Earth 18 Egypt Revisited

coanda

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May 12, 2009
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Pigswill: There may be a bit of that but .... Was the Mediterranean Sea rich in fish historically? Yes. Did Italy, France, Spain, England, and Greece all have access to iron within their borders in roughly the geographical area depicted in E18? Yes. Were there horses historically in Europe? Yes. Did it have more wine than other parts of the Old World? Yes. Did France and England have coal mines? Yes. Is the North Sea rich in seafood? Yes. Was there wheat fields in France, England, Poland, and northern Italy? Yes. Was there stone and marble available in the places depicted in E18? Absolutely. I believe there are more ancient marble structures in Europe than anywhere else and the marble was not imported from afar.

Does Western Africa have any of that? Answer is no. They have elephants, rivers, and salt which was where their wealth came from during their Golden Age. In modern times, oil is located there .. just as depicted in E18.

I think it's a case where the Civ4's simplified model falls a little short.

Barring a few rare circumstances, map tiles don't change; a grassland stays a grassland, a desert stays a desert, wheat bonuses stay where they start. But in reality? 15000 years ago, the whole swathe of Northern Africa was pretty much uninhabitable desert. Then the whole region starts getting more rainfall and holding onto more water, greens up, and 6kya (when the Earth18 map nominally starts) most of it is rolling green savannah, eminently well-suited for human life and agriculture. In Civ4 terms, grassland terrain with the occasional plains. Today? Most of it is desert again.

In 500 BC, France and Spain didn't have grapes. Carthage was well known for its grapes, a product of human cultivation in the region. Then Rome takes center stage; Carthage undergoes a dramatic fall from grace, while Roman expansion into Western Europe brings grape cultivation with them. The France region has wine in the Earth18 map because France is well-known for wine today, and people playing as the French civilization on the Earth18 map would object if they didn't get wine in their starting region.

Wheat, in the form that we know it today, isn't a naturally occurring plant anywhere. It's the product of thousands upon thousands of years of cultivation and selective breeding to produce strains well-suited for the climates that people were living and trying to grow it in.

And then there's the way that Civ4 gates resource prospecting behind specific techs. If you have Iron Working, you see all iron deposits. Everywhere you've explored, instantly. If you don't have that tech, you don't see any of them. In reality? Sometimes the iron is less easily accessible, either buried deeper or in a more inhospitable region - it's not until the population has grown in the region and lived there for a while that they become aware. Sometimes it's accessible, but there wasn't a lot of historical motivation to use the iron there - regions not easily linked to trade networks and with limited local demand. Mali is actually a great example for this; on Earth18, the only iron they can get is in modern-day Morocco. On actual real-life Earth, the foothills of Guinea have one of the largest untapped iron deposits in the world (on the Earth18 map, this would probably be analogous to an iron resource 3S1W of the Mali starting settler, touching corners with the elephant).
 

Harv

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Dec 16, 2008
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There are too many posts for me to respond properly to everybody, but there appears to be a general discussion about the Earth18 map. I think the idea at the time was to have all (Vanilla) civs on the map. The result was a scenario that was unbalanced and fun at the same time.

I think it's a case where the Civ4's simplified model falls a little short.

The Civ4 simplified model falls short on multiple levels. Your discussion then moves on to the subject of climate change, using the Sahara Desert as the example. I am starting to understand that ancient history is full of examples of civilizations falling due to climate change. Civ1 and Civ2 featured global warming and changes in terrain tiles, but this appears to be missing in Civ4 - or I forgot how to make it happen. I suppose scripted and random events could make the climate go through warm and cold periods, wet and dry periods.

That flood plain tile suddenly became a desert river tile. Or it became a plains tile. It still has the farm, but it is not producing the same amount of food. Wait, the course of the river changed and the farm is no longer irrigated.
The location X,Y is not longer a leading producer of Wheat. The resource got moved to A,B.

Regarding the specific case of the Sahara Desert, at the start of the game, a lot of it is plains and grassland as you said. However on normal speed, 75 turns changes the year to 1000 BC. On a normal game, you might have cherry-rushed an opponent. On the Earth18 map, you might have cherry-rushed Mesopotamia in its entirety.

Different eras have different competitors. Does the world map as depicted in Earth18 work as a platform to simulate.....
Competition for settlement of Mesopotamia? Maybe. We can choose between Babylonians and Sumerians. Aggressive Babylon could have represented Assyria. E18 chose Persia.
Does AI Persia cherry-rush all of Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Anatolia? No. That seems to be an issue.
After that, does Alex suddenly come back with a stack of phalanxes and conquer Persia in 2 game turns?

What happens to foreign culture when you wipe out a civilization? It disappears and you build in your culture. I thought what to do with conquered people was an ancient problem that does not get modeled by Civ4.

What happened to Alex after he conquered the Persian Empire? He died at 33. What happened to his empire? It split. Are there any event scripts, especially when an empire is very big, that divides it into multiple empires when the number of civs is too small? The Persian Empire has been destroyed. End Turn. Your glorious ruler died unexpectedly at a young age and your empire got divided into four parts.

There are compromises in the game. To conquer the Persian empire in 2 turns would require the enemy roads to be usable. Roads have to be good for more than two tiles. Naval units would have to carry more than two units for more than two tiles. So the Alex conquest of Persia is not as accurately depicted. It is probably because a human player would find ways to exploit AI that does not know how to fight. Maybe we can get a good shot of clashes such as the Byzantines versus the (Persians). Then suddenly the Arabs show up and conquer everything in a short period of time.

Can we model renaissance era competition between England, France, Spain, the HRE, and Byzantium? The AI can't do it. The AI needs space to be competitive.

Europe should have fewer civs. Choose 2 or 3. The AI cannot build a competitive civ in that amount of space or develop a strategy for a OCC. AI Rome might be a lot more fearsome if they had more space to expand to. They can have Celts as competition, but Greeks to the east might box them in more.

If I wanted to experiment with the number of civs, then I could play a OCC as the Inca relocated to Easter Island.

Rome, Greece, Spain, France, England, Germany - Choose 3 Civs to represent Europe.
Russia, Mongolia - Choose 1 to represent the Steppe peoples.
Earth18 now became a custom Earth14.

Mali-Songhai-Ghana - I thought this was historically a very rich area and their biggest export was gold. The story I have is MM made a famous pilgrimage to Mecca, leaving a trail of economic carnage because he brought so much gold it crashed the price. A Flood-Plain Gold tile would be hilarious and fit right into the Earth18 map.

Rhy's and Fall - I only tinkered with that a little bit.
 

pigswill

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Slight change of topic relating to Earth18. I'm wondering if one of the main reasons that China gets so big in most games is that players tend to focus on the conquest of Europe allowing China thousands of years of peaceful expansion until it becomes a threat.

I'm playing a shadow from Harv's initial save (raging barbs etc) and went conventional: SIP, build Gwall. Certainly makes for a slower initial expansion, fewer cities and smaller pop by 1ad but we'll see how it goes.
 

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Harv

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Dec 16, 2008
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Slight change of topic relating to Earth18. I'm wondering if one of the main reasons that China gets so big in most games is that players tend to focus on the conquest of Europe allowing China thousands of years of peaceful expansion until it becomes a threat.

I'm playing a shadow from Harv's initial save (raging barbs etc) and went conventional: SIP, build Gwall. Certainly makes for a slower initial expansion, fewer cities and smaller pop by 1ad but we'll see how it goes.

Feel free to post AAR! The game finished a couple of weeks ago, anyway and I would love to see what other people did.

Regarding raging barbarians - It was explained to me several times that it does not add to the game and the main effect is it kills AI civs that start with warriors. Then in my game, I decided to take a four turn diversion and start as the Hittite (Hatty) Empire instead. The unintended effect of that was it made the barbarians an AI problem. It probably made it really intense for MM, because we abandoned Africa entirely. When I played with it a year ago, for a while, it looked like a zombie apocalypse and it was very amusing. It might also have the effect of making you more aware of your spawnbusting, because barbarians appear wherever you leave an opening.

China - This is not a change of subject. We were discussing the balance of Earth18. I believe it becomes big because they have great land and their competition is weak. Mongolia is right next door, but China's land is better and AI Mongolia does not know how to play the start. Japan starts on an island and the AI does not do an island start well, either.

The AI would need a lot of tweaking for a scenario like this. It would also be funny if the AI showed up with 20 Axes at 1000 BC, because they were combining their production bonuses and lack of maintenance penalties with chopping and whipping.

Egypt start location - The big issue I have with SIP is the negative health start and how long it takes to get a worker going. For a while, I have traditionally settled 1NE for a health cap of 2 instead of 0. The 2 health will translate into 2 food will translate into 2 hammers.

Arab Worker Steal - 10/10 will do again. Stealing the worker really slows the AI down and it is much less likely they will have much development. You also gain visibility of the capital. The Cherry rush will be much sooner.

If you want to post a start here, with the same setting or different setting or modifications, feel free! :D
 

Trout

Chieftain
Joined
Jun 15, 2015
Messages
68
Slight change of topic relating to Earth18. I'm wondering if one of the main reasons that China gets so big in most games is that players tend to focus on the conquest of Europe allowing China thousands of years of peaceful expansion until it becomes a threat.

I'm playing a shadow from Harv's initial save (raging barbs etc) and went conventional: SIP, build Gwall. Certainly makes for a slower initial expansion, fewer cities and smaller pop by 1ad but we'll see how it goes.
Pigswill: You are basically correct. China has great land and no real AI competition for it. AI struggles with island starts so Japan doesn't bother him much. India expands slow in the BC's due to there being so much jungle for him to cut through. And Mongolia starts on crap land which gives him a slow start also. The E18 map is large enough that if you start in Africa, Europe, or the new world then China is so far away that he will become your biggest threat before you meet him. So the best way to play the E18 map is to get to China as fast as you can because time is working against you if you are playing Emperor/Immortal/Deity levels.
 
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