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I came, I SAW, I ...

Discussion in 'Civ3 - Stories & Tales' started by Arathorn, May 28, 2004.

  1. Arathorn

    Arathorn Catan player

    Joined:
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    Illinois
    This thread is going to tell of one man's tale of attempting the nearly-impossible...Sid Always War.

    Sid, Always War? :wow: :shakehead :dubious:

    Always War is described as: "Always War (AW): When you meet an opponent (as soon as they appear on the F2/F4/Shift-D diplomacy screen, you’ve met them), you must declare war on them – THAT turn. You can make initial deals for hard goods only (no gpt deals, no alliances, no resource/luxury trades). Opening the diplomacy window to spy techs, cities, resources, etc. is allowed. Signing peace for even a single turn is prohibited." in my guide to variants. If you've never tried it, I highly recommend it.

    Sid is, well, a brutal difficulty level. 40% cost factors for the AI. Tons of starting units (I don't even remember what all, because it depresses me to look them up -- something like 3 settlers, 4 workers, and 8 offensive plus 8 defensive units). Screaming hard game, in general.

    OK, I'm gonna try it, though. You all can watch and laugh at my silly mistakes.

    Arathorn
     
  2. Arathorn

    Arathorn Catan player

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    How can I do this? What necessities must be in place for me to have a chance and how to best go about maximizing my chances?

    World form:
    Well, I can't stand to do larger than standard very often, especially in always war. Smaller than standard wouldn't feel truly legitimate, so I guess the map size will be standard.

    I'll have essentially no chance at surviving the initial flux of Sid units in AW, so I need to start completely isolated from any AI. With so many starting units, Sid AIs map very rapidly, so I need to be alone on an island. I want the AIs isolated and alone, too, so that means archipelago. And minimal land, to try to maximize the time the time the AIs spend alone and to minimize the size of their starting island.

    I went with flat, but normal wetness and normal heat to start with. The difference in AI improvement and human improvement of tundra is non-existent and I want every edge I can get, no matter how small. Flat was designed to encourage/allow my pillaging parties to reach as many squares as possible. I figure army pillaging will be an integral part of any prayer I have at success.

    Once I decided on agricultural, though, I went with hot and dry. I searched for a freshwater start, so deserts are just like plains to me - irrigate them and I'm good to go. Maybe the deserts will slow down the AIs, too.

    Barbs will be completely off. Goodie huts are never good on Sid and I don't want to give the AI a chance to tech any faster than it already does. No barbarians at all.

    My civ.

    Required trait: Commercial or Seafaring. I must 100% certainly start with Alphabet. I've got to be the only one to do so as well. That alone gives me a reasonable shot at the Great Library. So, that means I need to pick a civ that is either commercial or seafaring.

    From experience, I'll have plenty of time while waiting for the Writing, Literature, GLib run with not much to build, so I can send out a bunch of curraghs for contact. I won't have anything else, really, to build! Thus, seafaring, I reason, is of limited use for this particular game and commercial, always a good corruption-fighting trait, is the way to go.

    Second trait: NOT Expansionist or Religious. Those two offer too little for this game - religious for the one or two revolts (I might go commie if things work out that way) and cheap temples just isn't that valuable. Expansionist on a 'pelago with no huts? No chance.

    What UUs do the others offer?
    Scientific - Greece, Korea - hoplites, h'wacha. Both are excellent UUs but I don't quite see enough value in scientific
    Militaristic - Rome - legionaries. Great choice. My original efforts were here, but the complete lack of "other" builds during the early turns doomed me.
    Industrious - French - musketeer. Much improved UU. Allows walls and palace pre-build much earlier. Just not quite enough for me, though, right now.
    Agricultural - Iroquois - mounted warrior. Great UU. Great traits. Early granaries can be quite useful. This is my current choice - the Iroquois.

    The opponents:
    Well, there can be no Commercial or Seafaring opponents. I want nobody else to start with Alphabet, so I have a head start on my Great Library run. That eliminates a lot of civs. Scientific also serves to speed up the tech pace, and I'd just as soon see the tech pace stagnate as much as possible. No scientific foes.

    I'm happy with expansionist - scouts on an island with no huts? Religious, too, isn't much benefit to a Sid AI, so they get that trait happily, too. Militaristic? Why not? In my experience, barracks are so cheap the Sid AI builds them all the time anyway. And I hope to bombard the units well enough so that the increased chances for promotions are minimal. That's three acceptable traits.

    Agricultural was fine earlier. Once I decided to go hot and dry, though, I didn't want anybody else benefiting from the desert, so that's out. Leaves industrious, which I'm not happy seeing (I expect to pillage a lot to slow the AI down and industrious workers heal the land more rapidly) but I think I have no choice.

    Mongols - expansionist, militaristic - keshik isn't too bad to fight against, especially with flatter land
    Zulu - expansionist, militaristic - impi is hard to fight early but not a bad UU to face
    Americans - expansionist, industrious - F-15 is a joke UU, so no worries there
    Arabia - expansionist, religious - ansar warrior is a great UU but the traits are such that I will let them pass
    Egypt - religious, industrious - war chariot hopefully is outdated by the time I fight them
    China - militaristic, industrious - rider is scary. Would like to avoid this one
    Japan - religious, militaristic - samurai is also scary - so frickin' hard to kill and only one resource required

    If I allowed agricultural, Celts, Incans, Mayans, and Aztecs would all be reasonable. In the end, though, I decided that the trait distribution was more important than the UUs I'd have to face. So, it was those 7 foes.

    I toyed briefly with the idea of using less than 7 foes. But it just wouldn't feel like a complete victory to me, then. I'd feel too much like I stacked the deck. Why the number of foes matters so much more than anything else, I don't know, but I made myself go with the full line-up of 7 foes.

    I set them to most aggressive, though. Any war against somebody besides me had to be a good thing. Even if one civ wiped another out, the acquired space would be significantly corrupt and would slow total units coming against me. Fight each other...please!

    Early strategy:
    Fill my island with as many reasonable cities as possible. Send out curraghs to meet the foes and get them into war mode and hopefully cranking way more units than they can profitably try to ship to attack me. The more units they have sequestered on their island, the more gpt it will chew up and hopefully lower their research rate.

    Min run on Writing followed by max run at Literature. I'll have to trade and pick up Masonry on one of my first contacts. I need a large prebuild (palace) for the Library. I might be able to get Philosophy first, but why take the chance of missing? Writing then Literature then let the techs roll in.

    The other goal is to finish the Library before (m)any AIs have discovered Map Making. Then I can actually build reasonable units to defend my shores. My initial military plan is to defend heartily on the land and hope for some MGLs to use on armies. Armies will take a ship to any reachable foe and finish loading there, to go on pillage patrol.

    That's the plan, at least. Will it survive contact with the game/enemy?

    Arathorn
     
  3. Arathorn

    Arathorn Catan player

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    I really would like to start by a river, for the fresh water and commerce bonus, but rivers are almost non-existent on watery pelago maps - I only saw one river in about 60 starts and it was a jungle-infested disaster location. So I settled for any fresh water. I also required a bonus food.

    A fair number of starts ended in disaster - sharing the island with a foe, not getting the Great Library, starting alone but getting overwhelmed by ship (I had one Sid Zulu dropping off >8 units/turn with just galleys. That was more swords and impis than I could handle before my Library run even ended). I wanted a lux, too, but that wasn't a complete necessity, as the time invested in the game was becoming overwhelming. I learned a bit from each loss, however.




    Very Early Turns

    My start is OK. I moved south to the hill to get the cow being worked immediately. I judge the value of getting the cow worked immediately is worth the one turn wait in founding. I'm planning on getting two cities on this fresh-water lake. One will be Salamanca and the other will serve as my Great Library city. It will produce MP units until I have a prebuild ready.

    Salamanca works on a granary right away - not even one token warrior for exploring. I know where city #2 is going and I don't want to waste a minute. If there's an AI on this island, I'll know (and die) soon enough. Science set to Writing @ min, of course. I can't waste even a turn.

    It's fairly boring while I build the granary and play around with the lux tax to keep Salamanca from rioting. The second cow appearing was a nice bonus, but it's almost unnecessary for an agricultural civ. Roading it will allow me to work an extra forest on and off, though. I debate doing a chop to get the granary up faster, but my worker is kind of slow and he's going to need to get Salamanca set up for a 4-turn settler factory (with good commerce) and then get to work on my 2nd city, which will build the Great Library.

    I honestly didn't expect this game to work, so I was a little careless through this phase. I was still experimenting with the overall SAW concept at this point and was expecting to have a few more "learning pains" (e.g. early losses) before a real game came along. BUT, things were working out pretty well.

    Once Niagara Falls was founded, I could finally start building a bit of an exploration corp. A warrior for exploration and then one to help as MP in Salamanca. Even more cows were spotted - 4 cows on my island. I plan to make good use of those guys during my early turns.

    Of course, with the size came a price. Before the MPs could get to Salamanca, I had to run luxuries VERY high - I was sometimes losing gold with science at 10%! Paying for the granary was interesting. I was trying to accumulate as much cash as possible for the Literature run and Masonry buy.

    City 3 went up to the east in the explored zone to get those cows into range ASAP. City 4 was sent blindly west and ended up being founded on a lone spot of tundra out there. He starts a curragh to contact the civ visible just to my west. I think the color is that of the Mongols.

    More explorations reveal a one-tile choke (which I expect I might be able to use to help get units moved around rapidly and/or as a healing station) plus another freshwater lake. I think I'm only going to put one city on this lake, though. The rest of the land is less interesting. I have room for 8 reasonable cities on my starting island. Not bad.



    Arathorn
     
  4. Arathorn

    Arathorn Catan player

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    In 1990 BC, I finally make my first contact. It is, indeed, the Mongols. And they have Masonry and not Alphabet. It's a bit of a risk, but I need/want to start my prebuild ASAP, so I pay through the nose. Alphabet and 135 gold gets me Masonry. And Niagara Falls starts on the Palace, while we declare war on the worthless Mongols and their poor excuse for a civilization. We're actually equal in cities at this point. Exploration begins in earnest.

    Contact is made with the Zulu in 1300 BC. Their civilization is tiny. I continue in my quest to take all the gold from all AI civs when I meet them. In addition to their 110 gold, Shaka will give me The Wheel for Alphabet. Done. This reveals the very good news that there is a horse source on our starting island. No horses = no MWs = no game.

    I could have gotten another tech for Alphabet instead of the gold, but I wanted them broke - no cash for researching as much as possible. I could've also sold Writing for some techs, but if I don't get the Great Library, I'm screwed anyway. And if I do get the Library, those techs will come in without needing to trade for them. There's nothing out there that can't wait. Since The Wheel was so cheap and revealed a resource, though, I took it.

    In a completely different part of the world, still in 1300 BC, a curragh stumbles across the Japanese, too. They already have Writing, which is a bit scary to me, but I can give them Pottery for WArrior Code (I'm starting to get nervous about having nothing but warriors to use) and all 0 of their gold. I'm gonna crank out a few vet archers, just in case the Mongols get Map Making semi-soon or somebody else gets feisty. Warriors make adequate blockades but they can't fight off much.

    Contact with Egypt came shortly thereafter, in 1250 BC, since Cleo shared land with Shaka. Poor Shaka? The Egyptians and Zulu were at war and Shaka was getting the short end of the stick. Both had obviously spent their GA (Pyramids for Egypt, since I saw no horses nor war chariots from her) and were hurting from it. Alphabet got me Cleopatra's 51 gold. No tech, though, as she wouldn't "throw in" any tech on top of all her gold. And I clung to Writing.

    I'm glad I got Warrior Code, though, as Mongol galleys start nosing around my lands not long after this. I try shadowing them with warriors to prevent landings, but it appears they're only scouting the land. Well, it appears wrong, as a spear/archer pair lands by Grand River. I only have a regular warrior defending. A vet archer can reach just far enough to attack and kill the spear, but the archer takes out my warrior and captures Grand River from me. Fortunately, though, there must have been some resistance, as no unit is whipped interturn. Thus, my archer can recapture the city. I lost a granary, though. Just dumb on my part.

    A second landing of a spear/archer pair is made at Grand River, but they're both just regulars. My vet archer attacks and promotes to elite! A second archer takes out the Mongol archer and battle is starting to get well-and-truly joined. I'm trying to get three archers in position to respond to attack threats at various locations. I really need swords and catapults, but the Great Library is still many turns away.

    It was the same year as the second landing that I completed Literature. In a miracle of ancient science, the foundation of a great palace in Niagara Falls starts being lined with shelves -- bookshelves, where all the knowledge of the world can come together in one place. Initial estimates are that >20 turns will be required to complete this project, but some extra luxury income, some worker merges, and some citizen rearrangement to more fruitful tiles cuts this estimate to 18 turns. Can I survive?

    The Mongols start landing regularly, but they appear to only have two or three ships devoted to this. I do lose an archer on one pair, but I'm mostly doing OK. I really REALLY am wishing for better units to devote to this. Archers and warriors just can't give me enough advantage. Fortunately, there's been no sign of the Japanese yet and the Egyptians and Zulu are hurting. I finally can see most of their land and it is UGLY. Neither of those two was likely to be a threat, even if they hadn't been beating the snot out of each other.

    In 750 BC, the Great Library completes. Next turn the techs will start rolling out. They do, and I get Bronze Working, Iron Working, Code of Laws, Horseback Riding, Map Making, Ceremonial Burial, Mysticism, and Polytheism out. I really wanted Mathematics and Monarchy, but it looks like my map choice has slowed the tech down to a semi-reasonable level. It's big decision time:

    - Do I continue this game, warts and all, or start over with a similar start and hope to do better?
    - Build MWs to trigger my GA now or keep up with archers/swords until I've changed to Monarchy?
    - Try to do battle on the Mongol homeland or settle the island to my north? Neither? Each island I control means one more I have to try to defend.

    Arathorn
     

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  5. handy900

    handy900 Chieftain

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  6. Coffee

    Coffee Cdn Expat

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    Its a production problem or perhaps more so a corruption problem. Solve that and continuing will be less of a risk. I've had recent success jumping my palace. I don't think it reduces overall corruption (except maybe by rounding) but it does have a nice communist effect which saves moves. A small but useful advantage. I'd try jumping the palace. For the northern island, maybe too much to expect, but a leader, complet with defenders and settlers would give an instant forbidden palace.

    Can I survive? :crazyeye:
     
  7. Volum

    Volum The Zapper

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    Your insane!:eek: But good luck tough! I really hope you can go it!
     
  8. Ville

    Ville Chieftain

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    Good luck! You're gonna need it :eek:
     
  9. Speaker

    Speaker Chieftain

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    Looks like a great start Arathorn. Best of luck to you!
     
  10. Arathorn

    Arathorn Catan player

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    Looking ahead, after a day's contemplation (Oh, I was supposed to be working on whether a lexigraphical method of solving a sparse system of binary MQs was going to be exponential or not? Oops.)

    The questions I'd asked:
    - Do I continue this game, warts and all, or start over with a similar start and hope to do better?
    - Build MWs to trigger my GA now or keep up with archers/swords until I've changed to Monarchy?
    - Try to do battle on the Mongol homeland or settle the island to my north? Each island I control means one more I have to try to defend.

    I think I have to answer Yes, build some MWs but try to avoid using them unless absolutely necessary, and settle the north island. The gems won't be useful on the main island until after Astronomy, but I'm gonna need lots of land and it's always easier to settle than to take. I've seen far too many units on the Mongol homeland for me to feel sanguine about trying to make a landing there without a lot more ships and better units.

    In the meantime, I'll work on building up my galley fleet, while the remaining curraghs explore and try to find America, Arabia, and China. I'm gonna have to send significant forces to the island to the north, to defend it from other nations and to hack through all that wetland. Still, it's a short trip and hopefully the important cities nearer the capital will be more inviting targets - even if I have to make them so by leaving minimal forces in place.

    Plan now:
    - Settle the first island to the north and get a FP built ASAP.
    - First MGL builds an army and then I think about taking the fight to the Mongols on their turf.
    - Revolt to Monarchy as soon as possible (Egypt has it) and then trigger the GA with a horde of MWs.

    Ideally, Monarchy and the MGL would be similarly timed, once I have some boats ready.

    I can't wait!

    Arathorn
     
  11. ~Corsair#01~

    ~Corsair#01~ Chieftain

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    Well, firstly, I'd like to say how pleased I am that there'a a great Civ community, which has evaded me for until, oh... about an hour ago, secondly I'd I'd like to say how depressing it is that you guys are so much better than me. Anyways, great job, hope you win.
     
  12. Gogf

    Gogf Indescribable

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    Good luck!
     
  13. Gengis Khan

    Gengis Khan Chieftain

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    :dubious: You're absolutly insane. Good luck though!
     
  14. Tappara

    Tappara Coffee? Yes please.

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    For me this seems like a complete madness. Can't wait for more :goodjob: .
     
  15. Volum

    Volum The Zapper

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    Im happy you did the thing i can actually understand......CIV
     
  16. Point13

    Point13 Like a ton of bricks!

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    you are crazy Arathorn, but I gotta wish you good luck, expand fast and strike hard!
     
  17. Rik Meleet

    Rik Meleet Top predator Retired Moderator

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    You're not insane Arathorn, your.... err .... well brave. I'll be lurking this one.
    Good luck. No: GREAT LUCK required here.

    Are you sure about jumping to the north ? It seems too risky to me at this point. OTOH, if you wait it'll be someone else's land.
     
  18. Tomoyo

    Tomoyo Fate

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    First of all, let me say that you are indeed crazy. The first time AWS entered my head I thought "Byzantines on a 80% archy with one opponent, and restart until they are stranded on a 10 tiles tundra island"

    Maybe you should consider using the island to the north as a slave trap, then using those slaves to blockade the coast, then settle it. Is that considered an exploit by you?
     
  19. ~Corsair#01~

    ~Corsair#01~ Chieftain

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    I think that would take too many resources to "slave trap", and there is the whole "how do I defend it" problem.
    You could try a similar strategy, surrounding the island with warriors on every coastal tile, but you should make sure the corruption will be managable before you colonize, because if the cities can't build their own troops, they're a drain on your resources and you're better off without them.
     
  20. handy900

    handy900 Chieftain

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    Welcome to civfanatics :wavey: !! You are just in time for the June Game of the Month. :thumbsup:

    Don't get depressed, get better. :D
     

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