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Montezuma the seafarer

Discussion in 'Civ 4 - Advanced Civ' started by Lanstro, Jul 22, 2020.

  1. Lanstro

    Lanstro Prince

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    Having never won a solo emperor game in this mod (having been an immortal player who probably won around ~10% of games in K-Mod), let's see if I can crowdsource a first one and learn something from you fine people on the way.

    Settings: standard size bigs & smalls, standard speed, random events and huts on, random civs

    We spawn as Montezuma in a pretty nice spot, just 1-2 fewer hills than I'd like ideally:

    I settle southeast, to get one more net land tile.

    I tech fishing -> bronze working (after the nearest hut popped mining) -> husbandry. If I didn't have the gold I probably would skip husbandry here. I build fishing boat (whipped on the last turn) -> worker -> warrior -> (it's apparent at this point that I'm isolated) fishing boat -> warriors. Horses pop, making the capital quite good and luckily vindicates my questionable capital settlement spot:


    Unfortunately, the rest of the nearby land is poor and almost useless without iron working. On the bright side, not hard to fog bust:


    Usually I'd build warriors and settlers at this point, but the natural expansion locations are extraordinarily poor in the short term, so fuelled by all the gold and seafood commerce, we tech sailing -> masonry -> iron working while building Great Lighthouse. This is going to be a peace game at least for the time being, which does not play to Monty's strengths, but when life gives you lemons...

    Before we start on the GL, we met Mansa on the landmass to the east, and so we build a work boat to go check out his lands.

    We succeed with the GL at 1200BC, and follow it up with settler, galley, settler, settler. The little work boat has found Alexander, Sitting Bull, Roosevelt and Ramses on the other continent, but precious few open borders / coastal cities to trade with are available. The little fishing boat perseveres because every new trading city found for now equals one more commerce income, amazing.

    At around 900BC, someone else builds the Pyramids so that dashes the potential for two extremely powerful wonders.

    It is now 500 BC and we have four cities, with a trading-route driven economy pulling in a respectable 40ish beakers, but only the capital is any good:




    We are currently teching currency, having part-traded for alphabet with the new people we've met. Unlike everyone else, we don't have any techs past the mysticism branch of the tree, but that doesn't bother me. Roosevelt has metal casting, but otherwise we're doing reasonably well on tech.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2020
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  2. Lanstro

    Lanstro Prince

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    Will pause here for a day or two. Keen to hear others' thoughts on where to from here or what they'd have done differently up to this point.

    My thoughts on where next - usually at this stage, I wouldn't bother with trying a war, especially with no iron or copper in sight and such poor production. Despite the islands being pretty poor, GL makes basically anything worthwhile, and I would usually just pump out a heap more settlers and settle the island in the last screenshot above, 2 more cities to the south of my continent (second last screenshot), and go check out and most likely settle the island to the west of my capital (third last screenshot). All my cities would just cottage economy, while the capital would run two scientists and still pump out those settlers quick. I might whip occasionally where worthwhile, but won't run anything that you would describe as a slave economy.

    In terms of techs I'd usually finish currency, then go for civil service then caravels to meet the rest of the world / circumnavigate. I'd try to be friends with as many people as possible (though Alexander has already asked me to stop trading with Mansa and I told him to mind his own business), and agree to any civic/religion changes people request.

    For war, I'd try to cut corners here and build minimal army for the time being, and perhaps try a riflemen timing attack later, though I suspect I'm not going to have the production to make that happen.

    In terms of wonders, if Great Wall or Hanging Gardens are available I'd give them a shot, but not a high priority.
     
  3. crullerdonut

    crullerdonut Warlord

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    "extraordinarily poor" is right: where's the food? Where are the rivers?
    I'd say that you were definitely right about building the Great Lighthouse, as a way to get some kind of :commerce:.
    I think that many people would say that Monezuma's Sacrificial Altar is one of the best Unique Buildings in the game, since Slavery is already so powerful. But Slavery, being a tool to convert :food: to :hammers:... doesn't really work out too much, when there's no :food: to begin with.

    Where's the Fresh Water, even? All I'm seeing is that one lake by the capital. Maybe it'd be worthwhile spreading irrigation as much as possible from that lake, throughout the jungle lands. Then, sad as it might be for Montezuma, it might be worth going Caste System and teching/trading for Guilds, in order to get some decent Workshops out. (Caste System/Guilds Workshops are equivalent to a grasslands/hills/mine, after all).
    Being Spiritual, you could still switch into Slavery and whip with your Sacrificial Altar every 5 turns, and then back into Caste System.

    Speaking of Sacrificial Altars, how is your maintenance doing? Looks like you're going to be very spread out and on multiple continents. If you build many cities for the Great Lighthouse, your maintenance will start racking up fast.

    I'm no expert, but I don't like your city placement for Tlatelolco. I would've settled one tile south-east. Where it is now, that Crab (and Whale) to the north is forever inaccessible. Maybe they were obscured by the fog of war. Also, I like settling on Desert tiles, since cities upgrade them from useless to 2:food:/1:hammers:/1:commerce:. In this case, it also would've allowed early growth off one of the Crabs, without first needing to get out the Monument. You also could've used both of those Crabs.

    Could you upload the initial save file?

    Also, request to re-name the exploration Work Boat to Feilimí, since it's the little boat that could :)
    Spoiler :
     
  4. Lanstro

    Lanstro Prince

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    You're right, further north would have been better for Tlatelolco. Gives me the option of squeezing another city in to the south of it with double clam and two hills. I must have been thinking that I had plenty of land already so I'd just minimise the number of cities required to fill it / minimise chances of AIs coming and settling my lands. In hindsight that probability is very low given how far away they are.

    Maintenance right now is not bad. No more than 3.9 in the further city. With each city soon to be pulling in a minimum of 6 commerce per turn from trade routes, cities will pay for themselves easily. With gold and gems, most can grow to size 6 and run cottages and contribute to the economy (just not much military).

    A bit of a mass irrigation project from the lake south seems inevitable. Not sure workshops / caste system is worthwhile before guilds though, it's still only 1/2/0 on grasslands. I'd probably prefer to invest in long term cottages with the occasional whip.

    The initial save is gone, sorry. Got overwritten by another game later. Here's the current save if you're interseted.
     

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  5. f1rpo

    f1rpo plastics

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    Good call prioritizing the Great Lighthouse over early expansion. I wonder if Big & Small normally has multiple civs starting on islands. If you're the only one, then who knows how much uncontested land there is to the west. Well, probably not much actual land ... :p Apparently there's also some more land to the south. There could even still be Tundra Iron somewhere. (To be clear: I haven't checked.) Intervening on the big continent will probably be tough for lack of production; hopefully won't be necessary. The AI leaders you've met so far don't seem all that likely to dominate the continent. Alexander tends to make too many enemies too early.
    (Would be wonderful to have a +1 production islet water feature like Realism Invictus and other mods do.)
     
  6. Lanstro

    Lanstro Prince

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    Ok, session 2 report. We start off at 500BC, with a 4-city civ funded by the Great Lighthouse, with dreams of mapping out a mighty trade network, led by Feilimí himself.

    Unfortunately, as these things go, Feilimí promptly runs into a barbarian galley and meets an untimely demise.

    With the next settler, I decide to settle west instead of the other spots mooted above. I could already see two clams and at least 3 land tiles, so it was going to be no worse than all the other spots. Turns out it's actually going to end up being my second most productive city once it develops:


    The capital pumps out workers, galleys, work boats for all the other cities and settlers. The work boats improve seafood as borders expand, the workers build mines and cottages. One galley goes and continues Feilimí's life work, one is on ferry duty for workers / settlers up north, and one goes to explore the west. Eventually we hit a dead end to the southeast:


    Other civs build the Great Wall and Hanging Gardens, not that we were anywhere near slotting those into the build queue. Unsurprisingly the cities other than the capital are next to useless when it comes to production, though at least stone/gem town can help out with some naval units. We settle the GL great merchant here because it would have no other food surplus otherwise.

    Techwise, we go currency -> prereqs -> civil service -> prereqs for optics. The people we've met are happy to trade techs with me and we're in good shape on that front:


    You will see that Sitting Bull and Joao (who we just met) are starting to fall behind the pack, so potential prey for our riflemen in due course.


    On the military front, we had to fight off some barbarian archers to the south with a hastily chopped chariot, but otherwise barbs are not a problem. Alexander declared war on Sitting Bull. Not sure how well he did, but he's up on the top of the scoreboard so he probably took a city or two. He subsequently declares war on Ramses. Nobody likes that jerk but he's currently all-powerful so we don't say anything to his face. Fortunately he doesn't live in the neighbourhood and hopefully he doesn't even know where we live, so we pretend his growth is not a problem.

    Mansa asked us to convert to Taoism. We're agnostic at heart but acquiesce for public relations reasons. Our closest neighbours are all pleased with us, however some are Confucian, so we might want to build Schwedagon to get into free religion.

    It is now 620 AD, and we are finished with our current wave of settlements. Our mainland is colonised, and the great irrigation project will commence soon:


    The northern islands are... adequate. The copper in the frozen wastelands is the metal we will have ready access to, so our next settler is on the way there:


    The western islands are also average to poor, so we will settle them in due course but they are not a priority:


    You will see a barbarian city in the western islands. We also found another barbarian town near Ramses (actually we found it milennia ago, but turned around because we assumed it would have blocked the GL trade routes):

    We are teching at a healthy ~115 beakers. We are lucky enough to be able to sell all excess copies of clams and fish, keeping the tech rate healthy. We trade horses to Teddy for wine. We're not far from optics, so will meet the last civ soon (fingers crossed they're isolated and dumb), and should have no problems circumnavigating first to lock the game-long naval advantage.

    As we knew all along, the real issue is going to be production. Can we even produce enough units to garrison our cities, let alone carry out an invasion?
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2020
  7. Lanstro

    Lanstro Prince

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    My thoughts on next steps - it's time to build some military, to take the barbarian cities, hopefully end up with a level 4 unit for the heroic epic, and to have the optionality of eventually invading someone or taking more barbarian cities once astronomy rolls around. Depending on what else is near Bantu and beyond, it might be worth keeping it to have a foothold on the main continent.

    The opportunity cost of doing this is faster settlers for the western islands, and building some infrastructure in the capital (in terms of buildings, all it really has is an aqueduct and a library, not even an altar yet). It probably means I won't be able to build the Shwedagon Paya either, but that's hardly assured even if I forego military, and it's not even that good anyway.

    The next step after that depends on what the caravels find. If we find isolated prey then that's the priority, if we find rich unsettled lands then that's the priority. Sufficiently rich lands might just be enough to let us coast to a science win, depending on whether Alexander can be stopped and whether I can slow down the Mali.

    Alexander is starting to run away with it but still well within range. I think we'll just have to let him do his thing. Not worth intervening.

    Might be time to build a spy and steal a tech with it, I should have a reasonable amount of espionage points stored against the Mali.
     
  8. f1rpo

    f1rpo plastics

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    You are aware that Astronomy obsoletes the Great Lighthouse in the mod, right? My instinct would be to avoid that for as long as possible. Galleys are more efficient than Galleons in terms of carrying capacity. That last unmet civ might be spread out across islands like your civ – this would indeed make it an easier target than the civs on the main continent. But I don't see an urgency to find out; trading for Optics at some point should suffice. I'd focus on Liberalism and maybe Economics, Corporation, Constitution to increase the tech lead. (If you weren't aware of the obsoletion change – maybe simply revert it in your copy of the mod ...)

    Roosevelt could eventually dogpile on Alexander. FDR's current power rating isn't bad (I've increased his BuildUnitProb a bit) and he seems to be getting ahead of Alexander in tech. Don't know how close they are geographically. Hopefully the production problem won't have to be solved very soon. Musa can generally attack at Pleased though and doesn't have much else to do; might be prudent to keep an eye on his ship production activities.

    How to get some production eventually ... :think: Creative Constructions at Steel (Astronomy not required) consumes Iron, Copper, Stone, Marble, Aluminum for 0.5 production each. I see only 1 Stone in your land; will get 1 Copper, 1 Marble later. :undecide: Universal Suffrage? I've hardly ever used the hurry ability.

    No further relevant land in the south? No Moai Statues yet?
     
  9. Lanstro

    Lanstro Prince

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    Ah good call on the astronomy, I did know but I'd forgotten that. I'll deprioritise then. Not sure about liberalism/economics, my experience is the AIs prioritise those and it's quite hard to get there first. I've just loaded up the save and at 620AD, Mansa already has paper and philosophy, so if he prioritises it I'm pretty sure he's going to beat me to it even if I were to switch over right now. While the circumnavigation is much more achievable. I'm not leading on the techs as such, I'm just hitting the economic ones first and trading for the others, allowing me to keep up.

    Speaking of tech priorities, my experience has been that the AIs deprioritise scientific method at all costs, so it's not hard at all to get physics and communism first. Seems sensible for the AIs that have the Great Library and lots of monasteries, but not so much for the others. I'm confident that I'll hit those first in due course in this game.

    The north, south and west are all dead ends. You're right I should build the statues somewhere soon, perhaps my western island so I at least have two reasonable production cities. If I'm not getting astronomy then my best bet might be to take Bantu, and if Ramses still has a city or two left over from his war with Alexander, to backstab Ramses and take his last cities.

    I'm a bit concerned about your comment about Mansa potentially attacking me at pleased. I'm his religion at his request, I've traded with him all game, I'm at +9 with him. He's one of the friendliest AIs in vanilla/K-Mod. I would have expected a chance of a backstab from him at this point to be literally 0, and would be disappointed if it wasn't. In fact in this scenario I'd have expected only a handful of the most warlike/sneaky leaders to be a risk of backstabbing me.

    Anyway, will continue later today!
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2020
  10. Lanstro

    Lanstro Prince

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    Session #3, a shortish one. We leave off having settled everything that was remotely break-even, and at a crossroads in terms of building military or infrastructure, and teching for optics or liberalism.

    In short, we went for infrastructure to maximise our tech rate. The capital spent another dozen turns building some basic health like aqueduct, harbour, and of course, more work boats for everyone. The other cities all built libraries and harbours and the like (at snail pace). We build the Moai Statues on the decent western island, and find one more decent settlement location, which we claim:


    We finish optics, and trade machinery to Mansa for paper. We trade for Sitting Bull's world map with some old techs, and find that we only need to cover a few more tiles to circumnavigate, and our two triremes built in preparation do so in no time. They eventually find two pretty sizeable landmasses in the ocean to our southwest, reachable only by galleon:


    Along with some tiny little isles to the northwest that we won't be settling, but I'm sure someone will because that's all that's left in the world.

    On the military front, all that happened with us is building a few warriors as garrison for new cities. Bantu is captured by Mansa (we might have been able to get it if we prioritised military, but most likely not anyway). Alexander seemed to make no further progress against Ramses, and peaced out eventually. He then started a war against Sitting Bull but doesn't seem to be making much progress there either.

    As may have gathered from those screenshots, we then went for Liberalism because Mansa left us an opening by detouring to Divine Right and then engineering, which was the only opening we needed. We divert spy points to Mansa to keep an eye on where he's at, and we see that he's breathing down our neck. We run 100% for over 10 turns, living off at first selling our world map to everyone for an average of ~150 gold each, then selling old techs for a bit of spare change, to in the last couple of turns ridiculous trades like paper to Sitting Bull and Roosevelt for 100 bucks each. We finish Shwedagon Paya and a monastery in our capital in the last few turns to help. It's all worth it because it is now the year 1320 and we will beat him to it by a whisker next turn:


    So now we pause again, because the choice of a free tech will define the rest of the game. The main options are:
    • Astronomy, which is the most expensive tech, and is required to get to the southwestern isles, which if secured will probably be enough for us to coast to a scientific win. However, it will destroy our economy in the short term. We are currently running around 185 beakers with 9 cities. The 3rd and 4th trading routes in those cities are worth an average of ~3 gpt, which means it will destroy around 1/3 of our economy straight away.
    • Nationalism, which is the next most expensive tech, and is on the way to Constitution. However, it itself doesn't do anything for us, and even representation doesn't do much (remember the lack of food?)
    • Printing Press, which is the next most expensive, and which will upgrade around 8 villages. It's not a prereq for anything that's particularly urgent. Turns out we don't actually have that many villages because our cities grow slow and islands don't have a lot of land.
    • Engineering, which unlocks Castles. Could potentially build a few in key towns for that trade route.
    • Guilds, which is cheap but on the way to banking for Economics.
    • Gunpowder, because maybe it's time to build some military?
    And finally, a shot of the main continent:

     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2020
  11. Lanstro

    Lanstro Prince

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    As for where next, I'm inclined to get printing press for free while building 2-3 settlers to get ready to galleon over to the southwestern isles. We will half-finish astronomy, call our galleys back to the capital, and keep a very close eye on what Mansa is teching. We will then tech for economics, but we'll probably get beaten by Mansa. Still fine even if that happens, we still want the trade route. After the settlers are ready or after we are forced by someone else to get astronomy, we will go to the southwestern isles. We will then go for the scientific method techs - we only have one monastery in our entire empire so that's no skin off our backs.

    I've given up on ever having decent production or a military. I think adding the southwestern isles will get us enough land to secure the science win, so the priority is to just keep as many people happy as possible, and when we reach combustion we will build a modern navy to keep people off us. We may need to switch back to Taoism / organised religion after this round of techs to keep Mansa on board, because he's only +6 when I'm in free religion.
     
  12. f1rpo

    f1rpo plastics

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    He can attack at Pleased in BtS (and K-Mod), but it looks like the probability would be extremely small here. Naval war has to be "total" war in BtS, and Musa's base per-turn probability for that (MaxWarRand) is 1/400, same as Gandhi's. High unit spending (unlikely for him without a prior war plan) and the Aggressive AI option can increase that probability, but probably by no more than a factor of 5, and there's still the 90% no-war probability. Not 100% though, so I don't think he's intentionally designed to be entirely peaceful. His probability for dogpile wars is above average too. I read that as "uneager but somewhat unscrupulous."

    I do think he should've been Friendly at this point. Friendly at +9 really would play better. +10 is not only too difficult to reach, the Pleased interval is also (still) too long; +4 and +9 shouldn't be treated the same way. I'm guessing that the relations breakdown was something like this:
    Spoiler :
    +2 OB
    +2 years of peace
    +1 accepted our religion
    +2(?) care for our faith bros (still charging up)
    +1(?) fair trade
    +1 first impression
    Maybe OB diplo should be allowed to go up to +3 through prolonged, profitable trade. Fair trade could also reward the full trade value more; still mostly based on the difference in trade values.
    Good for you, but ... :rolleyes: The AI needs to
    - Go a bit out of its way to avoid founding a non-favorite religion.
    - Forget about the favorite religion once it is invested in a different religion.
    I look forward to changing that when I finally get around to it. Sounds like Engineering is also being overrated.
    :drool: You could cross over through border spread from a city founded west of the Horse. Also, Ironclad doesn't require Astro. That said, Joao could already be researching Astro and I agree that it's crucial to claim much of that new land.
    Pretty useless now that you have Liberalism, isn't it? Could've kept it queued indefinitely for fail gold.
    Engineering can already be traded for and Guilds soon, it looks like. As for land units, I'd pick Printing Press for Rifling, not Gunpowder. Nationalism: I wasn't sure how much surplus seafood there is. OK, if Representation isn't much use, then drafting isn't going to be useful either. Maybe later to fend off some half-baked naval invasion. No Marble yet for Taj Mahal. Constitution is required for Corporation. As are Banking, Economics. Agree that getting Economics first may not be feasible.
    I see four more Creative Constructions resources on the new continent. With imports, you might reach +5 production. I don't know ... State Property looks pretty attractive here – although it doesn't remove colony maintenance (a K-Mod change).
    That might work, but I sure wouldn't blame the AI for having other plans.
    • Musa: If he's Friendly, then he really shouldn't attack. Should be enough to pacify him if and when he starts producing troop transports.
    • Roosevelt seems too small and remote to affect anything on his continent. Shouldn't attack at Pleased (through a change of mine), but if you're totally a sitting duck and he has no other way of staying competitive, then I wouldn't bet the farm.
    • Alexander: One of your cities is pretty close to him now. But I doubt that he'll take a break in between attacking Ramesses and SiBu. Doesn't seem to be snowballing either. I guess he'll finish off Ramesses eventually – if Caesar doesn't step in.
    • Sitting Bull: Busy with Alexander.
    • Caesar and Joao could of course target you eventually. Caesar might also attack Joao.
     
  13. Leoreth

    Leoreth Vampire of the Blue Moon Moderator

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    I'm not on your level but my gut says Astronomy. I think all that land is worth taking asap even for the short term eco hit. New cities bring in trade routes as well. Although it sounds like you're not ready send Settler Galleons right away regardless...

    That said, it seems like f1rpo is correct about using the city SW of the Horse to establish a connection without Astronomy. I would really rush that continent either way though.
     
  14. crullerdonut

    crullerdonut Warlord

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    RIP :(
    Ah well, it was destined to happen anyway. In the song, Feilimí ends up wrecking his boat on the island of Tory.

    Mansa Musa has always been one of the leaders which is capable of plotting wars while at Pleased. However, I personally don't remember being attacked by a Pleased Mansa Musa.

    Speaking of which, I'd say that Divine Right needs to be made at least slightly attractive. As it is, once the Divine Right wonders have been built, it's a totally worthless tech. It's pretty annoying to have civs keep trying to pawn it off on you, well into the modern era.
    Besides the "build :espionage:" idea, maybe it could give +1 :espionage: to specialists, or maybe +25% :espionage:. (Rationale in terms of flavor: Divine Right of Kings, which allows the building of Versailles, enhances the centralization of power as exemplified by the Sun King Louis XIV. This central court was attended by ambassadors/courtiers from across Europe; this centralization would allow for greater ease of spying on those ambassadors.)

    I agree that it's pretty important to colonize those islands. Losing the Great Lighthouse will hurt a lot, but you could partially offset that loss in :commerce: by building an Observatory at your capital. Additionally, Astronomy also allows intercontinental :traderoute:, which are lucrative. So, while the loss in 2 trade routes everywhere will hurt, it's something that you'll have to deal with eventually, and it doesn't have to be devastating.
    Also, after colonizing those islands, you'll have a lucrative tech to sell to other civs, and you should be able to get some good stuff from it.
     
  15. Lanstro

    Lanstro Prince

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    Didn't consider letting Schwedagon just fail. It certainly felt necessary at the time to finish it - after all, Mansa only trails me by 1 turn to Liberalism. In hindsight I probably could have beaten him still by just building science instead, it's a close call. At least the 2 prophet points aren't useless, it'll hopefully turn into an extra GP at some point for an extra GA.

    As for hammers, yes long term I think the it will just have to come via state property, suffrage and workshops. Maybe the Kremlin to cut purchase costs. I don't even have any decent ways of guaranteeing the GP that I'll need to found corporations.

    Good catch re the horse crossing to the SW, but unfortunately it'll take 2 border expansions (ie 120 culture) to do that, and I seriously doubt the islands will still be available by then. Also good point re Joao perhaps already researching galleons. In fact his carracks already allow him to get there already, so it's even more of a priority.

    It'll take ~15 turns to manually research astronomy. I'm still inclined to manually research it while I build the settlers and get my galleys into position. I've got enough trade partners that the top 2 trade routes everywhere can be international routes, so I won't get much (any?) benefit from that aspect of astronomy. I also won't be building observatories just yet - need to get those settlers out.

    So if I pick astronomy, it'll roughly cut my beaker output by ~60/turn and I won't get any tangible benefit out of it for at least 10 turns while I build settlers -> loss of at least 600 beakers, offset by the 600 beaker difference between astronomy and printing press.

    If I pick printing press, I don't lose the 60 beakers/turn for the next 10 turns, but at least I'll gain at least 8 commerce per turn for 10 turns. So it already comes out ahead in the first 10 turns. I'm inclined to think it's also marginally better between turns 10-15. After turn 15, I would have both techs after turn 15 in both scenarios, so the economic outcome will be the same from then onwards.

    For completeness, what's obvious from this discussion is that I have no chance at getting to economics first unless I pick guilds and go straight for economics, skipping astronomy. I think a low to medium chance of securing economics first is nowhere near as good as ensuring a medium to high chance of securing those two islands, so that option is out.

    Will get back onto this a bit later today. In the meantime, for those playing at home and disappointed I didn't save the 4000BC file, here's another very similar start as Churchill that I'm playing in parallel - but even easier. The games are playing out very similarly, except there are actually hammers on the starting continent. I'm well on the way to my maiden win in this one.
     

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  16. Lanstro

    Lanstro Prince

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    Session report - it's a big one.

    Colonisation

    I went with printing press. Just couldn't stomach losing those trade routes so quickly. Hard teched astronomy, while Mansa got Nationhood but then started breathing down our necks with Astronomy too. While astronomy was being researched, I build 3 archers and 3 settlers, and gather 3 galleys and 3 workers. Kind of an Aztec Noah's ark escaping the collapsing economy on the mainland. And collapse it did upon completion of astronomy, falling by around 1/3 like we knew it would.

    We beat Mansa to astronomy by about 5 turns, and plop down our new settlements. We find that Joao has gotten there first with one city - how rude! Fortunately his city doesn't claim any crucial resources. We later learn that our city on that island is the one that has oil (not shown in this screenshot):

    See the 134 beakers/turn at 30% in that screenshot? How the mighty have fallen.

    Mansa must have had a galleon on the way too, because once I plopped those cities, he then settled the horse city on my continent. How rude again. But it does give us a potential espionage discount town later on, should we need it.

    Research

    With our collapsed economy, and the detour to astronomy, we have no chance of getting to economics first. He went on his own big detour over to representation and even democracy, but we can't even afford lamps or paper for our scientists, so it's not even close. We pop a great merchant and use it as a golden age, but he beats us by about 15 turns to economics. We could have probably gotten there first if we'd picked guilds from liberalism and beelined it, but then we'd have surely lost some of the islands. I'm satisfied we made the right decision. Turning to free markets salvages some of our lost income, but our scientists are but a shadow of their old selves.

    On the bright side, we seem to be treading a reasonable line of keeping people occupied with each other and not too annoyed with us. I mean Caesar and Alexander kind of hate us, but let's be honest, are they really people anyway? We are still able to trade for steel, replaceable parts and a few other bits and ends, putting us behind the lead pack in the tech race but not hopelessly so:


    (Note: It looks like Mansa's only 3 techs ahead of us, but no. He actually has representation, democracy and corporations, and is 61% of the way to chemistry, which he will probably finish within 2 turns. It's the third quarter and the championship team is kicking into gear, a gear we just don't have. The only thing we've got going for us is the AI's aversion to scientific method. We're going to be good little commies in 5 turns, which will hopefully salvage a bit more of the economy, and we should have no trouble getting to physics first too, for a free scientist.)

    The world right now is split in 3 tiers: Mansa, the haves and have-nots. We sit between the latter two tiers for now. We expect ourselves and Rome to join the haves in due course, and perhaps we can join the Mansa tier of teching one day once our newest cities start kicking in. We are currently generating around 300 beakers/turn at 1625AD, which is pretty woeful for this stage of the game. We can only hope that marxism saves us all.

    Diplomacy

    The other big movements in this session were in diplomacy. During the race to astronomy, Roosevelt was open to being bribed to go to war with Rome, so we do so with printing press. That elicited a quick peace in the Rome-Egypt war, saving Egypt from assured annihilation. A few turns later, Roosevelt and Caesar also peace out. We're trading with Caesar's worst enemies. So Caesar hates us.

    Roosevelt built the Apostolic Palace for Judaism, binding us to the first resolution to break all trade agreements with Alexander. I was actually starting to thaw the frosty relations before that happened, so instead Alexander now hates us even more than he used to. But everyone hates him anyway and he's still pretty far away, and you can't please everyone...

    Mansa also went into free religion early in the session, bringing relations to only around +5. We have been investing almost all of our espionage into him so fortunately we can see that for most of the session, he wasn't building up militarily.

    Later, Rome declares war on Joao, and we breathe a huge sigh of relief. Joao puts up a feeble fight and loses 2-3 cities pretty quickly, but then appears to hold. Caesar has recently ended open borders with us, and then a dozen turns later a trade for his dyes. Ominous.

    It is now 1625AD, and Mansa has certainly started a build up. We can see about 4 galleons, a few caravels, and excluding garrisons, there are probably around 8 riflemen, 3 catapults, and misc bow units. We are concerned.

    Military

    It's a novel concept, but I finally started building some military this session. With two barbarian cities nearby, we certainly want to secure them before the AIs. By the end of the session, we have just captured both cities, and our unit count is as follows:


    Five of those macemen are double city raiders, so they'll be promoted to riflemen in due course, if we ever go to war.

    You'll see we also have a Great Engineer and Great Prophet sitting there. We'll get a Great Spy in 5 turns, and most likely a Great Scientist in another ~15. GAs cost two GPs right now.

    Our capital and the island directly to the west have decent production, and they're essentially on full military production duties now. We need drydocks and frigates soon, to feel a bit safer about Mansa's buildup.

    As for us being the aggressor, the only one we could vaguely maybe take on if they were all asleep are the Egyptians:


    Further expansion?

    Here's a wide shot of the little western isles. Yes Alexander did manage to nab one of those spots too, not that we were prioritising it:

    Here's a potential double oil spot just to the south. This is the only easy access to oil for the Mali, so settling it may deny him oil:


    Portugal and Egypt also don't seem to have access to oil, though there's a spot in the frozen northern wastelands pretty close to Egypt.

    Finally, a shot of our city screen:


    The game is delicately poised. I don't think it's any exaggeration to say that the next session will determine whether we win or lose this game. Here's the save for anyone who wants to take it for a spin.
     

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    Last edited: Jul 27, 2020
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  17. Lanstro

    Lanstro Prince

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2004
    Messages:
    326
    As for what to do in the next session:
    • Tech. Tech path seems straightforward. Secure the great spy, secure the great scientist, reveal coal, trade for rifling, and start getting the prereqs for drydocks, frigates and ironclads so we can start building them ASAP. If we can get there, we don't necessarily automatically lose if someone declares war on us. We have many outlying islands, which will hopefully act as our canaries and allow us to scramble a defence before the mainland is threatened. The greedy alternative is to get democracy and so have suffrage and emancipation up and running ASAP. That seems suicidal.
    • Production and improvements: My two vaguely productive cities need to build military nonstop from now until the space age. The other cities will just have to keep building infrastructure. Some of our newest cities will actually end up having reasonable production because we're going with lumbermills and workshops there. The main continent is now fairly irrigated, and we can build workshops on the remaining tiles.
    • Civics: In other words, communism or corporations? We will have a scientist and engineer, so a decent range of choices open to us. But we have very few spare resources - 5 claims and 2 cows, otherwise all our excess is being sold to keep up with the tech rate. Together with the lack of hammers, the corporations' upkeep and the opportunity cost of using the GP on a corporation, it seems like clearly communism here.
    • Further colonisation: I don't think the little western islands are worth it. There is one spot that can secure a fish, a copper, and have a hill and two land tiles, but I don't think that's quite good enough to bother. On the other hand, with communism, it's also basically free. The other consideration is whether to settle oil town south of the Mali - it'll drain our economy but most likely block oil for Mansa. Worth it? I'm leaning towards yes. If we survive to destroyers and he doesn't have oil, he's no longer a military threat.
    • Diplomacy: Not sure what I can even do here to improve my position. Occasionally Roosevelt is open to being bribed to go to war again, but with my spies having mostly kept their eyes on Mansa, I don't even know if he can stand up to Caesar any more. Not sure I want to annoy Caesar any more either. I do know that I'm scared. If anyone in the top half of the scoreboard declares war on us in the next 30 turns, we're probably dead. We have some friends in the world, but they're either untrustworthy like Mansa or pretty weak like Ramses, SiBu and perhaps Roosevelt.
    • Religion: This is the one diplomatic lever we have. We could switch to Judaism to curry some favour with Caesar (only -3 right now), and secure our relationship with Roosevelt (+5) and Ramses (+6). Mansa should stay the same, and the only major power who will be annoyed is Alexander (-6 already). SiBu will also like me less but I don't think his opinions matter at this stage. We don't actually have Judaism in many cities, but it is in the capital. So theocracy will let my pre-drydock navy pop out with a promotion and our land units with 2. I'm leaning towards doing it - it's not like we're in a head to head science race right now.
    • Starting our own war: seems suicidal, but maybe we could go pinch the last Ramses cities? Once we trade for rifling, we should have brought the new barb cities under control, and a small force of city raider rifles and cannons and airships should be able to slowly push into him and take him. Opens us up to a game-ending backstab by just about anyone though. And other than Thebes, it's not like his cities are actually any good (ha, who am I to talk?), and they'll be swallowed up by neighbouring culture quickly. I think that's a no.
    • The Great People: Not sure what to do with them really. The prophet will almost certainly be saved for a GA. The future scientist should probably build an academy - can you believe I still don't have any? The engineer I'll probably save for Ironworks. So I suppose that means the spy and the prophet will trigger a GA, ideally post-democracy so I can maximise the benefits on my now reasonably numerous grasslands towns. Those are certainly the straightforward options, keen to hear any creative alternatives. We won't be getting many more GPs this game, almost certainly not three different ones for a third GA.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2020
  18. crullerdonut

    crullerdonut Warlord

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2020
    Messages:
    103
    I think that State Property is definitely the way to go, due to how massively spread-out your empire is. You could also just spam the Workshops on your main continent everywhere there's Grassland, getting a lot of :hammers: that way.

    If you're the first to Communism, perhaps you could use the Great Spy to do a mission against Mansa Musa, and then just steal whatever you need from him. Then you would attack him and take over some land, getting a foot-hold on the main continent. However, how many other civs are friendly with Mansa? Doing this might get you a lot of the "You declared war on our friend!" penalty, which may not be desirable. On the other hand, it might be nice to have Mansa as your vassal, for techs.

    The double-Oil city might not be too bad. Just build 10 :culture: to pop the border, and then build Wealth :gold: forever.

    I don't have much experience with such water-based empires, so I'm not sure how useful my advice here would be. Frankly, I reckon that I'd lose this map. So, good luck! :goodjob:
     
  19. Lanstro

    Lanstro Prince

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2004
    Messages:
    326
    I hadn't even considered taking on Mansa given how far ahead he is technologically, but perhaps I am underselling myself. His military strength ratio is only 2.0 and if I can deny him oil, so it might be possible in the tank/bomber age.

    As for your water empire comment - I find they're actually much easier than land games in AdvCiv, because you can often ignore military completely pre-astronomy like I did in this game to focus on other things. After this game I'll have to post another follow-along game where I spawn on a continent - I can tell you it won't go nearly as smoothly as this game.
     
  20. f1rpo

    f1rpo plastics

    Joined:
    May 22, 2014
    Messages:
    1,156
    Location:
    Germany
    Oh, right. A single pop would've been fast through Caste System. Which reminds me that some of the Monuments and Theaters could probably have been avoided by switching to Caste System occasionally.
    Seems that humans usually start on the islands due to the difficulty level. Or it's just a coincidence. (I don't suppose you reroll until you get an island start?)
    It might be that Roosevelt only agreed to attack Caesar because Caesar didn't have Open Borders with Sitting Bull and therefore was unable to reach Roosevelt. Doesn't really matter. Being Caesar's worst enemy and him having Rifles vs. your Macemen is calling for trouble. In the latest savegame, Caesar's relations with Sitting Bull are even worse than with you. I guess you're remaining Caesar's worst enemy due to inertia. Anyway, +1 will be enough to get back to Cautious. He also seems to have surplus health resources. The low health levels are worrisome with industrialization on the horizon. If he attacks Portugal again, you could annex the nearby Portuguese colony. Probably just +2 relations (while the war is ongoing); maybe even just +1.

    Alex fortunately has only one coastal city on the large continent. That should make him a nonconcern. Might even be safe to take his colony near you. Well ... :undecide:
    Perhaps still worth spreading for the +2 production Temples.
    If you have a spare Caravel, perhaps keep an eye on Roosevelt's ports, just to avoid surprises.
    Rifling could've lead him to war preparations. You and Ramesses both seem like plausible targets. Could check through a gift request if you haven't recently. (But if he refuses, it doesn't have to mean that he has a war plan already, and he could also randomly refuse.)
    I don't think I would've bothered conquering Uzbek (Copper + nothing, especially no food). Hm. You did get a Forge and Granary, and I guess you had the Macemen already. The Barbarian cities must be what has triggered the "ruthless expansionism" penalties. Those weren't intended for Barbarian cities, but I guess it's OK. Should go away soon as Barbarian culture is easily displaced.
    crullerdonut could be right about the spy being more useful for stealing tech than for a GA. Not sure how much the GA production would currently benefit you. You're about to connect Marble at long last. Could still build National Epic and maybe get another GP before long. Where to put Ironworks? Cincinnati I guess, or what it's called. All those Forests should make the bad health tolerable.
    If Musa does not continue to build up his military, he could be a feasible target. With Cannons or something better.
    Doesn't look like someone else will trade Oil to Mansa Musa, but there is some Oil up north. I wonder if the AI would settle a city with an Oil source and literally nothing else. Maybe you should settle the southern Oil just so we can find out. :mischief:
    I wouldn't get the Scientist sooner than necessary. They'll probably get Scientific Method in trade from you, but, even then, I'm not sure if the AI will pick Physics over e.g. Chemistry. That Scientist is essentially half a tech at this point(?).
    Against Caesar, naval deterrence seems like the best bet. Against everyone else, a land force could work too – and could also be used offensively against Mansa Musa.

    Corporations: Maybe if that decision had been made earlier. Though the distance maintenance costs were always going to be high. Creative Constructions may have had some potential. Coal and Uranium for Mining Inc. are still to be revealed. Well, I'd stick to the State Property plan. Perhaps should've skipped Economics.

    A couple of things I noticed in the savegame: The capital has an unimproved Clam. Customs House doesn't seem worth building now that Great Lighthouse is obsolete. One will bring 3 commerce, the other 5. Banks would be 11-13 gold, but that'll probably change under State Property. Also not sure about Altars when you're about to switch to State Property. I guess you'll still need them eventually. Still missing 3 Universities for Oxford.

    Always just makes me think of Fellini and how he liked to use undulating plastic sheets for the ocean surfaces in his films.
     

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