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Help Me Do Okay: The Ascent of Sitting Bull the Wise

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by The Oz-Man, Jan 15, 2012.

  1. The Oz-Man

    The Oz-Man Enter: The VAIKE!

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    Hi-diddly-ho, Civ-a-rinos!

    I guess three makes a series, so let's set our sights a little higher this time and leave sucking behind altogether. Once again, help for lower-level players is the name of the game, and this time, I'm going to do my best to do okay at it.

    When last we left our not sucking heroes, we played out a Fractal map with Pangaea tendencies, using cunning diplomacy and a mid-game war with Gandhi to propel ourselves to a climactic, Conquistador-fueled showdown with the entire world. We've had two games so far and two easy victories; is it, therefore, Time to Move Up a Level?

    Not quite yet. The last map felt easy, with a squishy early opponent with some great land. And, of course, Spam Cuirs Until Bad Guy Dies seems to be a fine strategy at these lower levels.

    This time, we'll be doing things a bit differently.

    First of all, the map script is different (Hemispheres with 2 continents after a few Random continent numbers generated too many isolated AIs--thanks to a friend of mine for checking). Second of all, we're not going to kill 'em all and let Shiva sort 'em out this time. I played Shaka as the slavering warlord eager to crush the world, and I played Isabella as a conniving backstabber... also eager to crush the world. This time, I will not accept anything other than a peaceful victory.

    Fortunately, we have a leader who can take us there. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome... Sitting Bull of the Native American Empire!



    ...or the Great Sioux Nation. Yeah, as you might have guessed last time, Civ IV's propensity toward "Sitting Bull, leader of all the Native Americans!" feels kind of weird to me. So we'll be matching Bull up with his real-life people, Dog Soldiers notwithstanding. Last game, Sitting Bull was our second rush target and probably the toughest AI opponent since he teched Feudalism in the middle of the invasion; this time, we're hoping that he fares a bit better.

    Bull has a lot going for him that allows him to turtle up and protect himself from outside incursions--the Protective trait, his Totem Pole UB (+3 XP for archers as a Monument replacement), and the Dog Soldier UU (a slightly weaker, resourceless Axeman with an extra bonus against melee). Along with Philosophical for quicker Great People, Sitting Bull seems inclined to turtle up and go for a peaceful victory.

    One nice thing about Bull is that he starts with Fishing and Agriculture, which means there's a very good chance we'll have something for an early worker to do/a chance to build a quick work boat if need be. If we start with the right resources, we can go straight for Mining.

    And the start?



    Nice and green, with corn that'll irrigate automatically at CS if we settle in place. I think we can farm the nanners until Calendar gets going.

    Mining will probably come first to get some production going, and I'm inclined to get Pottery up soon since this should be a nice commerce-heavy capital. I'd like to get a site with better early food sources to work some specialists and get those early scientists up and running; a lot of that, though, depends on what's around. We're probably near the middle of the map with jungle around, which will probably dictate which way we can settle.

    This is the short version; I'll plan more long-term in a bit. One of the complaints I received last time was that I managed my early worker moves poorly; this time, I'm hoping to do better.

    Here's the save. Let me know what you guys think.

    IMPORTANT NOTE: Please place map spoilers inside spoiler tags until we meet the neighbors and get a lay of the land!
     
  2. VoiceOfUnreason

    VoiceOfUnreason Deity

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    Resource Bubbles (clap clap, clap clap clap)

    I think you are misreading your start a bit - although flat and green, this isn't particularly commercial - not without magic in the fog.

    Corn, bananas, and three hills to mine before you start looking at the flat stuff; so I'm not sure what you hope to gain by going after Pottery "early"
     
  3. lymond

    lymond Rise Up! (Phoenix Style!) Hall of Fame Staff

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    Agree with VoU...not sure this is a commerce site

    Based on what the Warrior sees - likely just move him 1W, I would consider settling on the banana
     
  4. The Oz-Man

    The Oz-Man Enter: The VAIKE!

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    I can't figure out why it doesn't do it automatically at the beginning of my games considering I keep telling it to.

    ...and when I loaded the save, the resource bubbles were there. Huh.

    Here's Warrior 1W:



    Aaaaaaaaaaaand pigs. Green pigs, no less.

    Okay, the nanners spot is suddenly looking more attractive. AH and Mining would be the obvious first techs in that spot, with the worker farming the corn first, then moving onto the pigs so he can get to the hills the next turn. AH -> Mining -> BW -> Wheel will be the likely tech path, and I'm planning to go Worker/Warrior/either Worker or Settler. Should I build a bit more to allow the city to get bigger? Again, early turns are where I seem to be struggling, so help that way is appreciated.

    Seeing that there's jungle to the west, I'm inclined to start exploring south, maybe looking for another site to share the pigs. Second Warrior can of course do a little exploring himself, of course; as I've learned, early garrisons aren't exactly critical, especially not on this level.

    A little bit longer term, I'd like to make a run at the Pyramids if stone is available just because Philosophical/Representation is a nice combination--but of course I won't try it until I've got a secondary worker/settler pump up and running. :p Longer-term than that, since I'm shooting for peaceful (most likely space), The Great Library might not be bad. Of course, all of these plans depend on what--or who--is around.

    I'll likely play up until I'm ready to settle the second city (shorter early rounds this time with no ridiculous Stonehenge gambits or anything), but not before everyone who wants to has a chance to weigh in.
     
  5. s.bernbaum

    s.bernbaum Mostly lurking

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    FWIW, the pointers on the resource bubbles always point towards the equator. So, the suggestion of jungle on the edge of the fog to the west implies that the jungle free land is mostly north of you, not south.
     
  6. The Oz-Man

    The Oz-Man Enter: The VAIKE!

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    That's not true anymore. Observe this screenshot from my first online game with Shaka:



    I have other (admittedly unposted) screenshots that show the same thing. We're slightly south of the equator here, though, and the bubble points down. I have other screenshots in that game that show sites more clearly south of the equator, all pointing the same way as the ones to the north.
     
  7. Archbob

    Archbob Ancient CFC Guardian

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    What difficulty is this one?

    Can we not declare war or take cities at all?
     
  8. The Oz-Man

    The Oz-Man Enter: The VAIKE!

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    1. We're on Monarch still. Last game was pretty easy, so my inclination is to try Emperor, but last time still sort of felt like a fluke considering we rolled By All Accounts Pangaea with nearby horses with a military-minded Isabella and a whole lot of crappy techers.
    2. No, we can war; we just can't win that way (no Conquest or Domination). We can also take vassals, but I'm going to say that, if we do, we can't take enough for a Diplomation-type win (basically, if we're going to win diplomatically, we'll need to court a good ally or two rather than relying on force of arms).
    3. Nobody's asked, but I'm going to mention it anyway: speed is Normal, map size is Normal, other leaders are random.
     
  9. vranasm

    vranasm Deity

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    settle on bananas

    imo not commerce site, more GP farm site.
     
  10. Archbob

    Archbob Ancient CFC Guardian

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    Settle on the Bananas, you need the hills.


    Position:

    Spoiler :

    Definately not my favorite start for a peace victory. With Monty, Toku, and Pacal next to you. I decided for this game, I am going to go all peace and not declare. At 500 AD, I've got mids and GL and +32 GP points a turn in my main city, I'm also not bulbing this game(settling and academy with GS instead). It sucks since the guys I'm next to aren't tech trade whores. I'm gotten 3 Great scientists so far and am working towards my 4th.

    Going straight for Liberalism now. This is not a great map for production at all.
     
  11. learner gamer

    learner gamer King

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    @Fallen Angel Lord: Any chance of spoilering that comment please? Especially the details re: the neighbours – at least until the OP meets them. :)
     
  12. Keilah

    Keilah King

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    agree, settle on bananas
     
  13. The Oz-Man

    The Oz-Man Enter: The VAIKE!

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    ...yes, please do that. I already saw one name and then immediately turned away. ;)

    I should mention spoilers in the original post.
     
  14. learner gamer

    learner gamer King

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    Re: settling. Moving to the bananas is indeed very tempting here. My only reservations are (i) what’s being given up in the fog 2N and off to the east – all of which looks unforested and therefore potentially contains a resource and (ii) could the grassland pigs – which is admittedly a stellar tile to have in the capital – be needed to feed a second city?

    The answer to the first question is unknown at this stage. I ask the second question meanwhile because I note two forested hills to the south of the settler (ie. S and E, SE of the warrior post move) and another in the fog 2SE, 1E of the pigs....and I’m wondering if the pigs are actually necessary to feed a second city in that area. Granted, the capital becomes stellar by moving – assuming Oz can acquire happiness to work those tiles – and moving shaves turns off early production (eg. of a worker), but are we compromising a second city site in the process? If so, losing the full food potential of the bananas by settling on them could mean we pay a non-trivial price for getting the benefits of moving to them.

    Aside from the fact that we can’t see what’s in the fog to the south – and so can’t completely answer point (ii) at this stage either, I’m wondering if having two good early sites (as opposed to one stellar site, which looks to be gotten by moving) isn’t a bad thing for a philosophical leader.
     
  15. VoiceOfUnreason

    VoiceOfUnreason Deity

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    LG has been reading my mind....

    One of the things I really like about the move: that the corn and the pigs are in the outer ring of the new location - that makes it very easy to pass off one or both tiles to a second city as needed. It's much easier to find city locations that share an outer ring food than share an inner ring food, and given this terrain it's not clear that the capital can/should really burn through a +10F surplus (corn + pigs + 4 mines + 3 specialists?)


    I was thinking about that as well. Moving on the diagonals frequently exposes more information. In this case, you care more about the tiles to the west than the tiles to the south. So to my mind, the key question is whether a move to the SW would reveal the tile 2W of the bananas? More to the point, would it reveal the contents of a flat tile in that location?


    Map reading - is that tundra peaking out of the fog to the south?
     
  16. learner gamer

    learner gamer King

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    Completely agree. The point I’m trying to raise though is what the impact of passing off the pigs to a second city then does to the capital. As I see it, a bananas settled capital sees its food surplus reduced to 6 (from the settled bananas and farmed corn), or 2 assuming you work grassland mines to the happy cap. By contrast, SIP and working grassland mines to the happy cap (assuming you farm the bananas pre calendar) gives you a food surplus of 4 (or 7 pre-mines) – assuming my maths is right. And you still have the pigs available for a second city.

    In short, the point I wanted to make is that leaving the pigs to feed city #2 still all but guarantees (i) a second city that can act as an early settler / worker pump and (ii) that the capital can still easily provide early GSs to leverage philo. Of course, not moving denies early access to the pigs and slows early production – which is why I can see that many wouldn’t hesitate to move. Let’s hope there are no other resources in the N or E, I guess. The appearance of grassland gems would certainly not be welcome. :lol:


    As a matter of interest VoU, have you (or anyone else) done any work on how the value of higher early production (obtained by settling on the bananas) changes the optimal decision here – which a focus purely on food surpluses obviously overlooks? Intuitively, it makes moving to the bananas hugely appealing because of the snowball that results from an earlier worker > earlier improved resources etc. However, I’d be interested to know if anyone’s quantified the advantage that moving provides. Perhaps the effect of the snowball means it's impossible to be precise.

    Actually, you can see from the opening screenshot that the two tiles W and W, SW of the starting warrior are unforested grassland. That means moving the warrior W or SW will reveal the tile 2W of the bananas. The real issue is that moving the warrior SW fails to reveal 2W of the settler – which is why I made my edit.

    That said, I’m now beginning to second (or is that third :lol:) guess myself on this issue. You see, you could actually argue that revealing the tile 2W of the settler is immaterial to the decision to move or SIP – because you get the tile regardless. The real knowledge needed here if deciding to move is, as you suggest, the new tiles you acquire to the SW, which moving the warrior onto either hill would reveal. (You’d also like knowledge of the tiles you’re going to lose by moving, but they can’t also be revealed by an opening move from a 1MP warrior.) That being the case, moving the warrior 1SW was indeed the optimal opening IMHO...and would’ve revealed details re: what lies to the S / SE of the pigs.

    Do you mean what I think is a grassland hill E, 2SE of the pigs?
     
  17. VoiceOfUnreason

    VoiceOfUnreason Deity

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    I'm not sure that I like this comparison. For starters, I'd take the pigs out of the picture completely. Also notice that - until calendar - we can replace the bananas with sugar without changing anything; it's just a +1F tile in the early game.

    Point the first: capitol (2F) + farmed bananas (4F) = Bananatal (3F) + generic green farm (3F). So that part of the comparison is a wash.

    On the turns when you are not working a farm, Bananatal is clearly ahead. The lead is very large during the initial turns (5 vs 4), and falls off from there later on.

    After the plantation, you get the 2+5 = 7 food, so you are up 1F per turn over Bananatal + farm. How many turns later do you break even on surplus food? Well, the turns working a farm don't count (they are a wash, see above), so the plantation pulls ahead when you've worked it for as many turns as you didn't work the farm.

    Edit: previous analysis overlooks the fact that the pre-farmed bananas would also be your go-to unimproved tile once the corn is farmed. During those turns, Bananatal gets an extra hammer instead of an extra food

    How many turns do you run this capital with just the corn and the mines? Probably right up to the point when you break the initial happy cap loose. 50 Turns (2000BC)? 75 Turns (1000BC)? add that many to the turn when you can make the plantation, and where's the break even?

    Of course, the surplus food from the plantation has an even more severe case of diminishing returns than the initial surplus did.

    Against this, you have the following additional benefits - the worker can begin by improving the pigs first (6F) rather than the corn (5F); you can start working the second big food tile on T25-6 (when the second improvement is ready) rather than on T35-40 (when your second city is founded); the pigs are already(T5) in your culture, so you aren't penalized for dropping them into the second ring (which other wise would take 10-15 turns; if I'm reading the map correctly, you don't capture the pigs with SIP + 3 border pops), and you have the additional option of trading away the corn instead of the pigs, if the map is reversed.

    That's a lot of profit for the plantation to make up.

    As far as I know, nobody has actually made a real effort to measure the actual impact of settling on a +1F tile.

    My instinct is that the effect is geometric, less some loss because we aren't always able to squeeze the full profit out of the position. So maybe wins take 85% of the usual time with the extra food (ie - a 250 turn win is reduced to 210 or 215?)


    Yeah, that. I retract my suggestion - I think I was failing to squint hard enough.
     
  18. Archbob

    Archbob Ancient CFC Guardian

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    Thoughts about this game:

    Spoiler :

    After looking at it again, I have to say that total peace was a crappy strategy on this map. I should have just dog-pwned and archer-pwned Monty or Toku, would have put me in a better position.
     
  19. s.bernbaum

    s.bernbaum Mostly lurking

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    Sigh… I almost didn't post that, thinking that I should have a look at my current game first, since I have not paid attention to the resource bubble pointers for a looong time and it might have changed. Then I thought, why would they change something that basic and of minor significance? :blush: So, after your answer, I had the look and saw that you are correct.

    Any idea when they changed it, BTS original expansion or one of the updates?
     
  20. The Oz-Man

    The Oz-Man Enter: The VAIKE!

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    Chapter 1
    The Dream

    "I had the dream again," Sitting Bull said to his wife, who was simply called Light Hair. The sun rose in the west over the wandering Sioux tribe's cook fire, where they dined on pig meat. The old medicine man's brow wrinkled as he thought of the dream again. The Dread Lady riding from the south atop massive beasts that stormed through the thick stone tipi his people had created. The strange pointed clubs issuing forth, doing little to stop them. And Sitting Bull himself, casting himself down from the high place into the icy waters below.

    Light Hair smiled, putting a hand on her husband's shoulder, and the Bull turned back to her. She knew of his immortality, and he knew that she would not live to see another summer like this. With her fingers moving to entwine his, she swept across the land with her right hand, at the lush, tropical paradise in which the Sioux had roamed, the land of Sitting Bull's ancestors.

    "We have wandered for too long," she said. "We fight the beasts, the heat, the spirit of land and sky. That is the Dread Lady of your dreams. If you wish to defeat her, we must settle."

    Sitting Bull nodded. There was wisdom in his wife's words. Donning his headdress, he turned to his tribe, pointing to the southwest.

    "There," he said. "We may feed ourselves within that grove of bananas. We will settle there. We will not hunt the beasts; we will tame them... as we will tame all of this land."

    And so in the Valley of Cahokia, the ancient city was founded.



    Early life in this new settlement was rudimentary, but the Sioux could nevertheless prosper only when they ceased their wandering. By establishing a camp, Sitting Bull could watch generations of his wise men study the beasts of the field and the rocky hills that protected them.

    A tribesman of the Sioux, club in hand, set about to map the surrounding land on a crude early paper made of banana skin. South of the settlement, he met a woodsman clad in green. After a short conversation, the Sioux man and the woodsman led a new chief to Cahokia. He too was adorned with an ornate headdress, but unlike Sitting Bull, he did not know the wisdom of age. Young and impetuous, the chief's eyes sparkled with a militant fervor that the old Bull did not entirely understand. His name was Montezuma, chief of the Aztec tribe.



    (Hey, I didn't say TOTALLY peaceful! We can crush Monty if we want to! :p )

    The study of Animal Husbandry completed conveniently as a Worker traveled from Cahokia to pen the pigs southwest of the city. Not far from this location, another herd emerged, this one full of strong beasts of burden that could serve the Sioux well if they could but tame them.



    Years passed, and the Sioux mastered the art of Mining, then set about a means of producing and improving roadways. Meanwhile, the fanatical Montezuma codified his military might in a religious faith, which he called "Buddhism."



    The war-chief's ambitions were not the only hostile force the Sioux faced, however; vicious animals beset the brave explorers on all sides.



    Another exploring Warrior would be devoured by lions centuries later to the north of the city.

    Decades later, a warrior approached from the southeast armed with a strange weapon by which he was able to hurl pointed projectiles at his foes. He was flanked by yet another chief in yet another headdress, but unlike Montezuma, this man seemed to have the spark of enlightenment. His Hindu faith--differing from Montezuma's Buddhism--spoke of rebirth and cycles of change. Sitting Bull welcomed Pacal II of the Maya to his village.



    (Crawling with Mesoamericans here! Maybe Huayna's around?)

    In no time, research was finished on improving travel via roadways.



    The breakthrough came perfectly timed, as a new worker from Cahokia had moved to the south. The roadway was constructed quickly. At the same time, Sitting Bull himself packed provisions for a small clan within the tribe to move south. These humble folk, led by one Long Foot, were loyal to the Bull to the end. Sitting Bull would miss them--as he missed the wisdom of his long-deceased wife--but the roadways would allow communication to continue.

    And so to the south of Cahokia was founded the simple village of Poverty Point.



    While workers moved to corral the wild horses, Cahokia began work on a Barracks at the request of his general, who was simply called Great Club. With Cahokia's pigs now feeding the new settlement, food rationing would need to cease for some time in the city. A Barracks would allow the training of swift Charioteers who could protect the Sioux Nation from all interlopers, be they beast or the war-chief Montezuma--whose borders, it seemed, were terrifyingly close.



    With one final technological breakthrough...



    ...Sitting Bull decided to consult his advisers. Great Club had advised Sitting Bull on the creation of an elite force of warriors, whom he dubbed the Dog Soldiers. If there was ever a time for them to strike, it could--indeed--be at hand.

    (And there's the first round! As you can see, much more conventional than last game. Build order was Worker -> Warrior -> Worker -> Settler -> Warrior (for the garrison) -> Barracks in Cahokia, and Poverty Point just finished its first build, which was a Warrior for its first build. The first Warrior built in Cahokia went scouting, and either he or his buddy died looking north.

    Here's techs:



    Since we're still teching along a little slowly, I'm leaning toward Writing to get a few specialists going. I selected Mysticism for now just because it's always a nice early tech to grab, but Poverty Point wasn't in desperate need of culture just yet.

    Maps of the north...



    ...and what we know of the south.



    It might not be a bad idea to tech Hunting and build city #3 with an eye for grabbing the jumbos for a handy smilyface, to be honest. The only drawback is that it'll be impossible to get the elephants and the cows in the city's first ring. On the other hand, 1N of the jumbos does let us work the corn to grow. Poverty Point will be finished with the Rice by then, so we can kick the pigs back to Cahokia and let PP grow that way, freeing up the corn for the third city.

    Point #2 about that second map: I think we have an opportunity here to hit Monty with an early rush, though I may be wrong about that. With early horses, lots of hills in the capital, and a second site that should do okay as a secondary Worker/Settler pump, we might be able to put together a force of Chariots and/or Dogs in the capital, cutting Monty off at the knees early. My only concern is that his capital already has 40% cultural defense (thanks, holy city!), so that might put a damper on our plans.

    The nice thing about making this move now is that it kicks Monty off the map early, eliminating him as a force mid-game and allowing us to settle the surrounding land more peacefully (and possibly get up to Friendly with Pacal via Mesoamerican Hindu love-in). If you guys don't think it's wise or possible, though, let me know. Remember: we can war, but we can't win violently.

    Here's city micro:




    Both cities have just started with new builds, so we can change anything we want to without any hassle. This is just a sample of what we can do by committing Cahokia to being a unit pump and Poverty Point to pumping Workers and Settlers.

    Oh, and I didn't revolt to Slavery yet, but this is the beginning of the earliest turn possible for me to do so, so that's still an option.

    Thoughts? Despite having animal-related issues with exploration, I think this was overall a stronger start than last time, with no silly beelines or Giant Stone Trophies. The only build I'm reluctant about is the Barracks, but if we want to rush Monty, it'll help.

    Here's the save. Thanks!)
     

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