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Immortal Dutch Domination - REX/Spy Fusion

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Stories & Tales' started by axident, Aug 27, 2007.

  1. axident

    axident Emperor

    Jan 30, 2005
    Hmm I can't do it with the storyline, but what I can do is to insert some gamespeak stuff in between some of the screenshots. But some of the screenshots speak for themselves. :) Glad you like it!

    P.S. It's killing me that Rotterdam should be 1 north of where it is, but I was so excited to find copper and gems that I settled it immediately without seeing, as I did later on, how much better it would be to go 1 north. I wanted to monopolize gems on my continent but it just hurt me; and I didn't even monopolize gems. Argh. This is what happens when you don't have enough scouts early on. ;)
  2. axident

    axident Emperor

    Jan 30, 2005
    By the way I took the advice of posters Guardian_PL and Killroyan and settled the city east of Amsterdam. See? I do listen to advice!

    Anyway, currently I have played up to Democracy; if you have any suggestions, make them now, because I plan to play a long stretch of the game after Democracy until the conclusion of the first major war.
  3. axident

    axident Emperor

    Jan 30, 2005
    So far we have one guy saying he likes s/s then writeup, and another guy saying he likes writeups inserted in-between s/s's. Haha. I'm trying to do both by writing the main storyline and letting the s/s's speak for themselves, but I'll also try to write up some of the s/s's in the future to keep both of you happy!

    I'm not worried about GArtist contamination in Amsterdam, as I don't mind a few of them for Golden Age fodder.

    The big knock on obs's threads is that he tends to start off on floodplains gold, next to stone, or something crazy like that. It's just crazy and unreliable. Whereas this peaceful-REXing-spying strategy is fairly robust; I've used it with all sorts of starting locations and with all sorts of leaders. As long as one of the traits is Org or Fin to cope with the maintenance, and as long as you chop the GrWall to prevent its theft, you're golden.

    In this game in particular: I do not have that early Stone luxury, nor am I Industrious, nor did I even know I had marble anywhere near me until somewhat late in the game for Oracle (which I did win, as Capac was apparently busy with the GrLighthouse instead). Without stone I can't justify building the Pyramids the usual way. I did pop a GrEngineer later but I settled him because I knew I would need to go through THREE wonders and not just one, all within a short amount of time: Mausoleum, Parth, GrLibrary. (Also I am not sure Pyramids was even available by the time the GrEngineer spawned.)

    Parth is optional, the others aren't. Pyramids is nice but I don't even have that many GPs since spies will go to Infiltrate, GArtist for Golden Age, and without stone for Angkor Wat priests lose some luster. Also note that I don't have that many prophet/engineer GP sources anyway.

    UncleJJ once noted that Pyramids doesn't even add that many beakers early on unless you have a LOT of specialists, meaning a pure SE. For CE/HE like this game, Pyramids is good but overrated in that regard. Perhaps its biggest benefit at higher difficulty levels with CE/HE is ironically the +3 happy to your biggest cities and not that +3 beakers/specialist.
  4. Guardian_PL

    Guardian_PL Emperor

    Nov 4, 2006
    Thanks for allowing to take part in Your challenge. Ah, and I'm just Guardian. _PL thing is because Guardian username was already taken.

    Now, I don't get that explaining "I can't justify building Pyramids..." etc. Really, You don't need to build 90% of wonders, like You rightly wrote it's not an obsolete game with insane starting location and You're not Industrious. Good job, don't get discouraged and continue updating Your story :goodjob:
  5. axident

    axident Emperor

    Jan 30, 2005

    “I had no choice, Willem. Everybody but Gilgamesh already knew about Calendar. We had to give up something in order to get it fast enough to give us a good shot at the Mausoleum.”

    “Yes, but Currency?”

    “It was either that or Code of Laws or Metal Casting. We wouldn’t want our chums to start building courthouses and hindering our spying now, would we? Nor would we want them to build forges and swarm us with their armies.”

    “I suppose you’re right. And it’s good that at least Gilgamesh did not have Calendar, so basically we traded Currency for both Calendar and Monarchy. King Willem. I like the sound of that.”

    “Well don’t get too attached to it, sir, because you’re still Dictator. We aren’t far from Aesthetics, Literature, and Music. Capac already has Aesthetics and thus we are in a real dogfight for the Parthenon and Great Library. Music’s golden age will have to wait. We’ll crown you king at that time.”

    “By the way, what about agent 001? I know he could not steal Calendar faster than we could trade for it, but did we ever track him down?”

    “We reestablished contact after some postal miscommunication. He is en route even as we speak.”

    “Back here?”

    “Yes, back here. With a forgemaster in tow, along with several blacksmith tools and a clamshell with details about the ironmaking process. He indicates that it is made from materials that we always knew about, but did not know the purpose of, near Middelburg and on top of the East Fort hilltop a bit east of Amsterdam.”

    “Excellent! Our southern cities have had no luck in beating back the jungle with bronze axes; perhaps iron axes will work better.”

    “One more thing, sire.”


    “The Scythians have iron as well. There is not a lot of metal among our rivals. We would do well to wrest that iron away from the savages and our rivals, maintaining our edge in metals--no pun intended--all the way into the Iron age. ”

    “What would conquering Scythia require?”

    “Scythia’s main city is a fortress on a hilltop. Several swordsmen could probably do the job, though our rivals have constructed wooden siege engines that might make the job easier.”

    “Do it then. When Rotterdam is finished building Hindu temples and monasteries and a library to protect our borders, have it and The Hague build a task force large enough that failing to take the city would be impossible. Also, have agent 002 from Rotterdam go and see what he can find out about those Incan siege engines. Both agents should keep going back to steal more things from Inca the moment they come back from any successful missions. No rest for the weary! Any word from Tromp?”

    “He’s discovered a large island that could support perhaps two or three major cities, just northeast of Amsterdam. There is not much there to be had except horses and seafood, but it may be worthwhile to settle it just to prevent a Cuban Missile Crisis type of situation where a rival gets a foothold on a nearby island from which it can launch a surprise attack.”

    “What is a 'Cuban Missile Crisis?'”

    “Interplanetary thing.”

    “As usual.”
  6. axident

    axident Emperor

    Jan 30, 2005

    Agent 002 is training in Rotterdam. (81) (Numbers in parentheses correspond to screenshot numbers.)

    We need that Calendar ASAP before someone beats us to the Mausoleum. So we reluctantly traded away Currency to some rivals for cash and Calendar. Fortunately, the last-place Sumerians don’t even have Calendar so we trade it to them for Monarchy. (83)

    Aesthetics unlocks Parthenon. Inca already has Aesthetics but are probably busy with Apostolic Palace, so we will try to steal Parth as soon as we’re done with the Mausoleum. (84)

    Inca’s Capac is taking his sweet time with the Palace, but we know it’s his since he’s Industrious and has a deathgrip on Theology. So we’re already building Hindu buildings in our cities to get the AP +hammer bonus since we recently switched to Hinduism precisely because of the AP. (92)

    Take a hike, Wang. Closing borders and such will only increase our espionage costs as trade routes disappear. That’s a no-no. (93)

  7. axident

    axident Emperor

    Jan 30, 2005

    Agent 001 kidnaps the Incan forgemaster and returns to Amsterdam! (98)

    It is interesting to note that nobody else has copper yet (see resource trade s/s above), but that doesn’t mean that we can just run them over. Dog Soldiers cream melee units on the open field, and seemingly everybody else has mounted units, and everyone else, except Inca, is Protective. With the discovery of iron deposits, we see that we have 2 out of 3 visible iron deposits. Scythia is a must-have in order to deny our rivals iron as well. (101)

    Music’s golden age will break open a tight tech race. We are roughly equal to everyone except Inca when it comes to tech, and our spies are already beginning to steal techs, which will free up our own scientists to research stuff that the AI takes longer to get to. So the Incans can research stuff on the lower half of the tech tree while we press on towards Music and some other off-the-beaten-track stuff. (103)

    That goodie hut on Long Island looks tempting. (105)

    We have a temporary monopoly on Literature so Great Library is safe for now as we try to work through the Mausoleum and Parthenon with marble and Organized Religion and Forge all helping out. Maus is so important and Calendar has been around so long that we whip it the rest of the way home just to be sure that nobody else gets it. Amsterdam is already over the happy cap, anyway, and it will quickly regrow as it builds Parth and Great Library. (107)
  8. Killroyan

    Killroyan Deity

    Apr 10, 2006
    Where are all the workers???? You can have dyes, spices, silk and gems online. That means a lot more happy (amsterdam can grow like mad) and commerce. Also food resources aren't developped yet. Again pig/fish/iron city is now even more golden. Maoi statues there will give you a very good city. And that barb city is just too juicy to pass up. Cows/iron/2 sugar. Damn nice land but it needs development.

    Maastricht is for example building a library but needs a worker badly. I know you want the lib in advance because it will be a commerce heaven. I might be a little too soon with this but it hurts to see so many resources not used yet. Then again this is immortal and I am just a lowly monarch player. But with the wheat worked you can whip a lot faster and this city will be whipped a lot with its low production so you need all the food you can get.

    Is there a reason not to chop in Amsterdam? The grassland hill could use a mine. Extra hammers and no downside since you are already high on health.

    Damn interesting game so far. I am really looking forward to 007. That should be a superspy that never fails.
  9. Meuh

    Meuh Chieftain

    Nov 20, 2006

    Thanks for the time you spend to present your thread. I am not posting much but I am just starting immortal games as my emperor one are getting fine by now.

    In my immortals games, all others civs are far more advanced than in yours !

    Great wall done in 1400 BC, Oracle in 1080 ? Even in my emperor game I would consider to be lucky to pull that out.

    I saw in your trade window and it seems that noone got feudalism at 300 AD ? even capac is without Alphabet at 200 AD :crazyeye:

    Just curious, which patch / mods do you use ?

    Because your opponents are really far behind, I would say around monarch level o_O. Is it because of the custom game ?

  10. axident

    axident Emperor

    Jan 30, 2005
    You are absolutely right.. expect a flood of workers next update or so! I think the worker dearth is a consequence of complacence due to having to replay at an abrupt junction and not counting up exactly how many workers I had; in the original run, I spammed a ton of workers by this point, which had left me with a major surplus of workers later on. I too lament how long I left Amsterdam unchopped, don't worry though it will eventually get there when the worker floodgates open.

    Hey give Agents 001-006 some credit, maybe 007 won't even be necessary! ;)
  11. axident

    axident Emperor

    Jan 30, 2005
    Welcome to the thread! I hope that people learn a few new tricks from this thread and that I do as well. The synergy between Org or Financial trait + REXing + spying should be abundantly clear in after a few more updates, as all those beakers/commerce we lost in REXing are more than made up for by spying!

    Regarding wonders:

    The AI apparently went after Stonehenge first, and the only stone-powered AI on Colossia appears to be Korean. I don't think it's that late for GrWall, though a stone-powered Inca beeline towards it might have beaten us.

    I'm still laughing about getting Oracle. In truth we might have been better off without it. Failing Oracle would not be that bad, as it would mean gold to boost research (and twice as much gold as normal, due to the marble boost) + less early-GP contamination + earlier start to Temple of Artemis for big trade boost and GP in capital (with less contamination as it comes later than Oracle). (As you can see, we built our first regular spy long after our first GrSpy infiltrated, so it's not like the extra speed boost in GP generation from Oracle really mattered.) Our trade-stingy policy means it's not as if we would trade around Metal Casting for other techs, anyway. And as pointed out by Kill, we were busy with extremely basic stuff like worker and settler and granary builds so it's not like we built many forges until a long time after Metal Casting, anyway.

    Regarding tech pace:

    I'm not sure I appreciate your implication that I cheated/modded the game to play at Monarch level. What purpose would that serve? I also think it's rather small-minded to look at tech rates by hard dates, especially given different strategies. Perhaps if you do a SE/bulb/trade economy, it would be slow, but I prefer a grind-it-out, don't-trade-if-unnecessary approach and using spies, not bulbed techs, to backfill.

    Nevertheless I'm glad you commented about the tech trading, because I think it's important to talk about it. I'm not sure why the tech pace is relatively tame, but I think it's a consequence of my refusing to lightbulb-and-trade, or even trade very much; it slows everyone down. Also, there are 2 civs that are apparently not on this continent so that slows down the tech-trading even more. Plus I intentionally avoided CoL to try to get everyone on my continent religiously divided, and that's probably slowed down tech trading as well. Also, the tech pace is a bit slower in BtS due to the AI often having more than 0% of slider towards Espionage. Lastly, and this may not be readily apparent, but for some reason it took eons for Inca to build the Hindu holy city so they are trailing and in this particular game Korea wound up being tech leader. I think Snaaty so far is the only other player I've seen who shares my philosophy of "it's better to slow everyone down on higher difficulty levels than to try to outtech them."

    I understand that many players do the whole SE economy + tech trading thing and think that they get such a big advantage by trading techs twice or more times, but you really don't get THAT much of an advantage on higher difficulty levels (most of the time) because it accelerates the overall tech pace, forcing you to bulb and trade more just to keep up, etc. You also tend to miss more wonders that way, as you can lightbulb techs but unless you blow just as many GE's on rush-building wonders, your production pace simply can't keep up with that kind of tech pace.

    By the way, it's not as if we're doing that hot in the tech race either, as Colossus+Financial is merely preventing a REX-induced economic collapse and isn't exactly helping us self-research our way to a big advantage. However, we are only at the very beginning stages of stealing techs... but the floodgates are opened now that we have Agent 001 (and a Music-powered Mausoleum-extended Golden Age soon), and you might be surprised by what kinds of things we will steal later!

    In other words, BtS opens up new strategies other than the traditional lightbulb-and-tech trade and wonderspam routes that are so popular on higher difficulty levels. The espionage option means that you now have a way to catch up in tech sometime after Alphabet, so you can now afford to REX without sacrificing the tech lead--or even that many wonders, if you REALLY want to wonderspam. Ultimately what this means is that the old SE/lightbulb/tech trading style is no longer necessarily the strongest option, though it is definitely still viable. A lot of people, including myself, first thought that oh, spying is okay but it means that you will never be tech leader. That is just bogus because the AI still prioritizes the lower half of the tech tree, allowing the human player to prioritize the top half (including the awesome Music) and stealing to keep pace with the AI's half of the tech tree.

    I will keep track of exactly which techs our brave Agents steal and you can do the math as to whether Great Spies + spies or Great Scientists generate more beakers (early on, anyway). Though admittedly spies cost hammers as well, during a time when hammers matter more, and they also fail sometimes.

    This game is entirely NOT modded, it's 3.02 and as default-like as possible, with all defaults on, no reloading or other cheating, as I stated in post 1 of this thread (complete with savegame file at 4000 BC). The only exception is Low Sea Levels which if anything actually hurts the Dutch, which are Financial and get water-oriented UU/UB. I did that since I prefer bigger maps but my computer can't handle it, so Standard Size/Low Sea Level is a compromise. Heck I don't even like Big and Small that much but it seems to be the most popular BtS map so I played it anyway! :) It's also on Normal speed so there are no wargaming advantages from the increased movement at Epic/Marathon speed.

    By the way, see the first post for a 4000 BC save of this game if you want to play the way you usually do, and then compare your progress to mine in a shadow game. It'd be interesting to see how a SE/bulb/trade economy would do and to see if using such a strategy would conform to your expectations of what the tech rate ought to be like. You'd be on the honor system to pretend you don't know what the map looks like or something, of course. :)
  12. axident

    axident Emperor

    Jan 30, 2005
    It is a clear, cloudless night. Somewhere on the outskirts of Amsterdam, there is a Native American camp. Two men and their bodyguards are sitting around a campfire...

    “Your gold or your life.”

    “Yes I know. You’ve said that for the third time during this meal already, King Sitting Bull.”

    “Willem. You have spare gold ore! Lots of it! We have none. Is that fair? Is that just? Agree to our demands, or prepare to fight.”

    “We shall do it, then, for our, um, friends, the Native Americans.”

    “Fair enough, we shall see you across the battlefield the first thing in the morning.”

    “I said YES.”

    “Oh, sorry. I just did not expect you to cave in so easily. Also, nobody on Colossia has started a war yet, and we thought we could be, you know... pace setters. Very well, we await your shipments of gold ore as tribute from the cowardly Dutch to the mighty Native Americans.”

    “There’s no need to rub the salt in,” Willem rolls his eyes in disgust.

    “By the way, Willem, a Sumerian messenger has just arrived at our camp. Here he comes now.”

    “Greetings. I am looking for Dictator Willem van Oranje.”

    “That’s me.”

    “Ah, very well,” the Sumerian messenger dismounts. He is a short, squat, swarthy lad wearing cowhide and a smirk. “Gilgamesh would like us to chat about your code of laws. You have a code of laws. We want one, but all we have is a giant army instead. What is your response?”

    “Boy when it rains it pours,” Willem mumbles.

    “What?” the messenger asks.

    “The cowardly Dutch shall give the mighty Sumerians the secrets of our code of laws, yadda, yadda,” Willem sighs.

    The messenger and King Sitting Bull look at each other and start to snicker.

    “One of these days, the tables will be turned,” Willem mutters underneath his breath. “Oh say, King Sitting Bull, how would you like to purchase our Dutch code of laws for the bargain price of 210 talents of gold?”

    “Why don’t we just demand it from you like we did the gold ore?”

    “You can’t, we already agreed to your gold ore demands.”


    “The Almighty One forbids further threats for a certain amount of time after successful ones are carried out.”

    “Curses! Foiled again! Okay, paleface, 210 talents of gold for your code of laws. After all, we’re about to get tons of gold ore back anyway!”


    “What a bunch of bullies! Anything happen while I was away, Chris?” Willem asks as he enters the royal Amsterdam palace’s gates.

    “Well, we relieved many of our noblemen of their slaves and sent them to painful deaths to finish the Mausoleum. It’s kind of ironic if you think about it.”

    “But it’s complete?”

    “Yes sir. Heck, we even have some spare parts from the Mausoleum that we are using in our construction of the Parthenon.”

    “Well I suppose that’s good news.” Willem furrows his brow.

    “What’s the matter sir? You look worried.”

    “Get Tromp.”

    “I’m already here!” Tromp yells across the courtyard.

    “Tromp, we have problems when two of our neighbors threaten us. For crying out loud, when even Sumer, with the smallest non-Dutch army on Colossia, feels capable of threatening you, you know you have problems! Sitting Bull and Gilgamesh demanded and got gold ore and our code of laws. I had no choice.”

    Maarten looks horrified. “Sir! They are heathens! And smell! So you declared war then? Let’s get this war started!”

    “Actually I caved into their demands like a weak coward.”

    “I’m sure it’s just part of your master plan, sir! We’ll lull them into a false sense of security, and then...” Maarten motions with his hand as if to slit his throat.

    “Actually we just need to stall right now, Maarten, until our domestic investments start paying dividends and we start to outproduce our rivals. Whatever happened to our military, anyway? I thought we were keeping pace with Sumer, which was itself sort of keeping pace with everyone else.”

    “We built the odd spearman or archer or axeman division in Rotterdam or The Hague. But we have not historically had a concerted effort at building an army.”

    “So? We used to at least keep up with Sumer. What happened? Why has the Dutch army turned into the laughingstock of our continent?”

    “Well, Rotterdam is our military city, but it has been painful to develop anything there, with all that jungle in the way, and it’s been delayed by the incessant push of Native American culture. Our officials there are doing their best to convert Native American migrants to the Hindu way. The Hague is not even supposed to be training any armies, but it is an odd combination of productive hills, towns, and seafood and is probably our most highly-developed city after Amsterdam. Thus it has almost nothing left to build of any value at the moment, so it should be available to help train troops while Rotterdam builds up. We were going to do so anyway for the invasion of Scythia. Should we accelerate our plans?”

    “No, no. But have the new divisions mass south and invade Scythia to take their iron. A successful invasion should demonstrate to our rivals that we have a genuine army and are not to be trifled with.”

    “Yes sir. By the way, Agent 002 has returned with detailed documents describing the manufacture of everything from war elephant armor to bridge building to wooden siege engines.”

    “Excellent! Maarten, give that man a medal!”

    “Uh, your majesty, you ordered that we send all our spies immediately back into the field after successfully completing missions. Actually, now I think I know why we are having such difficulty finding new spy recruits.”

    “No success, no medals. Success, and you’re sent right back into the field. Why do I get the feeling that all of our spies will only be awarded posthumously?” Chris smirks.

    “Maarten, have The Hague or Rotterdam build some of those siege engines if they would be helpful in our Scythian campaign.”

    “Yes your majesty.”

    “Chris, in the meantime, sell the our code of laws to the Incans, since everybody else has it already. And focus our entire espionage efforts on Inca from now on; we have precious few resources, and I don’t want them scattered all over the place, not when everybody has code of laws and courthouses now, including the Incans. Focus on Inca.”

    “Very well. But what’s the minimum we should sell our code of laws for?”

    “No minimum, just sell it before our rivals beat us to it.”

    “By the way, Willem,” Chris starts hesitantly. “I hope you don’t mind my saying, but you really seem to be taking charge for once! You’re almost like, well, the Willem I used to know!”

    “I don’t take things so lightly now, Chris,” Willem says. “I’ve given up pot. Also, try some of this stuff that I brought back with me from my meeting with King Sitting Bull. It’s made from grapes, which apparently nobody bothers to cultivate if there are no kings around. Anyway, they call the drink ‘firewater.’”
  13. axident

    axident Emperor

    Jan 30, 2005

    While Native American dog soldiers (axemen that are strength 8 against other melee units, but a lame strength 4 against everything else) can’t actually capture any of our cities if we whip a few archers in them, they can pillage like crazy. We don’t want to risk a Native American pillagefest over something as dinky as spare gold resources, so we just give them the gold resource and get a +1 diplo bonus as well as 10 turns of guaranteed peace. (109)

    Sumer has strong UUs (strength 6 axemen that get only +25% against melee), and even if they also couldn’t capture any of our cities, they could probably pillage us with mounted and other units and encourage others to dogpile us. We don’t want that. Heck, we don’t even have a monopoly on CoL anyway; Korea got to it first to found Confucianism. So we will give CoL to Sumer and look around to trade/sell it to others on the same turn.

    Lately our power rating has been slipping, so as soon as Rotterdam finishes its +hammer bonus religious buildings and culture-boosting library, it will start on barracks and start cranking troops. The Hague, despite being a commerce city, was founded earlier than Rotterdam and through whipping has already finished its key buildings; it will now make some troops for the invasion of Scythia while waiting for Rotterdam to supply the remainder of the invasion force.

    Agent 002 nicks Construction from Inca. The Great Wall’s Great Spy is the gift that keeps on giving. However, the early spread of Code of Laws means that others such as Inca will spam courthouses soon. So we weight 100% of our espionage against Inca to keep our theft costs down. (123)

    2 turns away from Music. We lost our Literature monopoly so we want that Golden Age soon to speed up Parthenon construction so that we can work on the Great Library itself. (127)
  14. Killroyan

    Killroyan Deity

    Apr 10, 2006
    Looking good. Parthenon almost ready (why again are you pursuing this one?). Golden age coming up and then maybe nicking the great library. Still so many resources not worked but it was a short round. Next round is going to prove interesting and 002 did a great job!!! I suspect a very interesting next round (conquering of the barb city, resources online, lots of wonders apparantly). Rotterdam definitely needs a worker. It should have been working the gem hill all the time instead of a grassland mine. 7 commerce versus 1 hammer is no contest. Good luck.
  15. axident

    axident Emperor

    Jan 30, 2005
    Parth to deny it to Inca and for the surge in our own Great Person generation rate. Parth has been around for a while longer than GrLibrary, so Parth is at greater risk of losing.

    Also AP is taking forever to build so it's a good bet that Inca is preoccupied right now and won't nick GrL. Lit + forge + Marble + Golden Age + settled GE + Org Religion in a productive capital like Amsterdam is a tremendous combo and there is no realistic threat for anyone else to get GrLibrary unless they blow a GE, but even then they'd need to have Literature, which few civs (Inca, Korea, and us) have right now, AND they'd have to totally ignore the other stuff that came before GrL (S. Paya, Statue of Zeus, etc.).

    GrL will also get Bureaucracy to help it along, and a whip if it comes down to that, but we should have enough hammers to complete it rapidly without whipping. I hate whipping during Golden Ages since each living citizen becomes more productive than normal during the GA.

    Yeah I know, I know, the workers thing. I just remembered having too many workers the first time around and assumed that I had already built a ton of them when I replayed the game. But I didn't bother actually counting the workers for a while before realizing what you said--that we need a LOT more workers! :blush:
  16. axident

    axident Emperor

    Jan 30, 2005
    The cast:

    Left to right: Christiaan Huygens (science advisor and real-life Dutch scientist), Maarten Tromp (military advisor and real-life Dutch admiral), Willem van Oranje (real-life Dutch Father of the Fatherland), and Ilse Huizinga (domestic and cultural advisor and real-life Dutch jazz singer).


    It is a clear, sunny day in Amsterdam. Willem is conversing with Maarten and Chris about the imminent invasion of Scythia when all three of them look up, cock their ears, and try to identify the source and substance of a strange sound.

    “What’s that sound?” Willem asks Maarten and Christiaan.

    “A nobleman’s daughter has discovered something delightful, sir,” Christiaan grins. “She spent a lot of time in her youth banging on different sizes of clamshells, and she has discovered music!”

    “What’s music?” Maarten asks.

    “Here she comes now! We should make ourselves presentable, sir!” Chris exclaims as he hurriedly combs his hair. Willem follows suit.

    “What? What are you trying to say, that I’m not usually presentable?” Maarten snorts. “And only sissies carry combs around with them in their--wow, Chris, you carry a PURSE?” Maarten cackles.

    As the doors to the royal throne room open to admit the noblewoman, though, Maarten stiffens. “Chris, my bald spot isn’t showing, right?” Maarten whispers.

    “Not at all!” Chris lies, suppressing a giggle. The three men watch in awe as the beautiful woman with long golden hair and bright eyes approaches, wearing an elegant blue dress and making strange but pleasurable sounds with her voice.

    “Your majesty, and honorable and kind sirs, I am humbled to be in your presence. My name is Ilse Huizinga, daughter of Duke Huizinga of Nijmegen.” As Ilse bows deeply, the men strain to get a good look at her cleavage and spring back as she rises again.

    “Ah yes, I know your father,” Willem smiles. “Good man. I did not know his daughter was so lovely. He says you have a gift. You apparently pound clamshells well.”

    Ilse blushes. “That is so, your highness. I do play the drum-clams. I also sing.”

    “Sing?” Willem asks, puzzled. “Ah yes, sings. Sings. Um. Could you, ah, refresh my memory as to what that means,” he quickly adds awkwardly. “Because I already know, of course. I mean, what kind of king doesn’t know what a sing is? Not this one!”

    Ilse smiles and enraptures her audience for several minutes with an a capella rendition of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, the most complex song of its time. Ilse bows and says, simply, "singing."

    “Bravo, bravo!” Willem, Maarten, and Chris shout, clapping their hands.

    “See, you can make music too, the music of clapping,” Ilse giggles.

    “I say, this is extraordinary. I don’t know how this could have escaped me before,” Chris says, approaching Ilse. “After all, my mathematics would predict certain resonant frequencies and that--”

    “Take it elsewhere, nerd-boy, Ilse doesn’t want to hear your nonsensical blubberings,” Maarten snorts as he elbows Chris out of the way. “Now, milady, would you be interested in swinging with me on my boat, after dinner tonight?”

    “You weren’t even paying attention!” Chris snorts indignantly, hands on his hips. “It’s called ‘singing’ you violent ape, not ‘swinging.’”

    “Now now, gentlemen, play nice,” Willem says. “Ilse, my dear, I apologize for these gentlemen’s behaviors. It’s just that in their professions, they do not often encounter someone of your beauty and grace.”

    “Not true,” Maarten sniffs. “I meet women all time. Sissy, I mean, Chrissy, over there, might have a harder time meeting women since he LOOKS like a woman,” Maarten chortles. Chris's jaw drops.

    “You're just jealous that I still have my hair, unlike some people,” Chris retorts indignantly. “And furthermore, the Trompest in a Teapot is part of the navy, not your private pleasure craft!”

    “Oh sure, I am so very jealous of an alleged man who has more hair than three normal women--combined!”

    Willem ignores his comrades and continues, “Thank you, Ilse, for your beautiful gift of music. Such a lovely sound could only come from equally lovely lips. I would like for you and your family to dine with my royal court this weekend. How about it? Would you like to swing with me? I mean, um, sing, with me?”

    Ilse blushes. “It would be an honor, milord.”

    “Sometimes it’s good to be king and not an underling,” Chris mutters, rolling his eyes and smirking at Willem until Willem makes eye contact and raises an eyebrow. Chris takes an immediate and extreme interest in the color of a ceiling tile.

    “Furthermore,” Willem says as he looks away from Chris and Maarten and back to Ilse’s bosom, “we might need to hire more help and to create a larger bureaucracy to administer our royal affairs, and I want you to be in it.”

    “You want me to be in your affairs?” Ilse asks innocently.

    Willem grins, “I want you to be in my bureaucracy, dear. I would like you to take some of the burden off Chris so that he may devote more time to scientific pursuits. I would like you, Ilse of Nijmegen, to take care of cultural matters, and for you and Chris to share domestic advisor duties.”

    “Score!” Chris yelps, elbowing Maarten, who rolls his eyes.

    “Lastly,” Willem continues, ignoring Chris, “I want to erect a massive and obnoxiously cultural cathedral in your home town of Nijmegen, Ilse. We shall call it the Sistine Chapel. That ought to show those Incan heathens who is more cultured!”

    “Did he just say the ‘sissy chapel’?” Maarten whispers to Chris.

    “Sistine, you macho moron,” Chris whispers back. “And somehow I suspect that Willem intends to make more erections for Ilse later on.”

    “What’s a Sistine?” Maarten whispers.

    Chris opens his mouth, only to realize the he doesn’t know either. He looks at Maarten and shrugs. “Say, shouldn’t you be sending a scouting party to Long Island, that long island northeast of Amsterdam? Hop to it!”


    The year is 520 AD.

    Dutch sailors from Maastricht have found that local turtles and turtle eggs make good eating. Wang Xizhi, an immigrant from a faraway land, has started a calligraphy school in Amsterdam and triggered the first Dutch golden age. Nijmegen has almost started construction on the Sistine Chapel. Amsterdam engineers have nearly finished the Parthenon and are getting ready to speedily build the Great Library, assisted by the massive shipments of marble from The Hague, the local forges, local engineering legend Alexander Graham Bell (who long ago settled down in Amsterdam), organized and fanatic Hindu workers grateful to be living in an golden age, and the spare parts lying around as overflow from previous marble construction projects. Further organization and bureaucracy is on the horizon and will accelerate the already frantic economic activity in Amsterdam and throughout the Dutch kingdom.

    Meanwhile, The Hague and Rotterdam are training grounds for a growing Dutch army packed with swordsmen, catapults, and axemen. The bulk of this army is massing near the isthmus of Scythia in preparation for a direct assault into the barbarian heartland.

    100 years later, word breaks out across Colossia that Inca, the cradle of the Hindu religion that now permeates all of Dutch society, is also now home to the Hindu Apolostic Palace.

    The goings-on in the Palace are secretive, and Willem is both curious and worried about what Huayna Capac and Sitting Bull will have to say as he dismounts and walks into the Palace...

    “I’m glad you could join us,” Capac says warmly as Willem walks in. “Sitting Bull is already here. Please, make yourself comfortable.” Capac gestures to the massive bathhouse complex around them, and at the bath specifically.

    “What am I even doing here?” Sitting Bull snorts as he relaxes in worshipper-funded opulence. “I have what, one city that has any significant Hindu population.”

    “Yeah, what IS he doing here?” Willem asks as he disrobes and slips into the bath.

    “Bull, you deserve a place at the table, as one Hindu city is one more than Wang Kon and Gilgamesh have.”

    “So what do we do now?” Bull asks Capac.

    “We vote. We vote on who shall lead the Hindu world, and he shall be resident of the Palace and set the agenda for our future meetings.” Capac gives his companions a writing-clam each.

    “That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard,” Sitting Bull says.

    “If you do not follow the vote, your Hindu cities’ citizens shall be very upset with you,” Capac cautions. “Time to vote.”

    “Why can’t I selectively whip all the Hindus out of my nation?” Bull grumbles.

    Willem and Sitting Bull glumly scratch their votes onto clamshells and hand them to Capac.

    Capac does a few tallies, furrowing his brow. Then he smiles and says, “I’m leader! Then again, I SHOULD be leader. The Hindu hordes of Inca give me, oh let’s see, 84 votes. 80 for you Willem, too bad my lad. 2 for BS there.”

    “That’s SB, for Sitting Bull, not BS, you fool.”

    “Did we each vote for ourselves then? This is totally rigged!” Willem sniffs.

    “Actually Bull sat this one out and didn’t vote at all, he abstained. And proportional voting can hardly be called rigged.”

    “Oh brother, how democratic is this? Maybe we Dutch should start encouraging overpopulation just to overtake you in votes.”

    “Do your worst, Billy boy. And it IS democratic, literally.”

    “Wait, what are we fighting for, Huayna? You are my Hindu soul-brother, after all.”

    “And don’t you forget it, soul-brother Willem. Come over here, it’s Hindu Hug time!” Capac shouts with joy.

    “Hey, wait, what are you Hindu heathens doing?” Bull asks. “Are you--ew. THAT’s the ‘Hindu Hug’? How revolting. Thank goodness I'm Jewish!”
  17. axident

    axident Emperor

    Jan 30, 2005

    CivService is the best choice during the beginning stages of Music’s golden age, as Bureaucracy dramatically boosts commercial and hammer output in our capital (just in time to race through to the Great Library), and we can switch civics to Bureaucracy without anarchy during golden ages. (129)

    Maastricht, a commerce city, receives an unneeded but welcome food boost from turtles. Them’s good eatin’ them turtles are! (130)

    We barely get to know our Great Artist when we burn him for a Golden Age. (131)

    Sumer has a power spike, but Gilgamesh has empty hands anyway so he’s not preparing for war. A screenshot or two below, you can see that many civs are spiking due to the discovery/trading of Feudalism and the subsequent archer-to-longbow upgrade spree. (133)

    Amsterdam is already overburdened with wonder production, so some other city needs to make Sistine Chapel. It can take its sweet time, since we have a monopoly on Music that is likely to last a long time as it is not an AI priority tech, and we also took the shine off the tech by getting the free Great Artist. We choose Nijmegen, the riverside port city at the extreme southern end of our empire. Nijmegen borders an Incan Christian holy city that is spewing its culture all over the place. Sistine Chapel boosts culture output for all specialists (+2 each) and all state religious buildings (+5 each) and also generates a massive +10 culture in the city in which it is located. Perfect for Nijmegen! By the way, I know many don't like Sistine, but if you've seen what it can do against you, you'd understand why we don't want the Incans or Native Americans to get this wonder and really put the screws on our already-pressed border towns. Some wonders are good to get just to deny their use to rivals. Without marble, we'd probably reluctantly leave Sistine to someone else. But with marble, it's a no-brainer to grab Sistine. (136)

    Great Library will take 6 turns, but that’s not accounting for the imminent Bureaucracy boost and any whipping. With the whip it will take 4 turns; without, 5 turns. You can see from Amsterdam’s incomplete development that we have a shortage of workers; I thought we had more but my sense of scale is off a bit since the s/s deletion debacle forced me to replay the game in the middle of the action. (139)

    Without warning, the AP is finished. We might as well self-vote to see what happens, since there is no way to know how many votes each civ gets right now. If we lose the vote and it’s clear that Inca has enough votes to swamp us every time, then we fall in line and keep voting for them to boost relations. (145)

    We had assumed that Industrious Inca stole Temple of Artemis, but maybe some other civ stole it, as it doesn’t appear to be in Inca’s wonderspam city.

    We are nearly neck-and-neck with Inca in terms of AP votes, but they have the edge for now and become the AP resident. (150)

    The Golden Age is making mincemeat out of research times and we discover CivService. Time to switch, anarchy-free, into Bureaucracy and Hereditary Rule. (156)
  18. Killroyan

    Killroyan Deity

    Apr 10, 2006
    Rofl, best part so far. Loved the story and the game is heating up. GL in 6 turns is .................. NIIIIICCEEEE!!! (as Borat would say). Rofl, but still no extra workers hahah. Lets keep it going.
  19. MrFelony

    MrFelony Prince

    Jun 11, 2006
    really enjoyed the right up, look forward to reading the rest of it! :D
  20. axident

    axident Emperor

    Jan 30, 2005
    Thanks folks, sorry for my erratic update pattern... by the way, 001's story continues, it's just that it took forever for 001 to get back to Cori and wait another 5 turns for the -50% stationary spy bonus. The next update will be 001-heavy. :)

    As for Ilse, who is a real-life jazz singer (you can hear her sing in English on some free mp3s on her website: http://www.ilsehuizinga.com/): I had her up my sleeve from the very beginning. What makes her perfect in her role as cultural and domestic advisor and bringer of Music is that although she was born in Beverwijk, she grew up in a well-known BtS city (Nijmegen), is a singer (Music), and got a degree in, I kid you not, Public Administration (i.e., Bureaucracy) from the University of Amsterdam. As a bonus, her in-game hometown of Nijmegen happened to be a good spot for Sistine Chapel, so that part was easy to write in.

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