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Isle of Isabella: The Revenge of Gandhi

Discussion in 'Civ 4 - Advanced Civ' started by crullerdonut, Jul 20, 2020.

  1. crullerdonut

    crullerdonut Warlord

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    Having played my first game of Advanced Civ on Prince, I decided to bump it up a notch to Monarch and see how it would go. Well...it didn't go well: I lost pretty badly...twice. I don't have any intentions to try the map again, but I thought that it was an interesting puzzle that deserves a little description.

    Here is the start. The settings are: Monarch, Tribal Villages are on, Random Events are on.
    1 Initial settle.JPG
    As you can see, we're "blessed" with a 4:food: Tundra Deer and a 3:food: Tundra/Hills/Deer (which can technically support a Cottage, by the way), as well as a couple of Spices. To the north is a bit of Flood Plain, but we quickly run into our unwelcome neighbor: Gandhi.
    2 Gandhi takes over the fish.JPG
    The Flood Plain City, Barcelona, has the issue of being under intense :culture: pressure by Gandhi's capital. In this first game, Gandhi settles the desert, food-heavy city to the east, Varanasi. While there's Copper to the west and Horse to the south, there is virtually no food to speak of. Obviously, war is the only option. But, how to do it? We can try rushing Horse Archers, but Gandhi has Ivory and, indeed, did build some War Elephants. Gandhi controls the only Iron to the far north of the island. What I ended up doing is just buying one of Gandhi's Ivory, and going for an Elephant Rush. This eventually worked but it was very slow: I only was able to conquer the whole island by the 1200s. I decided to just destroy India utterly, since the land to the north was actually fairly decent: the hills to the northwest provided for a great Ironworks city.
    3 Takes a long time to conquer India.JPG

    After getting past the speedbump of India, the true challenge of this map comes clearly into view: the major continent, during that time, was able to tech lightyears ahead of me. Pericles gets his own private continent all to himself, where he is free to peacefully tech almost the entire game, aside from brief attacks by Shaka. And the worst issue? Justinian and Pericles each get hefty "first impression is a lasting one" bonuses with each other, so they never attack each other and keep trading back and forth.

    Surprisingly, Shaka pulled off a successful naval invasion and took over Bombay to the north. I was able to re-conquer the city and make peace with him, but only a few turns later, Justinian invaded as well! :eek: His target was Varanasi, the desert city to the east. After taking it, Justinian is willing to make peace.
    I opted to re-conquer Varanasi: a fatal mistake. This initiates an endless, unwinnable war and... Justinian bribes the other score-leader, Hannibal, into the fight. I considered it an unwinnable situation and resigned.
    5 Shaka invaded Bombay Byzantium invaded Varanasi.JPG

    Looking back, perhaps it would've been possible to win by perhaps a Diplomatic win, had I allowed Justinian to just keep Varanasi. It would've been a longshot, but perhaps a win could have been eked out somehow.

    An interesting thing regarding AdvCiv is that during these naval invasions, the AI was smart enough to selectively attack my only source of Oil to the south. While their attack was unsuccessful, had it been successful, my Tank production would have been halted.
    4 AI was smart about taking the Oil.JPG

    Starting as Isabella, with the useless Fishing and Mysticism, on a Tundra- and Desert-heavy food-barren land, was quite a difficult situation to start from. But, now that I had some experience of the map, I thought that I could give it another try, using a different strategy. So, to be continued!
     

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  2. crullerdonut

    crullerdonut Warlord

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    This was my game-plan for the second try: I wanted to bee-line Optics and meet the other civilizations as soon as possible. This way, I would be able to get some techs off of them, and hopefully get enough techs to make an efficient invasion of India possible.

    This time around, India again settled toward me, but took the nice grasslands to the west instead of the desert-city to the east:
    6 Game 2 even worse land.JPG
    Settling the east side of the island meant that I got easy access to the Horses, Fish, Clam, Pig, one of the Coppers, an Ivory, and a Pig. However, the land itself is terrible: it has an absolutely gargantuan desert, along with a nice helping of Tundra.

    Something that one needs to get used to with Advanced Civ, is that even Gandhi can be a threat, and will attack at Cautious, if he sees that you're weak. So, while teching towards Optics, he invaded me with quite a hefty amount of units. I would've survived, but I didn't want to bother with the huge delay this caused, so I re-loaded and focused on getting Gandhi's Buddhism and switching to it as soon as possible. This got Gandhi to Pleased, and he would never attack even as I focused entirely on teching.

    After getting to Optics, I was able to trade around my (bulbed) Philosophy and Civil Service, for quite a number of good techs. I then realized that I could actually bulb Astronomy, so I went that route and got Astronomy by 1100 AD. With the influx of foreign trade, a Bureaucracy Observatory, and the ability to trade with the other civilizations, I was able to have a booming economy for some time, despite the horrible land.
    7 Bulbed Astronomy early.JPG 8 Early Astronomy.JPG
    In the second screenshot, you can see that I got a Great Artist. This was key; I used a Great Work to expand out Seville's borders, letting it work some nice Villages, and re-gaining free access to the Ivory.

    I decided to make use of Spain's Unique Unit, the Cuirassier-replacement Conquistador, and the Castle-replacement Citadel. With Stone, the Citadels were fairly cheap; the +1 :traderoute: was quite helpful given my impoverished state and high reliance on foreign trade routes for :commerce:, and the additional XP for siege units allowed me to get out a few extra-strong Trebuchets with which to attack Gandhi later.
    However, there was an issue with the Conquistadors: I had no Iron whatsoever. In order to access Iron, I had to purchase it from another Civilization, but, in order to do that, I had to switch out of my religion (Buddhism) in order to get someone pleased enough to trade. So, I had to go Free Religion while producing Cuirassiers, denying me from the +2 XP of Theology. It was a bit of an unfortunate Catch-22.
    9 No Iron for Cuirs.JPG

    With this strategy, it took even longer to get a strong enough army to destroy India. In the screenshot, you can see another issue: Seville is under heavy cultural :culture: pressure by India's Pataliputra. The only thing Seville can do is produce culture to ward off the "We resent being ruled by a foreign culture" penalty and the loss of further tiles. However, it was able to produce a decent amount of :science:.
    10 Takes too long.JPG

    After conquering Pataliputra, I found out why I was struggling so much with the :culture:: Gandhi settled not 1, but 5 Great Artists. Why does the AI like settling Great Artists so much?
    10b They love to settle GAs.JPG

    Well, after conquering India, I was producing quite a lot of culture, due to settled Great Artists and because Gandhi had built the Sistine Chapel in Pataliputra. So, I decided to just try for a Cultural victory.
    11 Finally capped Gandhi.JPG

    I was lucky during this game, as the second-largest continent to the north (containing Pacal, Hannibal, and João) were constantly at war with each other, and were consequently suppressed. Shaka, on the big continent, was mostly just a nuisance to Justinian, whom I purposefully tried to keep as technologically-backwards as possible. Nonetheless, Justinian inevitably gets a huge amount of decent land, and becomes a powerhouse. And, sadly, who else comes knocking but Cautious Justinian, apparently with Tanks and Paratroopers. :sad:
    12 Naval invasion by Justinian.JPG


    I decided to just Resign at that point. Looking at WorldBuilder, it looks like Justinian's invasion force was actually quite light, so I might have been able to make it out with only a single city captured. Hypothetically, if Justinian took one of my non-cultural-victory-cities, and then I was never invaded by anyone else, I could've made it to a Cultural Victory somehow. But, even then: Pericles was teching steadily ahead, so he may have won by a Space Race fairly soon, or I would've been invaded by any AI that noticed any imminent cultural win.
     

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  3. crullerdonut

    crullerdonut Warlord

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    Normally, in Vanilla BtS, having Gandhi as a neighbor is actually pretty nice. You can rely on him never attacking you, and then you can easily just destroy him or make him a vassal state. However, in AdvCiv... not so much! :crazyeye: Gandhi is an absolute cultural :culture: Behemoth, and this was never more apparent than having him as my sole neighbor while trapped on an impoverished side of a small island.

    In the end, going for a peaceful bee-line to Optics/Astronomy may not have been entirely wise. It denied me an early war, in which I could've taken one of Gandhi's cities and gained something decent for once. It would've also allowed me to get out a Heroic Epic, which I sorely missed when I was finally able to produce Conquistadors.

    My attempt at conquering Gandhi with an early war with Elephants was ultimately unsuccessful as well, as it simply took too long. During that time, the other distant civilizations were able to tech without my interference, and simply got out of control. So, Gandhi is effectively a massive speed-bump. It's essential to neutralize him as soon as possible, but, starting with Isabella's horrible techs and pitiful land, and with Gandhi settling towards you either in the east or west... this was difficult. Lacking Iron is crippling in a mid-game war, as it's necessary both for Cuirassiers/Conquistadors and Cannons. Even without attacking you, Gandhi takes over your land through insane cultural pressure, which is extra-powerful in AdvCiv.

    Compared to Vanilla BtS, AdvCiv AIs are able to mount intimidating naval invasions. Despite being on the opposite side of the world and at Cautious, such an AI is always a threat. This makes Continents maps more difficult on AdvCiv, I would say.

    Additionally, AdvCiv adds 1 AI to Standard Maps, making there be 8 Civs. This shoved 3 Civs (Pacal, Hannibal, and João) onto a relatively small continent, split a rather small island between me and Gandhi, and still allowed Justinian to get a huge amount of uncontested land. For this reason, it seems to me that having 8 AIs makes Continents even more luck-dependent than it already is, as it can really lead to lop-sided spawns.

    It seemed to me that in these games, the AIs were very adept at settling in everyone else's faces. Gandhi did it to me twice, and looking at the Maya/Portugal/Carthage continent, they were ruthless with each other.

    Although I lost this map twice, I still had fun with it. In particular, the later water invasions during the first playthrough were quite entertaining. If anyone is brave enough to attempt this map, I wish you good luck! Does anyone have any strategy ideas on how to tackle this map? Is it even winnable on higher difficulty levels like Immortal and Deity?

    Special thanks to f1rpo for all the hard work that went into Advanced Civ. It has already provided me with several hours of entertainment. :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2020
  4. Leoreth

    Leoreth Vampire of the Blue Moon Moderator

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    Thanks for this detailed write up! I found it very entertaining. In my opinion "losing is fun" is a good place for a game to be and it seems AdvCiv is at that sweet spot right now. That start is very very poor and the resulting game was probably always going to be rough. Respect for sticking through it multiple times, I probably would have rerolled right away.
     
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  5. keldath

    keldath LivE LonG AnD PrOsPeR

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    cool game description,
    maybe f1rpo need to create a thread here - AdvCiv_Stories :)

    i love to loose in civ4 to a brutal AI, its so much fun to be on alert with the opponents, its soo good and exciting.
    also i like to fight to the end :)
     
  6. f1rpo

    f1rpo plastics

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    I've tried a quick, wood-fueled Axemen rush, but got sidetracked by the Oracle after receiving Meditation (or most of it) from a goody hut. Founding Buddhism in my capital didn't help much against Delhi's culture as Gandhi founded Hinduism there followed by Stonehenge and the Hindu Shrine. The Oracle got me Code of Laws, which helped a lot with breeding GPs, but didn't really contribute to the Axemen plan, which I nevertheless kept pursuing. Didn't use Slavery as per my usual house rule. Before I got my army together, I had reached Construction and Gandhi traded HBR and Ivory to me. Going for Elephants to begin with, as you did, would've been the better plan. Stopped after conquering Delhi; screenshot attached. Not many defenders left – two Horse Archers and a Catapult have evacuated from the city and I had already invaded once some 15 turns earlier and got intercepted by a modest stack of Swordsmen and Catapults. I also asked Gandhi to switch from Slavery to Caste System. The Crusade event will give me another 5 Axemen. Still, I don't think I'm in a better position than you were in your first game; hard to say. Not sure if I'll continue the game. Doesn't look too bad (nor does yours in AD 1220), but, then, Justinian does have a lot of land.

    A focused Axeman rush might still be the best approach here. Though Horse Archers would require two fewer turns to reach Delhi. For the Elepult strategy, one could immediately settle south of the Ivory; though Gandhi would probably steal the nearby Gold through culture.
    Resources are evaluated by the AI when choosing a target city (a BBAI change), but the evaluation is done only from the point of view of the conqueror. I doubt that the invader lacked Oil, so the attack may have been just a coincidence.
    I hope that this is only the case because Gandhi was boxed in. Even then, considering that Gandhi was a pretty absolute pacifist, I'd rather he didn't, but that's an issue with his personality values, not necessarily the AI logic in general.
    Similar quote from the catchall thread:
    My best bet is that Gandhi was aiming at a culture victory. I've seen the AI use culture bombs ... I think only in situations when the AI was losing workable tiles through foreign culture pressure, and on the final stretch of a culture victory. If you have a savegame at the proper time, you could check if culture victory was among Gandhi's strategies by holding down Alt while hovering over the scoreboard in Debug mode (Ctrl+Z, chipotle). Still strange if he settled them only in one city.
    I guess that has to be due to greater AI efficiency overall and the K-Mod changes to the range of culture spread. :confused: Gandhi is not even Creative, just has high Culture flavor and an early favorite religion. (Culture and religion flavor 50-50 would suit his real personality better.)
    Probably not for me. I don't know if Deity is winnable in general with the mod. I haven't even gotten around to a serious attempt on Immortal. Emperor I think I can win pretty reliably.

    If Shaka's start had been north of the Jungle belt and Gandhi's a bit farther north as well, then I think this map would already be much fairer to the human player. As I wrote in the starting position thread, I hope v0.98 will have this covered. Tundra Deer near the capital should also no longer happen. The probability of converting Tundra near starting sites is 75% in AdvCiv, so this was quite unlucky. Since Deer can happen to be the only available source of food, it's better to always convert Tundra Deer to Plains Deer.

    I don't want to organize this forum more than necessary. I don't mind someone else creating such a thread if they have something to share that they feel doesn't deserve its own thread.
    On a similar note:
    If there's something you want to post about Dawn of the Overlords that you feel fits better here than in the DotO thread, then please feel free to create a DotO thread here or a thread about modmods in general.
     

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  7. crullerdonut

    crullerdonut Warlord

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    I hope you had fun playing this map :)

    I couldn't figure out the chipotle method, so I did a quick web search and then did the Shift+~, then CyGame().toggleDebugMode() method. Sure enough, Gandhi was going for Culture2.
    I also looked around with in the second game where I resigned, and I guess that I resigned prematurely. Justinian didn't have too much in terms of forces in the first wave, and he was apparently engaging in "Limited War". He was loading up another couple naval stacks with military units, but there weren't too many Artillery, nor were there Tanks. For some reason, Justinian opted to go for Paratroopers instead of Tanks. Also of note is that Pericles didn't even have a win strategy picked out at that point. So, I think that I still might've won at that stage, if I had stuck it out. That said, my military ratio was still only 0.3, so the war might've lasted a very long time, I don't know. Pericles was also going for the Manhattan Project, so I don't know what that would mean. I might yet play the game out, just to see how it goes.

    At the end of the first game, though, it looks like I was thoroughly defeated. Not only did Hannibal and Justinian have decisive advantage over me (and, well, Hannibal had just captured my Iron Works city), but Shaka was also preparing for Total War with me. Talk about a dog pile!

    Wow, so only a 1/16 chance for only having two Tundra Deer for the starting site? Alrighty then. Well, I've definitely had worse luck. :lol:
    Actually, come to think of it, it's probably a good thing I've had weird luck these games, since it's been giving you good ideas. First the crash-upon-tribute thing, then the Whale stuck in the middle of nowhere (did you notice the unworkable Fish in the northwest corner of the island in this game by the way?), and this map generation. What weird thing will I encounter next? :p
    Spoiler :
    I see that you're using Alt+S to point things out in screenshots. It's a nice little idea, isn't it? :thumbsup:
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2020
  8. Lanstro

    Lanstro Prince

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    I gave this a shot but lost in my normal way - to an attack that I didn't pay enough attention to.

    India's first settlement was away from me, so I was able to take the coastal pig/stone/copper town, but I missed out on the gold/ivory town further to the north (didn't manage to explore that I could get the ivory with the coast, if I'd known I'd have prioritised more and might have gotten it). Settled further up river and to the west instead. I founded hinduism from a partial hut so culture wasn't a real issue, and I was teching reasonably well. Was starting to prepare for a late medieval war but Gandhi declared just before I started building troops.

    Probably winnable now knowing what I know, but I don't think it's fair on the AI for me to replay maps.
     
  9. crullerdonut

    crullerdonut Warlord

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    I actually don't mind being attacked by Gandhi on occasion. After all, it is a cherished tradition. :mischief:
    Spoiler :



    Come to think of it, I know that Civ V and Civ VI Gandhi has special AI where he is given a propensity to use nukes. But I'm not aware of something like that in Civ IV. :think:
     
  10. keldath

    keldath LivE LonG AnD PrOsPeR

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    thats fine , just a though... doto dont have forum activity anyway :(
     
  11. f1rpo

    f1rpo plastics

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    I hope this happened at Cautious attitude due to different religions ...
    Having some special easter egg power is one thing, but he should be more than just somewhat more reluctant to attack than e.g. Mansa Musa. Maybe I'll make at least a small tweak ... jeez
    Spoiler :
    Code:
               <NoWarAttitudeProbs>
                   <NoWarAttitudeProb>
                       <AttitudeType>ATTITUDE_ANNOYED</AttitudeType>
                       <iNoWarProb>20</iNoWarProb>
                   </NoWarAttitudeProb>
                   <NoWarAttitudeProb>
                       <AttitudeType>ATTITUDE_CAUTIOUS</AttitudeType>
                       <iNoWarProb>70</iNoWarProb>
                   </NoWarAttitudeProb>
                   <NoWarAttitudeProb>
                       <AttitudeType>ATTITUDE_PLEASED</AttitudeType>
                       <iNoWarProb>100</iNoWarProb>
                   </NoWarAttitudeProb>
               </NoWarAttitudeProbs>
    Why does he have only 70% no-war prob at Cautious. That's lower than Justinian. I feel that it should be 100 (maybe even 100 at Annoyed), but I'll probably use something in between.

    I thought they had retired that nuke joke ... I don't know, even before Civ 4. But you're right according to the wiki; both Civ 5 and 6 have it. No such thing in Civ 4 though.

    Knowing another person's thoughts sure adds something.
    Thanks for checking. The cheat code would go in My Games\Beyond the Sword\CivilizationIV.ini:
    Code:
    ; Move along
    CheatCode = chipotle
    Doesn't hurt to leave it permanently enabled – unless one is prone to pressing Ctrl+Z and some similar key combinations by accident. Sounds OK then – Gandhi probably had too few cities for any victory, might as well go for culture and settle his Great Artists.
    My impression has also been that the AI isn't interested enough in Tanks, and I've been finding it too easy to gain air superiority against AI civs that should've been able to out-produce me. Haven't looked into the respective AI code at all though.
    Space3 normally gets adopted upon or soon after completing Apollo, which is a long way from launching a spaceship.
    That's another thing the AI doesn't produce enough of. I think it'll use the few nukes it has against whichever war target.
    I didn't want to say it. :lol: Diplo victory after three recent DoW from the AI ... :hmm:
    :yup: Must be a large-number-of-rare-events type of thing. I mean a lot of minor quirks introduced by myself and other modders and already/ still present in BtS. That issue you mentioned elsewhere with an ice-locked city not receiving trade routes through a Fort is apparently due to a BtS oddity.
    Yessum. I've edited a cursor into a screenshot on some earlier occasion. :shake:
     
  12. Lanstro

    Lanstro Prince

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    Yes we were different religions, Gandhi founded Judaism. I also founded a city pretty close to his borders. Was my fault not noticing his buildup, I don't mind him declaring in those circumstances.
     
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  13. crullerdonut

    crullerdonut Warlord

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    Yep, in the case when Gandhi invaded, I also had a different state religion than him. I also don't mind getting invaded in that kind of situation, especially considering that I had neglected military. It was a fair attack, and I deserved it.
     
  14. crullerdonut

    crullerdonut Warlord

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    Just to satisfy my curiosity, I tried continuing from a save right before Justinian does the naval invasion in the second play-through.
    Interestingly, after Justinian declares war, he doesn't actually land an invasion force for probably 10 or more turns. He did use his naval superiority to pillage all my seafood, though.
    I kept using an Airship to scout out the north and east parts of the island, and I saw a few of his Transports there. Based on this, I was expecting a naval landing on the northeast part of the island, so I stationed defensive units there. However, Justinian actually ended up landing his invasion force on the Oil/Fort right next to Santiago in the south. I guess I should've expected this from the previous play-through, but I was still surprised by the choice.
    Oil still available.JPG
    Spoiler :
    One thing which I learned today was that, when an enemy force is located on an improved resource tile, rendering it unworkable, but has not yet pillaged the improvement, then the trade resource is still available. In this case, my Oil was still available, even while Justinian's troops were stationed on my Oil/Fort, which was my only Oil source of Oil. I checked, and this behavior is the same in vanilla BtS as well. I guess that I had never encountered this before because the AI usually pillages the improvement immediately; in this case, perhaps Justinian kept the Fort due to its defensive or healing bonus. :think:


    Miraculously, after taking Santiago, Justinian was willing to talk, and negotiated peace for the low, low price of only 30 :gold:. Some turns later, the AP voted to Open Borders with all members, so I ended up in a fairly normal position vis-a-vis Justinian. Then, in a shocking move, Justinian actually gifted Santiago back to me. :eek: He later would pack up his troops and send them away. I was never attacked again. Then, Justinian attacked Pericles! :smug: (who then immediately granted independence to Ragnar; Ragnar later broke free from Pericles, and was then totally conquered by Justinian) Meanwhile, Hannibal and João engaged in two wars with each other. I couldn't believe my luck.

    So, I was able to just peacefully tech towards Mass Media and continue my attempt toward a Cultural Victory. Thanks to a random Great Engineer, I was able to build Hollywood. I was also able to found Sid's Sushi with a Great Merchant that I saved. However, due to my general dearth of seafood resources, I was only pulling in 8 :culture: from Sushi, despite trading for the maximum number of foreign seafood possible. At their maximum rate, my top-three cities were producing only 418, 436, and 516 :culture:; this was just not enough.
    59 turns to Cultural Victory.JPG

    By the time Justinian won by a Space Race, I still had 59 turns to remaining. Justinian ends up getting hilariously overpowered compared to everyone else.
    Loss by Space Race.JPG
    Hilariously Overpowered.JPG

    I built the UN and was able to get out two Diplomatic Victory votes, the last one being decided a couple turns before Justinian's Space win. It turns out that I would've needed every single civ besides Justinian to vote for me; this didn't happen. Pericles, even at Pleased, abstained instead of voting for me. Maybe he was worried about voting against Justinian. So, Diplomatic Victory would've been all-but impossible, unless I had conquered quite a lot more land. I guess that's how these things go.

    Some thoughts on Cultural Victory:
    1. In K-mod and AdvCiv, Culture :culture: is more powerful in terms of being able to take over land. To compensate for this, Free Speech was nerfed from +100% :culture: to only +50% :culture:, and the Cathedrals were nerfed from +50% :culture: to +40% :culture: each. However, no compensatory changes were made to Cultural Victory. On the contrary: at Monarch, each Legendary City is required to achieve 55,000 :culture: instead of 50,000. This means that, compared to vanilla BtS, getting a Cultural victory is much more difficult with AdvCiv. Has anyone managed to achieve a Cultural Victory with Advanced Civ yet? It seems unbalanced to me.
    2. When going for a Cultural Victory, it made no sense at all to found Civilized Jewelers. That late in the game, the most optimal way to use a Great Artist is to create Great Works in whatever top-3 city is the furthest away from Legendary. For Civilized Jewelers to be an attractive way to head toward a Cultural Victory, I think that it should be moved to Corporation, like it is in K-Mod.
    3. I still like the idea of making Mass Media give +1 :culture: or, better yet, +2 :culture: per specialist, replacing the ability to found Civilized Jewelers.
    4. I think that, even with those changes, in this particular game, a Cultural Victory may have been impossible--even with a ton of settled Great Artists and with the Sistine Chapel--due to the general lack of food resources.
     

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  15. f1rpo

    f1rpo plastics

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    Weird about the Oil. From the AI code, it seems that Justinian shouldn't target it more than any other surplus (-for him-) resource.
    I had also thought it worked that way and was going to change it at one point, but figured that it could be annoying for human players when some single enemy unit (could be a Barbarian) moves onto a resource and cities immediately cancel production orders or reassign citizens to cope with a loss of happiness or health. I don't think the AI pillages near a city that it expects to conquer. And I'm not sure if a city attack stack will even consider pillaging when there is an actual city to approach, attack or occupy.
    For the victory vote, he'd have to be Friendly. (+8 in BtS, but +8 is effectively +9 in AdvCiv, so I changed the requirement to Friendly for simplicity, making it "1 harder" than in BtS.) For the secretary vote, he'd abstain when both candidates have the same relations value. (In BtS, ties are broken arbitrarily instead, I think in favor of the lowest slot id, i.e. normally the human player.)
    This doesn't have to be wrong – he did win – but I'd feel better if I could check what motivated those decisions – if you happen to have savegames right or shortly before those AI turns.
    I've seen culture victories on AI Auto Play. And in a game I posted last year [2nd attachment], I intervened against Huayna Capac around 1850 because he was getting close to a culture victory. That said, Capac had built just about every wonder. Anyway, it would be helpful to hear from live players who have attempted culture victories.
    The stated reason for Colosseum is pretty specific. Sounds to me like karadoc had done some tests and found that culture victory was still balanced despite the Free Speech change not mentioned here. I reverted the Colosseum change because I didn't like how it muddles the roles of Theater and Colosseum. I figured I'd keep an eye out for AI culture victories on AI Auto Play to decide if there was a major balance problem. I didn't have that impression. Maybe the substantial tech cost increases in the late game (30% or so) are enough to balance out the Free Speech, Cathedral and Sisitine Chapel nerfs. Above Noble, there are additional tech cost increases and, on Monarch and above, increased culture level thresholds follow suit. I've also reverted a bunch of minor K-Mod building culture decreases. At the least, the manual should mention the tech cost increases in the context of the Free Spech and Cathedral change – to avoid raising eyebrows. And the Sistine Chapel change is actually undocumented in the manual.
    That's a good argument. I was thinking that it's kind of hard to say whether Mass Media is always too late. I understand that, when the veteran players decide early on to aim at a culture victory, they aggressively deprioritize research after Liberalism. For that strategy, Jewelers probably comes too late anyway. But for less focused strategies, who knows. Except that spending a Great Artist on something other than a Great Work clearly doesn't make sense when already somewhat close. I guess requiring a different GP wouldn't help much; a civ headed for a culture victory would produce GP other than Great Artists only by accident.

    My reservation against Jewelers at Corporation is mainly that this makes Jewelers the most easily accessible corporation, and thus the first corporation that a player unfamiliar with the coporation system (yeah, not so likely to happen) might found. It's not generally useful enough for that role. Worse perhaps, the AI might frequently found Jewlers relatively early to its own detriment (possibly) and to the detriment of a neighboring human player. Maybe this isn't actually a problem – maybe the AI still won't be interested or could easily be dissuaded programmatically or the culture pressure won't be that bad.
    I don't think Mass Media needs a replacement. It already completes the Broadway-Rock'n'Roll-Hollywood avenue toward culture victory, plus Broadcast Tower, and enables the UN. Corporations weren't around before the BtS expansion anyway. The only arguments for Jewelers at Mass Media that I see are familiarity (as in BtS – "as in K-Mod" is also good, but not as good) and De Beers diamond commercials.

    Ideally, I'd like to pick a tech requirement other than Corporation, in the same column or the next. Corporation is going to be required in any case. However, I don't see one that holds up to any scrutiny story-wise. So I guess I'll put it at Corporation.

    This is a nice context for discussing this topic. I feel that a culture victory should have been achievable on this map. Not if Justinian had focused on a Space victory early, but it seems that he got around to it pretty late. The year 2000 is a pretty generous deadline for culture victory. How do you feel about Broadway etc.? Way too weak? A savegame toward the end of the game would be interesting for me; to get a better idea how focused your push for culture victory has been. [Edit: Oops, you already uploaded one. I'll take a look.]
    No, but this is already changed in my development version. Actually pretty easy to prevent the map generator from placing resources there in the first place. Preventing or removing resources enclosed in ice turned out to be a bit more trouble than it's worth to me.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2020
  16. crullerdonut

    crullerdonut Warlord

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2020
    Messages:
    103
    I agree, and I'd bet that the original Firaxis devs had the same thoughts. Maybe there's a little loss in realism, but in terms of gameplay, it's better to keep the resources flowing until an actual Pillage happens. I was just surprised that this was a mechanic, since I don't remember encountering the situation when it mattered.

    Oh dang, I guess it truly was hopeless to go after Diplomacy in this case then. Well, unless I could go with the usual "Diplomacy by just conquering everyone" method. ;)

    Unfortunately no, I don't have a savegame from shortly before. The closest was the "Doomed Culture Attempt" file that I already included; I suppose that game could be played out in anticipation of the same events happening, but I'm not sure how likely it is that everything would happen exactly the same way and result in that 30-:gold: peace. I do know from previously looking at the debugger, that Justinian was in Limited War. He didn't lose very many troops while taking Santiago, but he was willing to talk immediately after taking the city. He didn't gift the city back for maybe 15 turns or so.

    Thank you. :) I don't send enough thanks, considering how often you make good arguments. It's not perfect (nor is anyone, including myself), but your Manual does have a lot of good common-sense arguments backing your decisions.

    The trouble was that in this case, had I gone with the Elephant Rush strategy (attempt #1) and then just turned on the :culture: slider after Liberalism, I would've been helpless when inevitably invaded by Shaka and Justinian later on. With the Optics/Astronomy strategy (attempt #2), I needed to tech at least to Rifling. I was in a pretty bad food situation, so I used what research capacity I had left to get to Biology -> Refrigeration, since I had a Great Merchant that popped out around the end of the war with Gandhi. At that point, it seemed like I had a reasonable shot to be the first to discover Mass Media, which turned out to be true. Meanwhile, I got out three Cathedrals in each top-3 :culture: city. (I suppose I could've tried for 4 Cathedrals/city, but I didn't want to bother with missionaries constantly failing while running the high-cost Organized Religion, and there was also the opportunity cost of switching off of building :gold: everywhere) After getting Mass Media, I switched the :culture: slider to maximum (and then was able to sell all my happiness resources). In this way, I was able to produce enough military that the other powers stayed away. At least, that's how it worked out.

    It's up to you, of course, but hear me out:
    With Mass Media, specialists become... TV personalities! :D So Artist specialists, when they get a camera, go on TV and become like Bob Ross, producing more culture. Spies? They inspire James Bond movies. Scientists? Bill Nye personalities. Merchants? Celebrity business people. Priests? Televangelists. Hey, the sky's the limit when it comes to imagination. :)
    Or if that's a bit of a stretch, or if you think that Mass Media already does too much, maybe +2:culture:/specialist could get attached to a Civic like Universal Suffrage to give it another situational use.
    But for gameplay: besides balancing out the 50% Free Speech loss, I've always thought that the Sistine Chapel was a bit over-powered. It never obsoletes, for one thing. I would say that the Sistine Chapel is more important for Culture wins, than is any other Great Wonder is for any other Victory condition. If you can't build or capture the Sistine Chapel (or if it was razed), then Cultural Victories are much more difficult to reach. But with Domination/Conquest, there's no single Wonder that's like that; same with Space; and same even with Diplomacy (I've won by Diplomacy more often without building the UN than with, I'd reckon). If there were an alternative way to get +2:culture: per specialist, a Cultural Victory would be much more plausible an option for players who missed out on the Sistine Chapel. I think that, in general, it should always be nice to successfully acquire Great Wonders, but it should never be essential to have one to win a victory condition. For me, the Sistine Chapel pushes that boundary.
    Spoiler :
    That said, I have been able to win by a Culture victory in vanilla BtS on Monarch, even without the Sistine Chapel. See the attached file: it was the playthrough where I had fun capitalizing on Saladin's Madrassas and Spiritual trait. In that case, I was able to fuel plentiful Artists with 16 Sushi resources. :splat:

    I wasn't even aware of the Colosseum +25% :culture: boost in K-mod; I habitually avoid building Colosseums since they're expensive for what you get, and didn't notice the boost in my two K-mod playthroughs. But at any rate, we now have a significant loss of :culture: output capability, along with an increase in Legendary requirement, compared to the vanilla game. I understand that Space Race technology:science: costs are higher with AdvCiv, but on the other hand, there is the +1:science:/specialist with Scientific Method and a (probably?) fixed Space Elevator, to help that victory along.
    Well, that's pretty much the sum of my thoughts on the whole thing, so it's there to think about at your leisure. :)

    Well, what I can say is that even though Pericles stuffed Athens with: Broadway (1888 AD), and Rock 'n Roll (1904), and the Eiffel Tower (1912) (as well as the Statue of Liberty and several others), Athens was at 41,376 :culture: at 1996 AD. Although, it should be said that Pericles has Space3 as his victory strategy.

    Maybe with your new start position algorithm, but with the Tundra/Deer start? My hat is off to anyone who can do it. :worship:

    I've also included the savegame immediately after Justinian won Space, so you can see what I was able to accomplish in terms of :culture:. If you're wondering: I had to put Hermitage at Barcelona early on due to great :culture: pressure from Gandhi, and I couldn't afford to bulldoze everything to make Farms at Madrid to make it one of the top-3.
    By the way, check out how aggressive Hannibal was at spamming Mining Inc. into my cities! (I was fine with it, since most cities were just producing Wealth :gold: anyway). On the old topic of the city banner icons: you can also see how my non-capital cities could get top :science: (in Delhi) and top :gold: (in Bombay) in normal slider conditions, due to running Free Speech, and due to being forced to build Ironworks and Heroic Epic in my capital due to limited :hammers:.
     

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    Last edited: Jul 26, 2020
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