(GS) OCC notes


Mar 5, 2021
I recently tried my hand at a couple of One-City Challenges for the first time, both on Standard maps/Standard speed, Emperor difficulty. They were interesting experiences, one decidely more entertaining than the other:

The first was Hungary, on a Pangea, for a Domination run - yeah, I know, easy mode, but it was my first time. I added a couple of extra city-states to the mix because Hungary, but didn't otherwise cook the settings.

I didn't play it as a 'pure' Domination OCC in that I didn't require taking all the original capitals on the last turn, that just seemed like too much of a hassle. I did set conditions for capturing capitals, though - all districts, buildings, and improvements on resources had to be pillaged first, and then nothing repaired after capture. I made sure everyone in a captured capital was working only tiles that gave food/production yields (and arranged them so they had little to no population growth), required them to be garrisoned with a non-levied unit, and allowed them to build only walls. If they built all available levels of wall, they built a military unit, which was disbanded as soon as it was produced. I didn't use the territory of captured capitals for upgrades or healing (although I did allow that at suzerained city-states, since that's a normal mechanic of the game). I did receive a few minor benefits from the captured capitals, admittedly - a few gold per turn from the Machu Picchu, that sort of thing - but the overall effect was negligible.

I usually don't play for Dom victory because it takes more bandwidth than I want to apply to manage both a large army and a large empire, and inevitably my city development gets sloppy. This of course isn't an issue in a one-city game. It went about as expected; my closest neighbor (Inca) went down in the late Classical, before they got walls up. Things ramped up mid-Medieval with a bunch of levies, and I started taking down an Ai about every 15 turns; at its peak my military score was somewhere around 3700, with about 2 dozen melee units (mostly levied), 20 ranged units (ditto), a half dozen cavalry (Hungarian), and a collection of siege weaponry. The first 5 AIs were wiped out completely, the 6th was left a few fringe cities, and then I drove on the capital of the last (Mongol), which was awkwardly placed (for defensive purposes) and easily smashed down. The bloodshed ended on turn 191.

For my second game I thought I'd go for a Science victory, and took Germany, figuring the good production and extra district slot would both be useful. This was true, up to about the late middle game. I was the first to launch the satellite mission (I should mention that I use the 'Real AI' mod, so the world doesn't automatically go crazy for science in the Classical) on turn 218, which isn't too far off my typical time of around turn 200.

But then things came to a grinding slowdown, as I couldn't get my science per turn much over 300, and it took just forever to get through the tech tree to the Mars mission, and then the Exoplanet mission. And I never did get to the booster missions. Building the projects didn't take that long, I had a high-production city with Pingala, all relevant space-mission boosting policies, and a pool of 5-charge workers waiting to report to the Royal Society, but there was just nothing I could do to get my science up.

One problem was that there were only 2 scientific city-states in the game, and I had no available tile to build the Kilwa. So even though one of them was Geneva, which I made sure to suzerain, I just couldn't get that much out of scientific city-states.

One thing I could've started doing sooner was stealing tech boosts. I used spies far more extensively in this game than I ever have before, and slotted far more spy-related policies than usual. Usually I either use spies defensively, or send them to key city-states to try to remove envoys (usually, by the time spies come online I'm already ahead in science, so stealing tech boosts isn't even possible).

In this game, by the time I had spies up and running there were already a handful of spaceports in AI cities, and more being built, so I focused my efforts on sabotaging the spaceports in the largest cities. Only after I'd managed to pillage most of them did I start stealing techs. I did manage to get boosts to all the necessary techs in the Information Era, but even so it still took 5 turns or so to finish the research of each one, and I was still 15 turns away from the booster missions when the game finally ended on turn 329.

In retrospect, I shouldn't have bothered with the spaceport pillaging. By the time the game ended there were enough spaceports around that in the time it took me to travel to a new city and pillage the spaceport the one I'd just pillaged would be repaired; I just couldn't cover them all. And although 2 AIs launched the moon mission and another the satellite, none of them were really a threat to outpace me. So I should've just started stealing techs right away, and maybe I could've shaved some time off that tedious, tedious 50-turn slog at the end.

Although I did see some things I'd never seen before, since my games usually end around turn 225-250: all the Great Generals and all the Great Engineers recruited; a general war provoked by a Betrayal Emergency, with every AI in the game ganging up on the Inca; and three nukes launched in the course of that war (2 by Inca, one by Phoenicia). Yeah, get me off this planet...

So that game was fun for a while, and then "please let's get this over with already". And I will note, in passing, that if the AIs had any sense in them at all, they would've ganged up to crush me when they saw how close I was getting to victory. During the 50-turn slog I had a nervous eye on the Zulu, one of my neighbors, who had a military rating about 5.5 times mine, and lots of gnarly looking armies and corps; if they'd made a determined push, I very much doubt I could've prevented them from pillaging me down to an ashheap.
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