I got an SGL for writing, which I used for the pyramids. I think an early SGL may be key on higher levels, but in this game the AI were not very focused on wonder-building. I don't know that I'll try demigod, though.
     

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  20. jarred!

    jarred! Chieftain

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    CKS, I think this proves your play is anything but sloppy. Maybe someone like @Spoonwood could do better, but don't discount yourself! :thumbsup:
     

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