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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

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    @the_mole -- Well, I try. And, yes, replying to a thread subscribes you.

    @all -- I should have another update tonight. I was on vacation for almost a week and am just getting caught up with the important things in life -- like Civ! I have pretty much all the details up through 250 AD written and with pictures, but they're scattered all over and I need to collect them. This game's gonna be slow, as I check every city every turn and I don't play very fast to begin with. Couple with lots of competing priorities and it's slow going. But FUN!

    Arathorn
     
  2. t3h_m013

    t3h_m013 Prince

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    "Well, I try."

    i think even considering doing sid even without always war makes you "pro as mate".
     
  3. Arathorn

    Arathorn Catan player

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    As can be seen by my pictures a few posts ago, the north is a bit underdefended, especially the far northern cities. Troops were en route, but the complete lack of road infrastructure was making it tough to get them to the front lines.

    When the Zulu landed two archers and two impis right by Tyendenaga, it spelled trouble for me. This was around 170 BC - a bit later than the 290 BC picture - and I had a bit more in the area, but things were still really thin. This came coupled with a few more Mongol andings on the home continent, and I had to call out all the stops. I used a MW to defeat the last of the Mongols and trigger my Golden Age. Things were still a bit ugly on North Island and I lost Tyendenaga and had Akwesasne severely threatened before sufficient reinforcements could arrive.

    I took advantage of the GA to work on infrastructure and to begin massive colonization efforts. I had decided that not only did North Island need to feel my cities, but that I could make good use of the islands west of Mongolia (between Mongolia and Japan) to help my financial situation. Niagara Falls, during the GA, could not only make a settler every 4th turn, it had shields to spare. I actually made it a 5-turn settler factory, getting a spear out in that time, too. Two turns of 10spt with 3 fpt for the spear, then one at 8 shields and 4 food to grow and then two at 5 fpt and 10 spt was enough for the settler with the extra shields from growth. Grand River was a worker pump to get not only my main island fully improved but to occasionally grow a town and to really get to work on North Island, letting my troops reach anywhere very quickly.

    For North Island had become the AI's landing point of choice. The Mongols were slowed, but the Egyptians and Zulu were making fairly frequent sorties to harass my troops. Since I'd already triggered my GA, I could use my MWs with impunity, and their quick movement (especially once I had my road network in place) and 3 attack were extremely handy. I lost an occasional unit, but it was pretty rare. I used the land to my advantage, too, letting the enemy troops creep along through jungle/marsh until I had sufficient forces to finish them off safely. A few cat-and-mouse games but I was always the cat.

    By 10 AD, here's the status of my opponents.
    Zulu - 2 cities. Down Literature, Monarchy. No horses nor iron.
    Egypt - 4 cities. Down Literature. No iron.
    China - 4 cities. Down Writing. No iron.
    America - 8 cities. Down Literature. No iron.
    Japan - 5 cities. Down Masonry, Literature, Monarchy. No horses nor iron.
    Arabia - 8 cities. Down Writing, Math, Horseback Riding. No horses nor iron.
    Mongols - 7 cities. Down Literature, Monarchy. No iron.

    The FP completes in Cattaraugus in 50 AD. My production is pretty amazing at this point, but it's really doing no good. I've spent most of my GA on courthouses and the occasional harbor or temple, with units taking much lower priority. I'd really like to crank out a bunch of marketplaces to get the most added benefit from my added commerce, but Currency is still not available. What are those AIs doing? Well, at least my general strategy of isolating and disempowering the other civilizations is working. I have a few cities on North Island that will be OK even after the GA ends. Things are a little shakier out west, but they're coming along. What I really need is a way to take the fight to the AI's main islands.

    A major breakthrough comes in 170 AD. I finally get my first MGL. Now, granted, this is about appropriate for the level of combat I've had - it was elite win number 17, so it's not like I was suffering an undue drought. I just haven't actually had THAT many troops to fight. He appears on the north island. The Zulus have settled the island just between North Island the Zulu/Egyptian homeland (Bapedi Island), but it's a tiny town a ways from home, so I doubt it's fully reinforced.

    I look for a place where an army of a single unit might survive long enough to have others join him. There's a mountain in the south of Zululand that looks appropriate. Taking out the Zulus and then maybe the Egyptians, while not optimal, is going to be a lot easier and more straight-forward than trying to land against the Mongols -- I think. I also worry about the army in a boat. The seas are getting unsafe. The Mongols have sunk a galley and the Egyptians tried and failed to sink a galley. I'm gonna set up a trap for the Mongol galley (this trap was successful -- bombarding with catapults and then attacking with a vet galley. I plan on using this tactic more than once)and hope that not many more of them happen. The army will go in a regular galley with a bunch of vet galleys to protect it. All will be loaded, of course. And it's gonna take a LONG time to get this plan set into motion. The army is created immediately, of course, to open opportunities for more MGLs to arise, but the attack on Zululand won't be for many years.

    By 250 AD, here's the status of my opponents.
    Zulu - 3 cities. Down Literature, Republic, Monarchy. No horses nor iron.
    Egypt - 4 cities. Down Literature. No iron.
    China - 4 cities. Down Philosophy, Code of Laws, Literature, Map Making. No iron.
    America - 9 cities. Down Literature. No iron.
    Japan - 6 cities. Down Masonry, Literature, Monarchy. No horses nor iron.
    Arabia - 8 cities. Down Writing, Horseback Riding, Construction. No horses nor iron.
    Mongols - 7 cities. Down Literature, Republic, Monarchy. No iron.

    It's clear the Americans will be the biggest threat. They're closest in techs, largest in population, and growing in terms of the number of cities. They have the land I got least mapped and I can't reach them safely until after Astronomy (unless I manage to capture the Great Lighthouse in Tokyo - hardly likely).

    My empire has also grown. There's a picture of my western holdings at the end of the update. They are currently a net negative to my income. Once I settle a few more cities and get some of the troops dispersed, that will change. You can also see that I've fully colonized North Island.

    NOBODY has Currency. It's still the Ancient Age. On Sid. In 250 AD. WILD! I'm thinking in terms of spears, swords, and catapults, and not in terms of knights, pikes, and the like. This game might end with cavalry.

    My offensive plan vs. the Zulus is getting put into motion. Galleys are slow and I still don't have as many as I would like. I'm also pretty busy fending off landing after landing on North Island. The Mongols have pretty much given up on attacking either of my two main islands and are concentrating on the two cities (Gandasetaigon and Oka) on Iron Island SW of Mongolia.

    There have been a couple of semi-dicey situations at both Gandasetaigon and Oka. They've held, though, and are starting to get strong. The pile of spears outside Gandasetaigon is interesting, as the AI typically sends an archer/spear pair and has the archer attack and the spear fortify. It's unfortunate that a bit of Mongol culture still covers the island, as it gives the Mongol horsemen a place to retreat to, after they've retreated. Gandasetaigon gets a little more attention because it's on iron itself. This is good, though, as it's also on a hill, so my defenders are a little better prepared to protect themselves.

    I had both cities build temples to get cultural expansions (cash-rushed, unfortunately). This was necessary to limit the possibility of culture-flips. However, after the borders expanded, I sold both temples. This recovered a bit of the cash used in rushing them, but, more importantly, saved me the upkeep costs. I don't need the happiness and I'm not going to overtake Mongolian local culture with fully-corrupt cities.

    Arathorn
     

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  4. Rik Meleet

    Rik Meleet Top predator Retired Moderator

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    Keep it up Arathorn, defeat Sid in AW. !
    Can't wait for your next update.
     
  5. anarres

    anarres anarchist revolutionary

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    /subscribed
     
  6. EQandcivfanatic

    EQandcivfanatic Zailing Captain Retired Moderator

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    yes i suscribed too, being a mere Emporer player i tremble at thought of an always war on Sid level. Best of luck to ye.
     
  7. Arathorn

    Arathorn Catan player

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    I figured 8 troops would be enough for an outlying city with no land connection to home. I planned on only using two galleys, since I still only had a few ships. The first set of 4 troops should land two squares away, so that I can join the second set of 4 to the intermediate landing point and have them all safely there.

    The main brunt of the force will be swordsmen, as I expect I may get some counterattack out of Bapedi. I’ll send along a couple archers for first-strike in defense. I’d use catapults but they’re wheeled, so they can’t cross the jungle/marsh to get there. Casualties may be kinda high, but I want to set up my own city/cities for a short jump to Zulu Mountain.

    The initial part goes off without a hitch. The first 4 troops land in 310 AD. The Zulu actually send an archer (?) after me from a different part of the island, but it’s in a position where it can’t hit my assembled troops after I move. I then have 8 troops in position to hit Bapedi, with another round of reinforcements coming very soon.

    The attack goes swimmingly well, against only two initial defending impi, plus one impi who was on a boat. I lose a single sword and raze the city. Momentary thoughts of keeping it are quickly abandoned, as even a single Zulu citizen this near the capital is not something I want to deal with. Plus, I have a slightly different location in mind. No slaves, but that’s OK. I didn’t really expect any. It took me until 330 AD to raze my first AI city. The second better not take 4330 years!

    The settler pump dries up suddenly, as Currency finally trickles in in 340 AD. Every single city on my main island changes over to marketplaces. I need the cashflow and I need it 20 turns ago. Marketplaces are the key for my core cities, especially with taxes holding firm at 70%. I don’t have luxes to make ‘em happy and nearly all of them have 3 MPs to help with happiness. I don’t mind specialists, but especially with marketplaces, having the citizen work is probably a better deal overall.

    Meanwhile, the settling of the small islands west of Mongolia has continued and is almost complete. Remember how bare things were in 250 AD? Well, by 350 AD, things have changed and the islands are starting to get more under my control. They’re almost cash-neutral, but they prevent the AIs from getting more cities and do provide a bit of income for me, more when I run Wealth. Other than Iron Island, these guys are safe until marines, which will be forever at the current tech pace.



    I also start settling Bapedi Island a bit, for places to heal and because I’d pumped out more settlers than I’d really needed initially. While scouring the island and with the army shipped here with a single sword, I see an opportunity. MGLs and armies are going to be my salvation and I’ll need the Heroic Epic ASAP to maximize my numbers. A red-lined impi is on grassland, just asking to be eaten by my single-unit army.

    Yes, it’s a risk. But the odds are greater than 93% that I’ll win (elite vs. 1 hp impi). Odds aren’t always right. I lose the first round, and the second round. I start sweating a bit. Third round goes to the impi. I’m yellow now. Fourth round and it’s now one hp vs. one hp. Will I lose it so ignominiously? No. Win with the last gasp. Now I can build Heroic Epic – it’s begun immediately in Salamanca, which is my best producer. The year is 380 AD.

    By 420, I’m still not quite ready to land on Zulu Mountain, but I am getting fed up with the slow research rate of the AIs. I really would have liked pikes for the landing. I begin a min run at Feudalism. To taunt me, America starts Sun Tzu then in 430 AD. Fine, I change my min run to Engineering. Hopefully somebody else will get Feudalism soon and then I can start building pikes.

    I make my landing on Zulu Mountain in 460 AD. It’s three full galley loads, which I hope will be enough – mostly swords (including the one in the army) with a couple archers. The Zulu hit it with 5 archers, but that’s all. It holds for one turn. The Egyptians obviously have a RoP with the Zulu, as a stream of Egyptian horsemen also appear at the edge of my sightline. Not to worry. I just load in maximal hp swords into my army, which fortifies. That’s enough to make me “not a target” in the AI eyes, so I can hang out for a bit longer. The army will heal in enemy territory, albeit slowly.

    After it’s fully healed, I slowly walk to Zimbabwe. I could, theoretically, pillage my way across the Zulu/Egyptian island, but I want to eliminate the Zulu and I want Egypt to continue to research. I think crushing the Zulu cities and then perhaps eliminating Egyptian settler pairs before founding my own city is the way to go. I worry about founding a city here at all, but first things first. Zimbabwe has to go. By 480 AD, I’m ready to start attacking. My plan is to use my 13-hp army to attack once and then fortify to heal back to full. I will only attack with 13 hps. I’m not sure I can whittle through his defense like this, but other units can maybe come later.

    The reason it might take a while is that I’ve dispatched nearly all of my galleys to an island east of Egypt. This island has iron and both the Egyptians and Zulu have a settlement on it. I want to destroy them both – I do NOT want to face MDI and/or pikes. A fairly healthy strike regiment has been dispatched, including a settler to begin claiming the island for the Iroquois.

    500 AD and it’s time for a rundown of the foes…
    Zulu – 3 cities. Down Lit. No Horses or Iron.
    Egypt – 5 cities. Down Lit. No Iron.
    China – 4 cities. Down Philosophy, Code of Laws, Literature, Currency. No Iron.
    America – 11 cities. Up Fuedalism. No Iron.
    Japan – 6 cities. Down Masonry, Literature, Republic. No Horses or Iron.
    Arabia – 8 cities. Down Writing, Currency. No Horses or Iron.
    Mongols – 7 cities. Down Literature, Currency, Republic. No Iron.

    On the Zulu front, I’ve killed a couple of impis in Zimbabwe and my strike force is almost in position. Things are looking good.

    East Island goes well…I raze both cities for the loss of a single MW – the Zulu had 3 impi defenders but the Egyptians only had two spearmen. I found my city over by the lake and the iron. A couple slaves from the razings get to work irrigating. I'm gonna fill this land, too, for unit support purposes, eventually. For now, it's a trap to hopefully get more slaves! I've got 5 units with attack 3 scattered through the island to punish any settler pairs that may arrive.

    Zimbabwe goes horribly worse. In 550 AD, my 13 hp sword army loses 10 frickin’ hps defeating a veteran impi. I had just dispatched a few more forces. They will serve as distractions while I run the army to the mountain and fortify it, hoping it can survive.
    560 sees a few Egyptian attacks, but some of my line holds. Will the army survive? It has to move this turn. And I evacuate some catapults. I should’ve been more patient, but I was playing late and got overanxious. Much cursing ensues. I was set up so well!

    Well, the army didn’t last. The Egyptian horses retreated, but a horde of archers and spears descended towards Zulu Mountain, sweeping aside my last few defenders. 580 sees my army die, after killing about 5 attacking archers. I weep quietly. My first major invasion was a complete disaster.

    Now what? :(

    Arathorn
     

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  8. anarres

    anarres anarchist revolutionary

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    ouch. Guess you need to regroup.

    Maybe I missed this, but how come you are not getting invaded by lots of AI?
     
  9. Arathorn

    Arathorn Catan player

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    OK, recovery time. I can still dominate the two islands east of Egypt. That should prevent any iron and keep the forces weak. Zulu Mountain is still the place to land and I just need to build up enough defenders and ships to make a reasonable landing. I start out envisioning 24 pikemen and 8 archers as a good first landing, as long as I have some reserves to back it up but after thinking about it, I changed my mind (see later in-depth thoughts). A stream of units from the main island can hopefully serve that role. It’s too bad there’s no road on the mountain – some catapults would be ideal. Maybe I’ll send a worker or two along if it looks like the front will hold. Some galleys can be used to pull out injured troops to a safe place to heal. My 100+ unit army is still considered weak compared to Egypt, but I think they’ll keep some of their forces in reserve…at least I hope so. At some point, I need to just attrition away some of their forces. I’d LOVE another army, but MGLs are hard to come by – maybe I’ll get one in defense.

    Both of the east islands should be mine. While I wait for Feudalism and for my pikes to arrive, I’m going to concentrate on the other invasion force against the Egyptian-held small island. This is more to just pick off troops and hopefully entice some settler pairs than to really kill units. Slave crews are busy roading to allow for faster access to all points. One darn settler/warrior pair killed a swordsman, though. Confound it all.

    In the West, things are picking up, too. The Japanese have actually decided to do something and start landing on Iron Island, too. The Japanese and the Mongols are getting in each other’s way, though, and neither is mounting a significant threat at this point. I rushed a barracks in Gandasetaigon to allow me to upgrade to pikes, when the time comes.

    The time comes in 600 AD, when Feudalism pops from the Great Library. I switch a lot of builds over to pikemen and start setting up some shipping channels. I’d built a fair number of galleys while waiting for Feudalism, so what I need now are troops to ship. Salamanca can do an archer/turn and most everybody else gets to work on pikes. North Island towns are either fully corrupt and specialist-friendly or are working on courthouses, slowly. The two southernmost ones are doing aqueduct and marketplace builds to increase their usefulness.

    The ships from the first assault on the Eastern Isles aren’t back yet, so I don’t immediately send reinforcements – I want some flexibility depending on how things turn out.

    Iron Island gets interesting around 620 AD, as a Mongol archer and horsemen win back-to-back battles against pikemen (I'd upgraded forces in Gandasetaigon) fortified behind walls on a hill. Looks like I’m gonna spend some more cash keeping this land safe with rushes. Plus, the Japs are starting to arrive en masse – the Great Lighthouse really lets their ships fly, even though the island is a fair ways from their main island. Many of them actually disappear (the Japanese are obviously running a deficit) before actually attacking, but there are plenty of Jap units. On the plus side, a couple Jap spears fortified in various places are making it hard for the Mongols to retreat to heal or to get to my cities. I also have a catapult in each city now and am starting to ding some of the fortified spears. Once I get them all red-lined (if that ever happens) and I can get an MDI built, I hope to start taking them out – except one which I’ll have to leave so I don’t get too exposed. Mostly, though, I’m just dinging them as it’s a free shot. The catapult is mainly there to help with city defense.

    Finally, I scramble a couple ships and 4 MWs (who won’t be so useful on attacks vs. a main island) to head for the Egyptian city of Elephantine on a reasonably small island just east of Egypt. They arrive in 650 AD, with one ship hanging around to provide inter-island transport and the second headed back to participate in the hopeful landing on Zulu Mountain. Forces are starting to arrive, but I’m forcing myself to build up a lot more than I think I need to before landing.

    Anyway, it takes all 4 MWs, but Elephantine burns to the ground. I have no casualties and pick up another 4 slaves. Egyptian culture reaches quite a ways onto the island, but I think I could put a city on there safely, if I so choose. At this point, though, I’m just gonna leave most of the MWs there as a deterrent force. My primary goal is Zulu Mountain. It just takes a LONG time to build enough pikemen and then get them shipped to where they need to be. A pipeline is developing, but it’s SLOW going.

    Think about islands past Arabia? There’s iron there, too. Settling is much easier than conquering, as a spear only takes 8 shields to build, so the AI gets them up fast. I have no really good settler pumps at this time, but there are a couple wheats on the island SE of Arabia (reachable by Japan, too), where I could found a city and let it just populate the island. But I’d need a good mobile force there to fight off landings. At this point, the Egyptians and Zulu are landing on North Island, where I’m eating them up or on Bapedi Island which is even worse for them. The Mongols and Japanese are working on Iron Island. Arabia just got Map Making and hasn’t landed anywhere yet.

    "What troops do I need to invade? What’s reasonable to expect?" I really sit down and think about this question seriously around 700 AD or so. I need to do it right this time -- no excuses for a failure.

    Here’s what I decided. The Zulu are pretty wimpy and tired. I expect 3-4 archers from there immediately and nothing else. No fear. The Egyptians are the scary ones. According to my advisor, they’re strong compared to me. I have ~165 units, but with the typical human predilection for workers and catapults, which the AI doesn’t value very strongly. I’ll start with a guess that Egypt has some 200 units to her name. The AI likes to build about half offensive and half defensive, so that’s 100 offensive units I expect to attack me. Regardless of what they are, their attack value will be 2 (war chariots, horsemen, archers – those are Egypt’s options at this point).

    A pikemen on a mountain defends at a 6, 7.5 if I can get him fortified. I should be able to fortify before Egypt’s forces arrive, even with the RoP, it’s a bit of time to get move 2 units down from the border where Egypt has them stacked. So, they attack at 2 and I defend at 7.5 (not counting archer’s first strike, which I hope will be important and valuable, but it’s not something I can really depend on). I’ll do 3.75 damage for each point they do to me.

    I expect a mix of regulars and veterans, with veterans in the majority. So, figure 3.75 hps/Egyptian unit, to make my life easy. That means each hp I lose will approximately kill one attacking Egyptian. 100 attacking Egyptians means I need 100 defending hps to have a reasonable chance. Since most of my pikes will promote from the barrage of attacks, 20 pikes will give me a reasonable chance of survival.

    Thus, my goal is to land 30 pikes and 8-10 archers on Zulu Mountain to spearhead my invasion. I can’t do that all at once – that’s 20 boats which I don’t have. What I can do is dedicate 10 galleys to the invasion. They’ll load up and move into position without unloading on turn 0. On turn 1, I’ll disgorge those 20 and return to load up another 20. On turn 1 intraturn, the Zulu will attack (and hopefully die rapidly). On turn 2, I can land another 20 and fortify my initial survivors. Those will be in place when Egypt’s fast troops arrive on the scene. The second set won’t have time to fortify, so I’ll go pike heavy in the first load and slightly archer heavier in the second load. Archers don’t have to be fortified to get their first shot in.

    At that point, I’ll have to evaluate. My boats won’t be able to move after disgorging their turn 2 loads. If all goes well, they can go back and load up with catapults and MDI and I can land on the desert and start razing cities. Once the initial crunch is past, I won’t have to deal with more than 6 offensive units/turn, one per AI city. That will be much easier to handle, IF I can survive the first bit. Galleys can be used to move pikes back for healing or they can ferry in additional troops/settlers.

    If the landing force is mostly wiped out and the AI has enough force to finish the job, I can hopefully evacuate 20 troops with my galleys. Even if it’s mostly a failure, but I can do it again in a fairly small number of turns, I’ll call it a victory. I can outproduce the Zulu at this point and am probably close to the Zulu/Egypt empires combined -- they can't build more than 6 units/turn. Fewer units for all three of us will mean more cash, which means more gold in my coffers and will hopefully mean faster research from the AI civs, to propel us all in pursuit of America.

    Now, to get 10 galleys, 30 pikemen, 10 archers assembled, as well as a follow-up landing party of ‘pults, catapults, MDI, and maybe even more pikemen. And forcing myself to have patience to wait until I have that assembled.

    In the meantime, I’d been amusing myself by sinking all the Zulu and/or Egyptian ships that passed by Bapedi Island. Now, however, I’ve got a different plan. An MGL and a better-used army (use it as a shield for bunches of artillery weapons and a few attackers to raze a city) will be huge. I need to fight units on land to get promotions and to fish for leaders, so I let them unload troops and continue to ferry. I’ve got sufficient troops on hand to deal with any threat.

    I’m also really looking forward to Monotheism for cathedrals. Three happy faces for only two gold will be a real boon. I think, because of the 50% bonus effect of marketplaces, I’ll keep my 3 MPs/city and just try to reduce the lux tax once I have cathedrals in place. It’s sitting at 30% right now and I’d love to get it down to 20%. In that way, I think cathedrals will make me a lot of money. My lack of luxuries has been pretty painful.

    It’s gonna be a while before luxuries shake out. The Zulu/Egypt island has 2 luxuries (furs and wines), so that will help, but not immediately. NOTHING CONNECTS by coast, so I have to wait for Astronomy and safe sea passage before I can start significantly benefiting from even the gems on North Island, let alone other luxuries I might be able to claim. Maybe on Mongol Island, but with no high spot to land on, I’m not sure how I’ll ever invade that.

    Americans are ahead at least Monotheism and Chivalry, as they start Knights Templar in 700 AD (and complete it in 710 AD – SGL, apparently). Actually, killing a bunch of Egyptian units might help their economy get back on track enough for them to research a couple techs to help my GLib be more valuable. Shortly, thereafter, the Americans start Sistine Chapel, too. They’re easily running away from the rest of the AIs. I can’t reach them at all safely until Astronomy, unless I get the Great Lighthouse from Japan.

    Status in 750 AD:
    Zulu – 2 cities – even tech
    Egypt – 4 cities – even tech
    China – 4 cities – down Literature, Currency, Republic
    America – 11 cities – UP Monotheism (and Theology and Chivalry, at least)
    Japan – 6 – down Literature, Currency, Construction
    Arabia – 8 – down Code of Laws, Literature, Currency
    Mongols – 7 – down Literature, Currency

    I have 25 cities and am even with myself in tech. I’m the only one with iron, but I only have a couple sources connected. I’m trying to limit my connections so it doesn’t up and move, but I’m also working hard to keep the AI from any iron.

    I’ve started assembling forces in Kiohero. You can see I’m not ready yet.

    Arathorn
     

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  10. Arathorn

    Arathorn Catan player

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    @anarres: I am getting invaded, pretty much all the time. I just don't write up much about the trickle of units. America and China can't reach me safely. Arabia didn't get Map Making until about 690 AD or so. Egypt and Zulu were the worst offenders -- I was killing 6-10 units/turn on North Island for quite a while. Where do you think the MGL came from? A stack of 'pults to damage the attackers and then swords/MW (more of the latter, eventually) to finish off the attackers. Once I took Bapedi and started going after the Eastern Islands, things slowed down on that front.

    Also, pikes on a hill behind walls with catapult support generally do a wonderful job of killing off archers and at least retreating horsemen.

    Once I got 3 MP in every town in my home/main island, the attacks pretty much stopped there. I need the MP now because of extreme unhappiness problems and they can also serve as cannon fodder if/when I need that.

    At one point, too, I sunk about 4 Mongol galleys with concentrated catapult fire and a couple galleys going out and sinking and retreating to safety. It takes the AI a while to figure out it needs more boats.

    Arathorn
     
  11. Gogf

    Gogf Indescribable

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    You have a 31 unit attack force, and you're not ready!?
     
  12. brandonbowler

    brandonbowler What the Deuce?

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    Wow, keep it up Arathorn and best luck!!! :goodjob:
     
  13. Arathorn

    Arathorn Catan player

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    I ended up rushing two more pikes in Gandasetaigon, which made for 2 pikes and an elite spear there. That apparently changed the AI's calculation and the Mongols started landing on Main Island again in 800 AD. Cool - target practice. Actually, not so cool, I'd been shipping so many units to Bapedi Island, I had little on hand to take care of the landing - no catapults at all, for instance. Plus, most of Main Island defenders are spears or even warriors serving as MP. A two-unit landing won't get a city but it can be a problem. I start measures to take care of this, but the focus is still on the landing on Zulu Mountain.

    800 AD also sees a minor milestone - 20 pikes in Kiohero, only 10 more to go. When that one is en route, I'll rename him so I know when he gets to Kiohero without counting. It's getting rough to see all the units there. I also take my single galley over by the Eastern Islands (north of Arabia) and load up a MW and a settler and head for Southeast Island past Arabia. Worst case, I'll just have to abandon the city. It's a gamble, but it only costs me some gold.

    The trap on North Island is also getting me some more elites against Zulu and Egyptian foes. The ships I'd sunk earlier though is telling, as not many units land. And they often sail around to random locations on the back side of North Island to drop off troops. I'm fully roaded, so it's not a big deal (as long as they don't coordinate too many landings on the same turn) to me, but it's longer sailing time for them. Whatever.

    I lose a MW attacking Mongols on Main Island in 840 and actually get attacked. OK, it was a 2 hp horse and he promptly died, but it convinced me to get serious about defending Main Island a bit better. A couple MDI and some 'pults will do the trick.

    It's only a bit later, 850 AD, that I'm ready to start the invasion of Zulu Mountain. I load up 18 pikes and 2 archers as wave 1 and move them up to Zulu Mountain. No boat attacks, please, AI. Thank you.

    I unload wave 1 in 860 AD and head back where wave 2 (12 pikes and 8 archers) load up. I check F3, too, and find my army (190 units) is now average vs. Egypt. Good news! My 200 unit estimate was probably close. Still, there's extreme trepidation. What's the interturn going to show? How many attacks will the AI make? Will I survive this? Were my calculations correct?

    In minor news, Skannayutenate is founded on Southeast Island.

    With adrenaline pumping, I press enter and await the interturn.

    ..
    ..
    ..

    And nothing happens. NOTHING! No attacks at all. Zulu Mountain is left alone. WTF? Did the Zulu have no attack units? Are the Egyptians coming and just didn't make it into visible range? What?

    Oh, wait, something did happen. The Japanese formed Nara on Southeast Island. That location might be a challenge.

    I go ahead and drop off wave 2 on Zulu Mountain in 870 AD. I mean, what else is there to do? It can't hurt to have more troops in place. That gives me my full 40 units on ZM. If the Egyptian waves do come, I'm ready. The initial 18 pike fortify, too, to give them added defense against the hordes I expect to see coming any minute now.

    But, no. The Egyptians and Zulu stay passive. Nothing on the interturn. Nothing appears. Boats continue to pester my other holdings, but the big action at ZM is turning out to be a big dud. Will the AI not attack at those odds? Must be.

    Oh, and Nara is defended by an archer, visibly. I have a vet MW. Odds will be in my favor next turn.

    I don't have to decide on the Zulu front in 880 AD. My ships simply retreat and the rest of the pikes fortify. I'm in good position now. But what to do? Will the AI simply not attack a huge stack? Defense 3? Is it the mountain? I dunno.

    Attack Nara, though. I do one damage to the archer, yellow-lining it and retreat. Hmmm... Lots of culture-free area where I can rest and heal, at least.

    The 880 AD interturn is interesting, though. No, not attacks on Zulu Mountain. That'd be sweet at this point. No. Monotheism pops from the Great Library. And then Engineering pops, too (Egypt and Zulu apparently traded). I had only 5 turns left on my min run on Engineering. Wouldn't an SGL have been interesting? :lol: The fun doesn't stop there, though, as New York completes Sistine Chapel. Every time I see more stuff from America, I fear them more. Everybody else is dangerous, too, of course, but America is easily the scariest. I just can't do anything about them right now.

    Well, if the AI is going to ignore me at ZM, I'll just ignore them, too. Load up another 20 units - pults and MDI and swords and even another couple pikes. We'll land by Zimb and move in everybody off ZM and see what they think of that!

    Also, I stop producing units. Well, almost stop. A couple of corrupt outlying towns still work on a couple units, but essentially every single non-corrupt town (really only 10 of them) start building cathedrals. I want to drop my lux tax to 20% (or even 10% but I don't think that will be possible). 2 cost for 3 happy faces is a good deal. And it might be necessary to prevent a culture win later in the game. Some culture can only be a good thing, especially when it helps in other ways.

    890 is as expected, nothing happens.

    Something WILL happen in 900. I put 58 troops by Zimbabwe on the desert. Ignore me at your own peril! I also see another Japanese ship by Southeast Island. Skannay may have to be abandoned. My MW is still healing up by Nara.

    Status:
    Zulu - 2 cities - UP Invention - my mil is strong
    Egypt - 4 cities - par - my mil is average
    China - 4 cities - down Literature, Currency - my mil is average
    America - 10 cities - UP Theology, Chivalry. Down Engineering - my mil is weak
    Japan - 7 cities - down Literature, Currency - my mil is weak
    Arabia - 8 cities - down Literature, Currency, Republic - my mil is average
    Mongols - 7 cities - down Literature, Monotheism, Fuedalism, Engineering - my mil is weak

    Yeah, the 900 AD AI turn is a bit longer and more entertaining. Egypt still can't reach me, but I see at least 40 fast-movers (war chariots and horsemen) come barreling down at me. There are probably close to that many that move that I didn't see with my single spotter. Zulu move, too, and attack my stack with 3 archers. All 3 die to my pikes, doing 1, 2, and 3 damage.

    OK, they won't stand for me on flatlands. Fair enough. 'Pults go back on boats (except the elite, which stays empty to protect the fleet). Everybody else goes back to Zulu Mountain. I call this OPERATION RETREAT. As Zaphod Beeblebrox says, "Discretion is the better part of valor. And cowardice is the better part of discretion." So I valiantly beat a retreat. Once they're locked in, will the AI continue to target?

    No, they retreat. Spotter ship sees the Egyptian hordes race back to their territory. Cool. The AI is so predictable. The Zulu do attack and sink an empty boat. Good thing I generally protect my fleets with more boats.

    So, in 920 AD, I move back off Zulu Mountain onto the desert. What's changed? Notice how I said I only had 58 units last time. I'd kept a boat in reserve by Kiohero. It loaded up properly and adds a couple units to the stack. The important one is a settler (the other was a worker, but growing the city/disbanding the worker for shields didn't really work out). I'm gonna have at least one round of attacks on my stack without walls on flatlands and that will be scary and painful. On the plus side, I'll get to heal between waves of attacks and will have walls very soon.

    During the interturn, the Egyptians swarm as expected, the Zulu can't even muster a single archer to attack the stack. And the Japanese land an archer/spear pair by undefended Skannay. Plus, they got a spear in Nara, so the archer comes out to play with my MW.

    I do the boring stuff first in 930. I attack an archer by Nara and my MW gets its revenge by killing the guy flawlessly. He of course retreats to a safe distance! Skannay gets abandoned. It had grown to size 2, but there was no way to save it. I quote both MacArthur and The Terminator to cover my bases and continue on with other plans. I have a couple shiploads of stuff from Eastern Island that I want to ship, but ships are rather busy at the moment!

    Onnontare is founded on Zulu/Egypt island. It rushes a worker and then changes its mind and rushes walls (120 gold). The 43 visible attackers will be able to attack without walls, on flatlands. Pikes fortify out the yang. The catapults sing, trying to damage some Zulu roads, to slow the hordes just a bit, so that I can defend behind walls instead of a tiny town just recently built in the desert! But they fail. Apparently, damaging roads is beyond the capability of a catapult... :dubious:

    There's some fairly intense cultural pressure and I'm inordinately close to Zimbabwe, the Zulu capital. But I actually have more culture than Zululand and 50+ military units is a good reason to not flip.

    Of course, it's the units arrayed against me that are a bigger concern. This is just one stack....
     

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  14. Arathorn

    Arathorn Catan player

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    With even more fear than before, I press enter. I'm gonna count attacks and my casualties. I expect a fair few of both.

    ..
    ..
    ..

    Well, the first count is easy. On only the 5th attack on Onnontare, Cornplanter appears! Awesome! If I survive, I can go forward. It was really only about my third or fourth victory - one pike killed a guy and promoted and killed another guy and produced an MGL. Outstanding! [party] [dance]

    And then they keep coming...and coming...and coming. It's both good and bad news that there are lots of retreats. In a way, retreats are good for me, in that it's less chance for my precious pikes to be hurt. In a way, though, it's bad, because it means I'll have to face a whole bunch of re-healed units in a few turns. With walls in place, though, maybe it won't be all bad.

    After the 49th attack, I show a 3/4 pike. All my vets are now injured. None have died...yet. But that's the extent of the units that can reach Onnontare this turn! I see the Mongols move and rejoice! And my jaw drops. ZERO casualties for me? ZERO? Of course, there were probably only about 15 Egyptian casualties.

    This isn't a complete list of the retreaters. And the list covers up another 3 large Egyptian stacks.
     

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  15. Arathorn

    Arathorn Catan player

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    I counterattack and kill 8 units (some spears, some fast-movers). I have limited attackers and the Egyptians did bring defenders with them. Still, I like the kill ratio so far. I lost none in the counterattack. I make an army out of Cornplanter. I load a single MDI into it. I'm going to need something to pierce through stuff. And I don't want a pike army, simply because it would be on top forever defending Onnontare and it might die. The pikes did fine (and healed nicely) last turn, plus they now have walls and more are elite.

    To add in healing, I rush a barracks, too, in Onnontare. That's another 200 gold thrown into the invasion. And checking with my military advisor, I find that he now considers the Iroquois army strong compared to the Egyptian one. Of course, ours is spread over 11 islands and theirs is all bearing down on a single city of mine, but.... It still feels good.

    Over at Nara, my MW kills a spear defender...and that's it. Nara can be mine. Keep or raze? Raze or keep? I keep briefly, as it's worth 3 gpt while I have it, but I'll have no qualms about abandoning it if things get dicey there.

    The Egyptian attack is much MUCH weaker this time. I'd expected more but the slow-movers are still a turn away. Only 20 attacks. I lose 2 units this time. Elites behind walls die...vets without walls survive. Got it! :) I don't know how many retreated. Too many things to keep track of.

    And we're to 950 AD. The beachhead is being established. I kill 8 and lose 2 in counterattacks. I wish I had more 'pults, but I needed every one of my pikes and the archers were built when expectations about the attack were a bit different.

    The rest of the world just doesn't seem very interesting at this point. The Mongols are landing every couple turns and I'm killing them with 'pult fire and an elite MDI/MW pair, looking for a leader. Nara will hold for one turn, at least. MW moves out to not be flipped but the Japanese will appear interturn and I won't be able to kill both safely without losing Nara, as you'll see.

    In another stirring upset, the 4th battle defending Onnontare after 950 AD gives Tecumseh. Granted, pretty much the top 10 or so pikes are elite, so essentially every battle is with an elite defending. It's gratifying to finally get some MGLs in this game. And, actually, only 10 units suicide against Onnontare this turn (and it is suicide, archers vs. fortified elite pikes behind walls with catapult support with no chance to retreat? Not gonna happen). But the pillagers arrive...
     

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  16. Arathorn

    Arathorn Catan player

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    I counter-attack a different stack with some success in 960 AD. One of the bigger successes is Red Cloud, who appears and gives me my third army in Onnontare. The first is now loaded with 3 MDI, since I will have some armies to use in other beachheads, I feel comfortable using one army exclusively for this island. It's moved up to Zimbabwe. Its job will be to ding passers-by and to give protection for my catapults, once I'm ready to move them out of Onnontare. For now, it's primarily a funnel (though not a funnel of doom).

    Egypt pillages but doesn't attack. For the first turn in a long time, I don't get attacked at all in the interturn. Amazing! I do note with some disgust that Egypt will have ~100 spears to use to defend its four cities. That'll take some slogging!

    Japanese forces are going to reach Nara next turn and I can't kill both of them before they arrive. Oh well.

    About all I do in 970 is move my 10 'pults up by Zimbabwe. A few MDI and swords are healed and might not be critical, so they move up, too. Abandon Nara. Do the normal dance.

    The Egyptian fast-movers are healed, though, and 32 ride into view of a spotter during the 970 interturn. Another 4 Egyptians actually attack Onnontare, but only one retreats to tell about it.

    The only real place for my catapults to reach is Zimbabwe. 10 bombards have 4 hits and reveal at least 5 vet impi defending it. I'm not surprised. Not enough units to really start attacking, even in whittle mode.

    The west Eastern Island trap worked. The Egyptians landed a settler/war chariot pair there last turn, so I take a couple more slaves happily.

    Another interesting attack by Egypt. I defended Onnontare 14 times with elites and 11 of those times, the attacker didn't retreat and died. The other 19 attackers were against vet defenders and had only 6 of the attackers die. Pretty good retreat odds, if you ask me, for vet on vet. Actually, only 11 of 17 retreated, since I lost two units as well.

    I decide in 990 that bombarding Zimbabwe can wait a bit and bombard the Egyptian stack. I kill 18 Egyptians with my counter. I had to use pikes a few times to finish off red-lines horses/chariots. Odds are distinctly in my favor that way and it means I won't have to face them ever again! That should pretty much gas Egypt. Good deal.

    Only interesting part of the interturn is that the Americans start Copernicus. They have Astronomy. That means I can expect landings from them soon. Of course, I'm pretty well prepared for landings nearly anywhere anytime. The bigger concern is that they're running away with the tech pace. I need Egypt to research something very soon. I'm not sure what to do about America.

    By 1000, there are no visible Egyptian units around Onnontare. Catapults go 5-for-10 against Zimbabwe, with a vet impi showing. I use the army (they're both gassed and Onnontare is right there if I need to retreat/heal) and kill two impi. Still vet showing. Kill another with an MDI. Still vet showing in Zimbabwe.

    Status time:
    Zulu - 2- UP invention
    Egypt - 4 - even
    China - 4 - down Currency
    America - 11 - up Theology, Chivalry visible (Education, Astronomy). Down Engineering
    Japan - 7 - down Literature, Monotheism, Feudalism, Engineering
    Arabia - 8 - down Literature, Currency
    Mongols - 7 - down Literature, Monotheism, Engineering
    Me - 26 - even

    Victory status (F8 screen):
     

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  17. Arathorn

    Arathorn Catan player

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    During the interturn, the Zulu plug the Egypt gap, bringing 5 impi and 3 longbows out of Zimb to be near Onnontare. Now, attack 4 units are a bit worrisome, but I have faith in my pikes. Beside, with units out, I might have a better shot at Zimb now.

    Or not. Pults go 1-for-10, making me vow to upgrade to trebuchets soon. I still manage to kill 5 impi in Zimbabwe with no losses. Army will need to heal. Some units move back to Onnontare, of course, to heal between turns. Constant unit shuffle. And a few pikes have joined the army stack.

    Two Zulu impis attack Onnontare. One dies. One retreats. And the bows are too chicken. Of course, three more impis move in to reinforce Zimbabwe. Egypt offers up a couple more slaves on Eastern Islands. And Chivalry comes out of the Great Library. Do I really need/want knights? Well, I've got the option now. A few wouldn't be amiss - lower upkeep costs than a pike/MDI pair for semi-similar value.

    In 1020, I finish off the Zulu offensive, killing 6 Zulu in the open. 2 impis retreat beyond where I can reach them safely, which bugs me. The army rests and no attacks are made on Zimbabwe. I also take up the Egyptian offer and gain a couple more slaves.

    The waves are over and no attacks come. Southeast Island is getting better patrolled and the Japanese are back to attacking Oka (on Iron Island). Mongols are landing 2 units every other turn on Home Island and dying like flies. Cathedrals are starting to complete.

    Cats go 4-for-10 against Zim, but there's an unwounded showing. I kill him and his buddy with one loss on my side, still unwounded showing. That's 10 impis so far in Zimbabwe.

    Egyptians find 4 fast units and attack Onnontare. Two die and two retreat. Zulu longbow attacks army stack (pike on top) and dies.

    1040 is a banner year. My 'pults go 6 for 10 and wounded impis are showing on top of Zimbabwe. I kill one and another with the army. MDI kills one. Sword kills 2/4 impi. Archer kills 2/4 impi. Archer dies to 1/4 impi. Pike (all I had left) kills 1/4 impi. And Zimbabwe burns to the ground. The Colossus this far corrupted isn't worth it...and I probably couldn't maintain the forces necessary to prevent a flip. But there's proximity with Onnontare issues, too. Safer/easier to just raze it. I had to kill 17 impi to take Zimbabwe, though. That foreshadows a titanic struggle to get Egyptian cities. Ulundi, OTOH, should be easier, as it has no wonders and most units will have moved to Zimbabwe.

    A couple Egyptians unit are around, too. I kill the spear no problem, but my 5/5 archer dies to his 2/4 one. My second 5/5 archer wins and...Sitting Bull! Four armies now...three of them empty. Time to get them back to the mainland. I kill a fourth Egyptian unit, too.

    The Zulu reply by trying to send a warrior/impi/settler trio to refound the city. Typical AI boneheadedness.

    I spend the years after Zimbabwe's fall upgrading 11 catapults (a new one just arrived) to trebuchets, garnering not only the Zulu slaves but also a couple more Egyptians (they LOVE landing on the western East Island and my MWs just mow 'em down).

    The Zulu seek to emulate their Egyptian friends and land a slave-party on the eastern East Island, which I had partially denuded to get troops to Southeast Island (which is now city-free and I have some MWs roaming after a Japanese archer/spear pair).

    In 1060, I kill those Mongols. And, in the destruction of the interminable Mongol landings, I get another MGL. The other armies are almost here and I'm not sure what to do with those. Make another? No...I rush the Pentagon. A fourth unit in the army might be helpful for cracking some cities. Good option to have around anyway.

    Enough cathedrals have finished that I can turn lux down to 20%. It still requires a few specialists here and there, but if the city is already making 20 spt or 10 spt, I don't care that much. It nets me another approximately 20 gpt.

    1070 is a year of movement, mostly towards Ulundi and picking up scattered units on the suddenly fluid Egyptian front. I have a few more casualties now that I'm moving forward, but it's one or two units every couple turns, at most.

    It's also AI movement. I see an American ship near North Island. They can now reach me. Maybe they'll just drop off a bunch of MGL fodder. North Island was also recently denuded for the Egypt/Zulu front and the cathedral rush, so I'll have to do a bit to prepare a proper welcoming party. For this game, that means I might attack a defense one unit at full hps instead of one bombed down to one hp.

    It's also a banner year for the Great Library. Not one but two scrolls are found. Theology and Invention both appear. And the Egyptians start Leonardo's Workshop in Thebes. That means only 3 units/turn to "keep up" and that I definitely want to capture Thebes if I can manage to take it last. No sense in starting my own build of Leo then.

    1080 lets the second part of the MDI/MW elite pair on Main Island generate a leader. Now to upgrade the MW to a knight and let him try again! I guess it's YAEA Yet Another Empty Army. I need a plan for these guys. Too interested in Ulundi right now, though.

    Americans do drop off on North Island - two warriors and two horsemen (a second ship was hiding in the fog). No worries.

    In 1090, I can kill 3 if those 4 units easily with swords/MDI/MWs on hand on North Island. I do so. I just didn't have proper bombardment first. And now all my good units on North Island are clumped. And I have to hire a specialist in a couple towns to keep the peace. But it's OK.

    More interestingly, trebuchets go 5-for-11 against Ulundi and I kill the 3 defending impis and the longbow and capture the city! That eliminates the Zulu!!!! Oh, and then I eliminate a half-dozen or so random Egyptian units that had appeared.

    One foe down, 6 to go!!!
     

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  18. t3h_m013

    t3h_m013 Prince

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    just asking have you decided what victory your aiming for? souds like domination...
     
  19. anarres

    anarres anarchist revolutionary

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    Wow. Congrats on taking out the Zulu!

    I am a little suprised to see you rush the Pentagon and not the HE. After all, you can't put 4 units in an army and then transport it until Transports, and the HE would reap benifits immediately.
     
  20. Arathorn

    Arathorn Catan player

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    I built the HE a LONG time ago -- right after the first army win. It's only 200 shields, so Salamanca cranked it out in about 10 turns. That was very high on the priority list -- so high it didn't wait for a MGL to rush.

    A fourth unit in an army will happen if/when I get them on an AI's main island. It'll be worth it then to simply deter attacks even more. Plus, it makes it a bit safer to take out the occasional unit fortified on a resource or on a choke so that the whole island can be pillaged. I just need Astronomy.

    I have some plans, but they're still nebulous, for the next 30-80 turns. As for victory, I'll be happy with any, but I think Domination is the most likely.

    Arathorn
     

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