How do you beat Isabella???

Void_nul

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Every single game I play, she's in it. She hates my guts no matter what I do. She declares war on me and then somehow creates units far faster than she should, and they always slaughter my troops even if I clearly have a technological advantage. I just don't get this. I'm sick of her ruining every single game. Last game, I literally had the top score and she had the bottom. I had a massive army of over 30 troops. She killed them all with 5, and then proceeded to produce around 10 units for every one I made, despite me having 2 more cities and far more hammers in my land. What the crap? I don't get this. What am I supposed to do about this? Other civs don't give me nearly the same problems. Why is she so stupid op? Seriously here. She makes all other civs look like a joke. Also, why is she literally in every single game? I'm seriously getting sick of seeing her. What the crap is this?
 

Void_nul

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She doesn't care if I'm the same religion or not. Also, how can she produce units so insanely fast? She only had 4 cities, and I had six, but she was literally able to produce close to a dozen in the time it took me to make one. What am I supposed to do about that?
 

coanda

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Isabella absolutely cares if you have the same religion as her. She's the biggest religious zealot in the game. Personality flavor (which impacts tech priorities, building and unit production) is heavily Religion tilted. Theocracy is her favorite civic. She has the biggest shared-religion bonus of any AI in the game, and the biggest different-religion penalty as well.

When Isabella is in your game and near you, adopt her religion, don't actively piss her off, and pretty soon she reaches Friendly status and becomes a useful attack dog you can point at other AIs to slow them down.
 

Gumbolt

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Do you have a save? Are you whipping units? If Izzy is at pleased she is usually peaceful.

Of course I have no idea what stage of the game is happening and what difficulty level.

All ai can attack you. Shaka, Ragnar and Monty can be real pains if you upset them. Same for Mongols.
 

pigswill

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Certainly sounds like an unusual situation and I've never found Isabella to be one of the most powerful or aggressive AIs. Maybe a save so we can see what's happening in your game.
 

Void_nul

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Alright, here's the game where Isabella neutered my empire. Note that its in 1961, I have no earlier save. I was trying to figure out if there's anyway I could still win this game, but I just don't see a way. Three of the other civs are massive, and the only two below me are vassals to them meaning I can't conquer them without provoking a war with civs I stand no chance against. I couldn't even really handle isabella until carthage decided to declare war on her too:
 

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Void_nul

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And here's my 'current' game. For some reason I couldn't post both of these in one post, so oh well:
 

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Void_nul

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The reason I have no army is because she killed them all. I easily lost dozens of units to her, despite using navy seals against her elephants and grenadiers, seriously. Yeah, what I had left was tiny for taking a city (I had taken two cities with the same army, three if you count that one city she plopped down where the original was, which is why I built a city there myself), I was waiting for those tanks or w/e to finish before I did so. I couldn't build any siege weapons better than trebuchets for the longest time due to having no iron.

If I did have all my units, I probably would've had an army of over 50. Sadly, she kept slaughtering them like they were a joke over and over. And most of those units I have are actually older units that I upgraded!

What should my army look like? Like I said, I had none because she massacred them all with those stupid op elephants of hers (THEY WERE KILLING MY NAVY SEALS LATER ON, SERIOUSLY).

Also, I made another post with a link to another save game, but its not displaying for some reason. I've asked a mod about it, but haven't gotten an answer. Not that my army was any better in that one; all my cities were still being guarded by archers because I never had to invest in defense. The most advanced unit I had was a maceman, who I upgraded from my starting warrior I think. I used it to conquer a barbarian city that had spawned in an area I had yet to settle.
 

Gumbolt

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So your playing Noble.

For 1961 you should have 20+ cities. You have been in many wars and seem to have come off worse. I am sure a season player could try to recover this but it's a lot of work and the AI stacks are bigger than yours. Hammer economies work well in late game then you could be producing units in 2 or so turns

Your second city is late at 2280bc. Was 2600 or earlier possible? Starting build should normally be worker then maybe grow szie 3 settler or size 4 and whip.
City locations.
New York looks bad. Sure you found gold but no food in inner ring of city. Eaten up by Ai culture. If you want to settle on Ai borders plan to take them out early on. Always settle next to food early on.
Hittites looks a sweet city with 3x food resources.
A helper city for cottages 1south of cows might of been good.
Chicago is too far away. Maybe 2w1S better?

My early cities will always be near food. Normally 2-4 tiles from capital. On Noble their second cities come out around 2000bc? So you have up to 1500bc or so to grab 5-6 decent city spots.

I think think your basic game play needs work. Are you using slavery to whip units? Have you tried an early axe or HA rush? Noble Ai start with 1-2 warriors. You have a big advantage on Noble. If you sit on 6-7 cities to 1961 you will struggle to win on Civ 4.
 

Gumbolt

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Wow you have lost 37 trebs. What was the rest of the army made of? A decent stack 1300bc will have 11 or so units. Come 200ad you want to aim for 15-20 units. Come 1961ad you probably want a 40-50+ unit stack maybe 50% artilery. With infantry and Navy Seals to back it up. By that stage bombers and fighters should be reducing down defences too. Maybe even Nuke at your current stage?

Very difficult to have 40-50 unit stack with 8 cities.

How big a stack could Lizzy of really had? Did you adopt a different religion? You are currently the only one running Jud religion. Which means the religious folk will hate you. Your spies have been caught too. You declared on Izzy twice and I am not sure you took a city off her? What units did you attack with?

Do you have the 4000bc auto save?
 

coanda

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One of the things that I noticed glancing at the save is that Isabella has a big "you declared war on us" relationship penalty, which makes me think that you've been repeatedly declaring war on her.

Wars against AI should be swift and brutally decisive. You get a key military tech. You whip, chop, draft, buy, build as many units as you can get, as fast as possible. It's okay if this also badly cripples your own economy, temporarily; population can grow back, new territory is forever. You take your new army, which is hopefully (for the moment) technologically and numerically superior or at least comparable, move to the border, declare war, and smash through your opponent's biggest, most important cities in rapid succession. Every turn that you are at war is a turn the AI is hurrying to make more defensive units (which you then lose some of your own units killing), so you're pouring additional hammers down the drain with each end-turn.
 

Gumbolt

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Understand that civ 4 is an economy building game. Generally early focus is getting 4 cities up by 1500bc and constantly expanding while using cities near your capital to help run cottages.

Workers main focus should be chopping, improving key food resources, cottages, roads for trade routes and mines if nothing better. You might farm 1-2 tiles for growth but rarely worth it.

If you find horse you can build 3-4 cities and whip horse archers.

Key techs this game are Bronze working and pottery. Granary is the most important building in the game for city growth.

You started this game hunting/archery/mining/ the wheel/ BW/pottery. You should of skipped hunting/archery. The AI starts with warriors.

I would of beelined Bronze working. Then headed TWheel/pottery route. ALways tech for the best food resource first then ensure you have Bronze working. You had 10-15 forest left I would of chopped away by 1000bc.

Maybe you got hunting and archery from huts.
 

Void_nul

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My build order has been worker-warrior-settler. I did try to build the settler first for a time, but they kept getting killed by animals. As for new york, I didn't build it next to a city; the civ did. I wasn't having a problem with culture for the longest time, no idea how he managed to push back the border. As for my religion, I chose it to be allied with hammurabi, because he was the only civ that didn't hate my guts. Even if I did adopt the same religion as everyone else, it probably wouldn't have done much good. Isabella had already declared war on me like four times before that. Everyone hated me just for attacking her, even though all I did was try to re-take my own city. Note that hammurabi was elimiated from the game; I think everyone else got so big by taking his cities. Carthage also settled a continent with no one else on it. He also took a few of her cities a few turns before that save was made. I think that is right after I was forced to declare peace on her while I was just getting ready for my coup de grace.

As for the wars, I can't remember how it all played it now. So much went on and it was days ago. I think I declared war on her at least once to re-take the northern most city she took from me. As for my units, she never had a massive stack. One time she slaughtered a stack of over a dozen units without losing a single one. Looking at her stack, SHE ONLY HAD ONE UNIT. So, she attacked over a dozen times in a single turn with one elephant and massacred everything. Wtf? As for the trebuchets, a lot of those honestly were probably killed by her fudging elephants while they were on their way to the front line. She was using the things to attack my reinforcements on their way to save that one city to the north. We went back and forth on that city quite a bit before she finally became insurmountable. I had no iron, and only spearmen to counter those elephants. Turns out, they're not a good counter. I tried building my own elephants, but it didn't do any good (probably due to her elephants getting promotions from killing my spearmen). I realized I need to make pikemen, but I never had any iron to do that. I never built any macemen either, or cannons for the same reason. It was only recently I teched enough where I could build non-bronze-age units, though I was still attacking her with trebuchets when I had navy seals! Seriously. I literally couldn't build any better siege units. And no one was willing to trade me iron, not even my one ally, though he did give it to me for free for a few turns. Of course, I was sorta in a rush to re-take my city (and carthage managed to take one in the far east of my empire, which was fun), so I wasn't waiting for tech to build better siege units. I also declared war a number of times just to take revenge on her. I was going to raze every one of her cities, but carthage ruined that for me by agreeing to shield her after taking two or three of her cities. I only got the eastern city back btw thanks to a vote. I didn't re-take it myself. It didn't have the border problem at all just a few turns prior when I still had it.

Also, I know I severely lacked hammers. I was mostly relying on forests to build stuff, it wasn't until they ran out that I discovered that I had no production. Fun times.

And yes, I realize I got blinded by revenge for Isabella. I didn't see anyway I could win with my set-up, so I decided the closest thing to victory I could get was to wipe her off the map. I failed in that, obviously. If I had succeeded in taking her territory earlier, I may have had a chance, but its obviously too late for that. I was going for a high score victory btw. I was thinking of switching to a space race victory, but I doubt I have enough turns for that, especially with how slowly my cities are producing everything. And yes, I was whipping all the time. My cities had so many unhappy faces most of them were starving for a time they had so few people working. I was mainly using it to churn out units to try and stop isabella from taking the northern city. She just slaughtered them one after the other. Even when I did manage to re-take the city, she just took it right back over and over again.
 

Gumbolt

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Okay that expalins a lot. Elephants are annoying but if you have fortified spears/phants in a city they will struggle. Phants are best against phants if you have ivory. Mace can help. Maybe swords too if she attacks you on forest.

Your issues of iron are purely to do with your empire layout and not grabbing the right land early on. Adopting a religion is always risky. Isabella once pleased is normally peaceful but she can be a warmonger before you reach that point. I think New York needed the food resource and some culture.

Slavery and drafting is answer to lack of hammers. That and workshops late game with caste.

New save and lets play some Civ. :)
 
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Gumbolt

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Your Dutch game is lost. I played on one turn and HRE landed 3-4 rifles, 3 cav and 4 cannons. That city was lost. A turn later the Vikings attacked with cav and rifles by sea. That city fell. 3-4 turns later Viking fleet had moved and landed the rest of their 10-12 units mostly catapults. That city fell.

I can't see a city that you settled by 1500bc.Looks like you captured one around 1400bc.

Your issue here is your start. Your capital is surrounded by 11 forest. These should of been chopped. You were still settling cities by 1400ad. At start you could of boxed off Chinese with 1-2 cities. Albeit he was surrounded in jungle?

New save and lets try and help your gameplay.
 

Void_nul

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Decided to not chop down so many forests, so I'd have more production in the longrun (and less reliance on hills). I did remove some forests, mainly ones that were only giving one extra production. Note that I placed a bunch of lumbermills which I WAS planning on later upgrading with railroad.

That said, the reason I was founding cities so late there was because I had managed to block off the other two civs on the continent, leaving most of it completely unsettled. I decided to not take it for a while to avoid tanking my economy. Besides, I was doing fine with what I had. The city far to the west on the coast was only settled a few turns before things went wrong. The only city I conquered was that barbarian one that happened to be placed right where I wanted to place one, and already had upgraded cottages too!

Also, I don't get why you're not seeing the cities I settled. I am settling cities as fast as I can, though I admit I don't know the dating. My build order as I said is to worker-warrior-settler. I tend to then spend the next few turns alternating between warrior/archer and settler to secure all the good locations for myself.

On another attempt with willem btw, I founded cities TOO FAST. I tanked my economy so much I was losing money even with science set to 0%. I couldn't build science at all for the longest time, putting me forever behind research. I did eventually recover, but I just couldn't catch up to anyone, leading to a civ attacking with units I simply could not build a counter for.

As for the American game, I had the largest empire on the continent for the longest time. My borders had already been settled by the time I got ironworking and found that I had no iron in my territory. What more could I have done about that? I literally had the largest empire, thus the best chances of getting iron, and I got none. I've only been able to find two patches on the entire continent. I still have no idea how Isabella can build iron units. I couldn't find a single patch in her entire territory, and I was looking for it so I could try to sabotage it. I took out one of her camps and her copper mine, but that didn't accomplish anything it seemed.
 

Gumbolt

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I play immortal level for fun. I win most games.

If you want production learn to use slavery and overflow from whipping units and buildings. Learn how to use workshops once you have state property. Multipliers from forges, factories and coal plants add up. Each workshop is worth around 4 hammers. 9-10 of these in a city and you can have 80+ production a turn. More with heroic epic (HE) or ironworks. I normally have a HE pump city producing units in 1-2 turns..

I get lumberills but I can't ever remember building one. Why would you leave a grassland covered by forest till 1600ad? Understand the term snowball effect. An early 20H chop could speed up a worker or settler by 3-4 turns.
So 2nd city by 2800bc instead of 2600bc. The knock on effect of this is the next settler comes out 5-6 turns sooner. Your 2nd worker arrives 5-6+ turns earlier. Your second city is already building something else.

You settled cities at these dates - 4000bc 975bc 825bc 500ad 840ad 1220ad 1390ad. Captured 1440bc. If your build order was worker warrior settler what were you doing from 3000bc to 1200bc? Settler is normally 10 turns if you have farmed the corn. In effect you sat on 2 cities 14 tiles apart till 975bc By this dates I would of had 6-7 cities.I would of had 5-10 cottages being built or built.

You let HRE settle Luxemburg which gave him land borders with you and likely caused the DOW as his power rating was way above you. SO settling your continent is important. Don't judge how well you are doing on an AI trapped in a small corner on your land.

Crashing economy is fine. As long as you have pottery and maybe writing. As cottages recover the economy over time.

If I have 7-8 cities and I think I am missing something. I trade for it or take out the neighbour. You had horse? HA rush? HA and catapults would of worked if he had many units. Axes and catapults?

Your early game needs help but you have to be willing to accept the help. I could not win on Noble doing what you are doing.
 

Void_nul

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I send the starting warrior out to explore. With the second one I normally send him to where I want to found my first (or second? I normally just plop the starting settler where he spawns) city. My worker spends the time improving the area, such as placing farms on food resources or cottages if I have the tech. My settler makes a bee-line to the city site (though if its far away I sometimes keep the warrior behind to escort him). No idea why it would be so slow, though the forests may have slowed him down. The area north of my capitol was heavily covered in jungle. I was thinking of taking those two gems, but purple got to them before me. In hindsight, maybe I could've conquered him and given myself those gems and a couple of extra cities.

Here's an auto save I found that is apparently the start of this playthrough (note that the date says today, probably because I opened it to see what it was). Maybe this will show how many forests around my capitol I chopped down:
 

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