Justinian's University: Defeating the Deities

Unconquered Sun

Dec 20, 2006
Welcome to my first challenge game. In it, I'm facing a full complement of bloodthirsty deity warmongers and outrageously bonused deity peacemongers. I'd love to tell you there's a happy end to this, but I can't :mischief:

What I'm aiming for is a productive discussion about optimum play.

Pretty much first time play with the guy. An interesting leader.

I seriously considered turning off random events. They tend to have the greatest effect on the weakest civilization, and that will be us for a long time. In the end I decided to go 100% normal settings and a fractal map.

Spoiler :

Justinian's University screenshots were lost when the Civfanatics database was hacked. I'm in the process of restoring them as best as possible.

Also, adding internal links:

Chapter I: Matching Deity Expansion And Research

Chapter II: War On Deity

What I'm aiming for is a productive discussion about optimum play.

Then why'd you pick Justinian :p.

In all honesty, you're one of the top 5 best players here so I'm sure it'll be a good read.
I played as justinian once before, at prince though. dont crash your economy with cataphract expanding. i ended up getting 100 gpt inflation, not good. my slider was at 0 and in the red.

Already, there's been a lot of talk if BtS is easier, if map is more important in BtS, if warring out of a bad start is harder. The above is the first start I got, no map regeneration, no tricks. I don't like it (see below to why), but that's the game.
The first thing I can tell about the start position is we're somewhere far south. My experience with similar fractal maps indicates they are often isolated starts, which is more bad than good.

Settling 1s seems the best move. Warrior pops 51 gold from hut and reveals crab. One south is even better now.

Time for the first strategic dilemma. The alternative to settling is moving inland to block AI settling. Having in mind that 1) we're imperialistic and 2) we might be alone I settle immediately. And thus, Constantinople is founded on the south bank of Short River.

The next piece of strategy is about starting research and build (disregard the pic's placeholder choices). Any of the two is worth some serious consideration.

On a grander level, I am processing all the information we have in terms of overall strategy. As expected, we are far south on what is starting to shape as a peninsula across another landmass where the grass is greener. We also know that:

- we're Spiritual, Imperialistic, with Wheel and Mysticism
- Byzantine culture slider is worth an amazing 35 happy faces
- we might have a secured back, but we need to expand fast to get six decent cities
- barbarians will likely be trouble
- we have four health resources, one best, one worst, and two favoring coastal cities
- no marble/stone yet
- we have water for irrigation
- we have a city with optimal SE population of 25; or optimum cottage number of 6 (or 7, if there's a way to bring water for the wheat from east)
- there are good tiles to work all the way to current happiness cap
- we have forests and cold climate guarantees more forests around, so chopping settlers will be easy (plus for Bronze)
- fur, deer, silver, whales, wine are likely to be around
- elephants, gems, bananas, sugar, dyes (Byzantines rely less on dyes than anyone else) are unlikely to be around
- the rest of the resources might or might not be around (Byzantines gain a bit more from incense due to cheap temples = less effort for cathedrals)
- oil and aluminium are likely
- silk is only plantation resource that regularly shows up next to cold climate zones (minus for Calendar)
- we won't be seeing any jungles (minus for Iron Working)
- if there are neighbours, there's a good chance elephants won't be around which is a plus for Cataphracts, especially if an AI is left ironless

Conclusion: 1. Manage expansion 2. CE combo capital is not happening for now, so we'll rely on FE. The hippodrume and the numerous health resources we're likely to obtain will help.
Back to reseach: the alternatives are
- fishing to work fish and crab
- mining and bronze for chopping and slavery
- agriculture for wheat, AH for sheep and finding ultra-important horses
- hunting for scouts, AH for sheep and finding ultra-important horses
- early religion (ToA route capital gambit?)

Production alternatives are:
settler (despite imperialistic the settler won't be completed fast)
warrior for scouting and fogbusting
- monument/stonehedge

Aiming for AH requires a worker build. Aiming for a religion requires working the river tile.
This is Deity? I alway though the health and Happy caps would be a lot lower on Deity.
I've played Justinian on Monarch and I usually go for a Machinery slingshot via the Oracle but seeing as this is Deity that is impossible.

You might want to try one to Metal Casting and then tech to Code of Laws for merchants to bulb to guilds, you could pop your first gp from a forge and hold onto him since engineers pop guilds pretty easy.

I dunno, I just started but I'm interested to see how you play the game out.

I'd prob go fishing first then towards bronze maybe to use slavery since you have low production in your capital but high food from moving 1S.

I think you should post a turn every hour till the game is done :D I'm impatient lol
Edit: I seriously considered turning off random events. They tend to have the greatest effect on the weakest civilization, and that will be us for a long time. In the end I decided to go 100% normal settings and a fractal map.

Fractal map is one of the greatest effects of luck-factors. Continents would have been a much more clean map to calibrate to.
I like big and small myself.. :) I'm also enjoying solvers patch hehe
With this city placement production is very limited. It seems that whipping will be needed as a substitute for hammers, and sooner rather than later. I think Mining and Bronzeworking should be high priorities, then Fishing to provide the food.
19 turns to produce the settler :S. If going fishing -> minging -> bw or other way this might still be the best course of action. Worker first require AG then prolly AH. starting on worker while reaserching fishing is also and option though it just seems worse to me. I would try settler researching fishing mining and BW.
Worker -> Settler -> Workboat (chopped) -> Warrior
                  -> Worker -> Warrior
edit: (raw text, no tabs :/)

Agriculture -> Mining -> BW -> Fishing

After finishing workboat second city steals wheat from the capital and both cities work productive tiles and you have one worker. Perhaps it's a bad idea if there is too much tundra to the east. Plus is that both cities are directly connected. It's a theory. I do not know if BW will be researched on time.
You got a low production capital, very hard start for any level Monarch and above, I think maybe impossible for deity?

Settler first could be the way to go here otherwise worker, boat, settler would be my suggestion.

I chose Fishing as the first tech to research, the sea resources promised the most food and commerce. Commerce is sometimes overlooked early on, however on deity every gold counts in the end. Plus, seafood is better protected from rampaging barbarians.

Seven turns for Fishing. The production alternatives were:

warrior - 8 turns. not much use for another as there is only one direction to explore and warriors suck for popping huts on deity (except for start location huts).

worker - partial build

settler - partial build

monument - no thanks

barracks - partial build (too early for this)

stonehedge - for cash later

Finally, I decided to grow my capital for 2 (11 turns) so that I can build workboats faster. Growing the city excluded settler/worker, and I put some hammers in the Stonehedge (the AIs tend to build it in the early 2000's).

My warrior progressed east, found a river, followed it north to wine country, and continued east to find another river and a gold-oasis-floodplains-sea access spot I marked as my second city site.

With Fishing done, the build was changed to a pair of workboats. On Warlords, I've probably select the Bronze beeline as my next tech. However, BtS nerfed Slavery, the unhappiness penalty is a problem now. Consequently, working optimum tiles is more important in the early BtS game, and the third best tile of Constatinople is the sheep.

Moreover, Wheel is one of the starting Byz techs and chariots, while inferior to axes in city conquest/defense, are often better for chasing barbarian pillagers and exploring. Finally, in my experience, civilizations dependable on a strategic resource (i.e. Romans and iron) are rarely left without a source of it in close vicinity.

So, AH it was. I could choose Agriculture or Hunting on the way.

Hunting would give me scouts who are luckeir with huts and quite effective for cold climate zone with wolves being weak and everything else being slow. Also, Hunting is one the cheapest first tier techs.

Agriculture would enable wheat; however, between the 2 seafoods, the sheep, the hill (mining it not so away) the wheat won't see much use in the early game for a considerably more expensive tech and ~5 worker turns of improvement.

As I proceeded with Hunting and AH, my warrior found out the gold river is long, curvy, and extraordinarily golden (3 more resources). Then we met our first rival, Mansa Musa. Hrm. He is one of the friendliest and least backstabbing AIs, but his deity teching is so insane his presence alone is a threat to getting Liberalism first. His UU makes him hard to rush. Also, Hindu founder.

Back in the capital, AH was researched and ..... we got four horses on the map, one of them in the fat cross itself!

Next research stop: bronze. Build: our first worker, to be followed by a chariot and a settler. We meet two more neighbours; Roosevelt and Suleiman. Those two must be watched, but they are not Boudica.
Warrior dies. No bronze around.

Escorted by a chariot, my first settler moves for site 1, but I see a dark border. Barbarian city right there. I empty Constantinople causing some unhappiness but my two chariots and a stray Skirmisher are unlikely to defeat all the Archers inside. So I pass the city and try to expand along Gold River.

Expanding there is very risky as the cities are far from the capital and maintenance will be a killer. I hope the gold mines will counter maintenance and the end result will be a block to AI expansion in the area, which will ultimately result in a decent size empire.

I could have attempted a chariot rush on Roosevelt. His capital is wonder heavy and probably in the 60% def bonus already tho.
Next, I researched Pottery for granaries, Seafaring for a lighthouse in the capital and a trade route between my other two cities, and Writing - for library in capital and the first GS, eventually.

Barbarians of all shapes and stripes descended on my Gold River cities. With expert use of the few bonuses chariots receive on the defense, I destroyed about 10 barb units, losing one of my then two chariots and having the other at 10 xp unlocking Heroic Epic.



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I must admit when I saw how far away you put those two cities I was shocked,

I have a few questions I'd like to ask you, 1) Have you identified an overall strategy that your going to aim for at this point? 2) I assume the decision to expand so far was in order to block the rapid expansion I hear about on Deity, is this true and would you have done that on a lower difficulty level? 3) What kind of economy are you going to run and why?

Thanks in advance.
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