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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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    I don't reroll specifically for island starts. In fact they tend to be pretty poor starts, often even worse than in this game, so if eg I'm Zulu in an uninspiring isolated spot I'd probably reroll it. That said, I tend to struggle a bit with land starts, so in many of those I'm dead by about medieval age, which means island starts are over-represented in my games that go late.

    Good call on Physics. I'll just hold onto Method and keep an eye on what people are teching. I'll also have a look around with what I can achieve with the great spy; I suppose I'm not triggering the GA yet anyway.

    The clam in the capital I haven't worked due to health reasons, so never bothered sparing the production for that workboat. I wanted an altar for the short term money savings and a few more espionage points (at least now I can see most people's military ratios). I'll squeeze in a bank in due course. I like customs house because the corporation trade route is still coming, and it scales nicely with the future bank and perhaps one day I'll build a market and grocer. It's a fine balance between building marginal commercial buildings like these and more military that further drains the economy, a balance I don't always get right.

    Uzbek is on a reasonably sized island, and we haven't revealed coal or uranium yet. I think I'd always keep that sort of city when communism will render it almost free shortly.

    Alright so this all leads me to think that my immediate moves for the next session will be:
    • adopt state property, go towards steam power, get some workshops on the main continent, trade for rifling and keep building up military;
    • settle the double oil to block Mansa and keep open the option of taking him on later;
    • switch to judaism/theocracy to hopefully keep Caesar on board;
    • see what we can steal with the great spy;
    • watch world affairs closely and jump into a dogpile if the opportunity presents itself.
     
  2. crullerdonut

    crullerdonut Warlord

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    I always think it's a funny little joke in the game that, apparently civilizations needn't have any knowledge of basic Economics, in order to discover Communism.

    Request to re-name a Great Artist as Federico Fellini, if one pops up. :)
     
  3. Lanstro

    Lanstro Prince

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    As for the skipping economics point, I think it was still worthwhile finishing. Guilds and Banking were just traded for, so it was only the beakers sunk into economics that were potentially wasted. I used it as trade bait to get parts of gunpowder and other misc techs, and the extra trade route in the meantime is not trivial: ~12 cities multiplied by ~4 gpt for the duration of researching at the least communism and scientific method. Also Mansa has a +2 modifier while I'm in free market, hopefully that delayed any backstabby plans.
     
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  4. Lanstro

    Lanstro Prince

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    Short but momentous session. We leave off from last session having secured the remaining worthwhile expansion spots, starting to build a military, while cowering in fear of our own shadow.

    Diplomacy

    On loading, we switch to Judaism / theocracy, and are disappointed that it only resulted in a +1 boost to relations with Caesar. Still scared.

    But the very next turn, Caesar declares war on Alexander. Huzzah! We are safe for now. We take the opportunity to sneak in a bit more infrastructure on our main towns rather than more military.

    A few turns later, Roosevelt also dogpiles on Alexander. Our initial joy turns to concern. Alexander has no chance against the might of both of them. And so it proves - over the next few turns, he loses around 4 cities to them, including Athens to Rome. Alexander is neutered. But Rome is going to be scarier than ever once this war is over.

    We can see that Mansa is continuing his military buildup, so we are concerned. We hear the war sound effect... and it turns out he declared on Sitting Bull. Phew for us. He takes a town in quick order, but nothing much else seems to happen.

    A couple of turns later, Roosevelt asks us to join the war against Alexander. We say why not and join the pile on. We never liked that jerk.

    A few turns after that, Roosevelt is willing to sign a defensive pact with us. We have never signed a legal document this quickly in our lives. With Alexander out of the way, Roosevelt is essentially the equal #2 power in the world (equal with Mansa). Caesar is still scary at #1, but he and Roosevelt love each other due to their religion, so we shouldn't have trouble from Rome any more. Mansa won't dare to test us with Roosevelt on our team. Our survival is guaranteed under this arrangement. Life is good. We have never felt this safe all game.

    We sail over to take Alexander's little island near us, just to get a bit more relations with everyone. Our relationship with Caesar has actually improved to 0, and under state property, why not get more land:


    You'll see from one of the next shots we have uranium too, and our military is starting to be... well, not good, but less non-existent.

    Techs

    With the rapidly developing diplomatic situation and buddying up with Roosevelt, you can probably surmise that I had no trouble securing necessary tech trades. Once we secure communism and put a few turns into physics, we trade scientific method to Mansa, Joao and Roosevelt for nationhood, rifling and chemistry. We on-trade some of that for corporations and representation. Our great spy allows us to steal democracy from Mansa, and we still have ~1500 points left over for the future. Mansa spends the session teching military tradition and science, and loses out to the physics scientist to us by a few turns. This leaves us in a healthy technology spot again:


    Having snuck in some intel agencies and now building some half-priced jails, we are in good shape on the espionage front too, with <100% cost against the big 3 of Mansa, Caesar and Roosevelt. Mansa is only 71% in fact.

    We have also secired the physics great scientist ahead of Mansa. Not sure what to do with him - academy is only worth about 25 beakers in my best science city, but ~1800 beakers into biology also seems not that useful. Half a GA for a bit of a tech/infrastructure boost might actually be the play. Perhaps we can use the next GP spawning in 11 turns to bulb something useful towards the end.

    Mansa has something like 5 religions in each of his core cities, so scientific method probably actually hurt his tech rate quite a bit. We have recovered to ~500 beakers/turn, and once our new landholdings get off the ground properly, we should have no trouble keeping up/ahead of him.

    By the way, while monitoring what he was doing over the last few dozen turns, I saw he was often building missionaries. I suspect he was in a pretty dumb endless loop of spreading religion to his cities that already had too many religions, which cause other religions to die out, then rinse and repeat.

    Colonisation and economy

    We settle the double oil spot to deny Mansa. Amusingly, this causes him to settle this spot in the middle of my islands for the offshore oil:


    The early game mistake with settlement locations coming back to bite us a little I suppose. So we didn't quite deny him oil, but at least he'll have to wait until plastics. That is a big window for us to hit him with tanks and bombers should we wish. Even post-plastics, assuming he doesn't get the Ethanol corp, when war breaks out, it will be trivial to pillage it on turn 1.

    I'm inclined to also just settle another western isle in the next session, just to have another canary.

    We have state property workshops, lumber mills and suffrage towns up now. Ironworks was rushed in one of the forest-heavy new islands. Production is finally non-zero. Not amazing by any stretch, but at least we can produce some ships or rifles if we need them.

    So we're back, in a big way. I'm actually inclined to think that the game has been won in this session, and it's now ours to lose. The big question to be resolved is who to attack, to secure the win.

    On a side note, I'm now at my 100MB limit for uploading media to civfanatics, so not sure how to deal with that for future posts. Guess for the time being I'll delete less important screenshots and minimise shots going forwards.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2020
  5. Lanstro

    Lanstro Prince

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    So as for who to plot against, I think it's Mansa. He's the closest to me, he's my only serious competition for the science win, and he's not particularly strong. He has about 3-5 riflemen in each city, but without oil, his infantry shouldn't stand a chance against bombers, tanks and destroyers. Perhaps I can also get SiBu to like me enough to vassalise as part of that too, though from memory that guy hates being vassalised. If Caesar declares on me during this time, at least they'll either come at me via the main continent (ie front on with where my troops will be) or across the ocean (in which case he'll go through my canary islands first, giving me plenty of time to prepare).

    The other main choice is Caesar. Technologically he's quite behind - no rifling, economics or method yet. But Caesar is big and scary, and it'll damage my relations with Roosevelt. It seems like the high risk high reward option in a situation when I'm already winning - ie an unnecessary risk.

    The third option is one of the minnows. Egypt and Joao will both probably struggle against my tech lead, especially with no oil.

    I could even go try take a city or two off Alex before he dies to Caesar, but there's probably not much point having a couple of random Greek cities at the edge of the continent. Seems more likely to give Caesar a reason to attack than anything. The biggest plus for this option (not that it's mutually exclusive with the others) is I keep the defensive pact.

    Finally there's the do nothing and concentrate on the economic/scientific techs option. That appeals to the lazy guy in me. Maybe the defensive pact will hold the rest of the game, in which case I should have sufficient land to win the science game. But I think it's much safer to go and take someone out and coast to the victory from there - doing nothing risks Caesar eventually dominating most of the continent and overhauling or killing me.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2020
  6. Leoreth

    Leoreth Vampire of the Blue Moon Moderator

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    Mexican communists with a Jewish theocracy where everyone is allowed to vote? Your civ is every alt-righter's nightmare.

    I enjoyed the read, and it looks as if things are going well. Would have been strongly tempted to go for Sushi over communism but that wouldn't have been the smart choice. Targeting Mansa next seems right. I'm just wondering what the best timing is. Is drafting an option?
     
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  7. crullerdonut

    crullerdonut Warlord

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    In my experience, it's rarely beneficial to build a second Academy. And you're right, Bulbing in the late game really only saves you a turn or two of research time. Cases like this are when you really miss having the Mausoleum of Maussollos.
    If you wanted to do something a little cheesy, you could:
    1. Switch into Free Market and Universal Suffrage/Slavery for 5 turns
    2. Use the Great Scientist to found Aluminum Co. in your Wall Street (or future Wall Street) city
    3. Procure as many Aluminum Co. execs as you can
    4. Send them to the capitals of as many rival civs as you can (making sure that they are not running Mercantilism or State Property)
    5. Switch back to your normal Civics after 5 turns
    You do get the 4 :gold: per foreign city in your Headquarters, even if you're running State Property. However, you cannot make Execs while under State Property. You also don't get the 4 :gold: income from any other civilizations running State Property. However, Mansa Musa seems to avoid State Property, so he seems like a good target, at least. AIs seem pretty good at spreading your corporations for you, so long as you seed them.
    You could also do this much earlier with Standard Ethanol, which opens up at Combustion rather than Rocketry. However, keep in mind that this would provide Oil, so it might not be desirable for, e.g. Mansa Musa. Either of these corporations provide the AIs with some :science:, but it's really not that much.

    I hope that's not the case, for AdvCiv's sake.

    Can you just upload pictures as attachments, using the "Upload a File" button next to "Post Reply"? That's what I've been doing, and it apparently hasn't used up any of my gallery space.
    Then, after uploading the picture files, scroll down, and then you can click on Thumbnail or Full Size to place the image at the current cursor location.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2020
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  8. f1rpo

    f1rpo plastics

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    Thanks for clarifying. In the capital, just about any building can be worthwhile. Elsewhere ... there's always Wealth. For me, it comes down to what amortization time is acceptable at a given stage of the game.
    These take time. I think there's another +1 immediately when they own the holy city. (Shrine? Would make more sense ...).
    In the last savegame, Caesar was still Cautious +/-0 toward Roosevelt. I guess the shared war and some forgotten grievances have now resulted in Pleased. Caesar can attack at Pleased of course.
    Life finds a way. Artificial life even.
    So long as you bring collateral damage and somewhat match his power rating, a surprise attack should succeed regardless of the technology. Hit him whenever it's opportune to produce an army I'd say. Getting to Infantry first would be nice because those won't have to be upgraded; should remain relevant for the rest of the game.
    Yes, iVassalPowerModifier=50, so I guess he treats his own military power as 50% greater than it actually is.
    He could head straight for your capital. Maybe the AI is too dumb to plot around the surrounding islands. Once you have a few cities on his continent, I expect that he would target those first and never even build up transports. A defensive war against Rome in Mali lands during the endgame could be a slow affair and wouldn't directly imperil your space victory.
    No reason not to close this loophole, right? I.e. no HQ commerce when in SP. It says "corporations have no effect" on the box, and I think that's what the player should get.
    Also: ScreenShot Format = JPG in CivilizationIV.ini should reduce the screenshot size by a factor of 10 or so.

    The AI sometimes (only when owning the Shrine I would assume) keeps producing missionaries until the national limit is reached for good. Other AI modders were probably aware of this too; the stacks of excess missionaries are difficult to miss in Debug mode. I guess they didn't bother fixing it because it's just 90 production wasted per religion. (Spreading the Shrine religion indiscriminately isn't great, but at least not a complete waste.) The religion displacement mechanism in K-Mod makes this problem a bit more pressing. Mansa Musa has 3 shrines and 5 holy cities. He'll probably succeed eventually in spreading all 5 in all his cities. Maybe I'll look into it. Though Musa shouldn't have founded 5 religions in the first place (as I wrote in an earlier post).
     
  9. crullerdonut

    crullerdonut Warlord

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    Oh no, I definitely think that it should remain as is. Technically speaking, Corporations are different than Headquarters; the latter is a building, a Great Wonder. So, when it says "Corporations have no effect", this is true: all your domestic corporations provide no yield, they cost no maintenance, they give no resources, and they don't even let you build any Execs. You can't found any Corporations and, hence, they cannot construct any Headquarters buildings. Your corporation branches also provide provide no income to the Headquarters building, wherever it may be. So, the Corporations themselves have no effect. However, State Property says nothing about buildings, and the tooltip for the Headquarters buildings says nothing about being deactivated from any Civic.
    Also, the various Corporations' Headquarters are basically like late-game Shrines, which likewise get income even when running No State Religion; even as all special Religion benefits go away (with the exception of :culture:), the Shrines still pull in income anyway.
    This mechanic was known about for a long time: see https://www.civfanatics.com/civ4/strategy/game-mechanics/corporation-the-power-of-sushi-bts/ under "Countering Foreign Corporations".
    In terms of flavor, I can certainly imagine that if there were a Communist revolution, corporations with international activities would be nationalized. Even if the government shut down the nationalized company's domestic activities, the central government needn't cut off income from intellectual property and the like originating in jurisdictions outside their control, and those foreign countries would still be bound by international copyright law.
    And in terms of gameplay, I don't think that foreign corporations under State Property is an unbalanced. You get income, sure, but nothing else. You can't do any additional spreading of your own unless you switch between Civics, which is costly, and you open the door to enemies using your Corporations for their own benefit.
    So, I think the "loophole" should stay. :)

    Wow, how many hidden settings are in there? If the original devs bothered to code in two functioning image encoders, why not just include an option switch for the end user?
     
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  10. Lanstro

    Lanstro Prince

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    Thanks, I found my civ screenshots folder (as opposed to my system shots folder), and have reuploaded with the 300 KB files rather than the 3 MB ones. Much better for everyone.

    Ok sounds like next session I will keep building military and get ready to strike against Mali, probably after I get combustion so I can dominate the navy and pick him off at my leisure. He's the one I used the great spy against so it helps that I can see everything too. Hopefully Mali takes some SiBu cities in the meantime so we can take them in turn. Hopefully Rome doesn't get much bigger in the meantime.
     
  11. Lanstro

    Lanstro Prince

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    It all happened faster than we planned.

    We leave off having secured a defensive pact with Roosevelt, ensuring our safety. We plan on building up our military and stabbing Mansa in the back. We use our scientist and prophet for a GA, planning on racing to infantry before he does and striking if the opportunity presents itself.

    FDR's got moves

    What we didn't expect is that Roosevelt had ambitions of his own. A few turns after we load the game, he takes more of Alexander's cities, vassalises Ramses (voluntarily it seems, after their relationship deepened from being in a joint war against Alexander, and shared religion), and cancels the defensive pact with us. We are confused. And out alone in the cold again. We are at pleased with him right? Right?

    Phew. The war he declares is against Mansa. But that brings its own set of problems - he sweeps into Mansa's border cities (ie the ones that used to be Sitting Bull's) and takes them with no problems. Meanwhile, Rome finishes Alexander off, and declares war on Sitting Bull, again taking some land in short order. The strong are getting stronger.

    On our side of the fence, we finish steam power, and find our only coal is at Uzbek. I did think it was a suspiciously large island without resources. We start on assembly line. We don't have long. If FDR sweeps through the Mali, he will certainly have enough land to challenge us and Rome militarily, and perhaps even scientifically. He was starting to prise our hands away from the victory trophy.

    Time to get our hands dirty

    Our barbarian towns are pacified, and we bring a ragtag team of rifles, maces and cannons over to Bantu first (remember Mansa's ex-barbarian city near the Egyptians that we may have been able to capture thousands of years ago?). On the same turn we were going to declare war, Roosevelt asks us to join him. Of course Frankie, anything for our dear friend!

    Our city raider rifles capture it, but find the Egyptian culture overwhelming in the area, so we sell it to Ramses for 520 gold, which goes into upgrading more city raider maces into rifles and (shortly) infantry. Mansa's tech rate had slowed to a crawl, and he was off researching the irrelevant artillery and rocketry in any case. Our spy steals artillery from him, enjoying a massive 48% espionage discount for culture in his oil outpost that was choked by our culture.

    Our airships and spies tell us that FDR has a stack of around ~25 cavalry, cannons and rifles pushing into Mali lands, while Mansa has around 4-5 cities each guarded by about 6 riflemen or SAMs, plus some wandering cavs and artillery. At this stage, we have something like 5 infantry, 5 rifles, 5 maces, 2 cannons and 8 airships (rendered almost useless by the SAMs). Fortunately it seemed like FDR had already wiped out Mansa's navy, so we didn't have to worry about that. With those infantry in place, Mansa couldn't realistically wipe out our army, it's just that we couldn't take his lands particularly quickly either.

    What we did have going for us is our newest colonies ramping up and some of our old mediocre cities getting some degree of production via suffrage. They had all built the basic infrastructure built, and were ready to contribute what they could militarily. Most could only build an infantry or artillery every 6-10 turns, but when we had around 5 cities like that, plus the Ironworks town, the Moai Statues town and the capital building them every 2-3 turns, for the first time we felt capable of producing a sizeable and contemporary army.

    In short, we started sieging Djenne, while FDR and Mansa traded units. FDR took two of Mansa's cities at great cost, while we took the jewel in the crown, Djenne the double holy city (here shown after pacification in its subjugated glory):


    FDR peaced out at this point for military science, having exhausted much of his army taking four cities from Mansa. At the start of the war, he was around 3 times our military. Now, he was only about 1.5 times. In the same timeframe, Caesar had reduced from about 2.9 times to 2 times also over this timeframe. We feel great about the game again - our big fear at this point was that Mansa would capitulate to FDR, which would have been problematic in the long term. Instead, we could mop up Mansa at our leisure, and we still held a comfortable tech lead over both FDR and Caesar (albeit, both were only a few turns behind us on railroads research at this point).

    Mansa provided some moderate resistance in the southern islands, even taking double oil town from us at some point. But with nowhere near our production and also without infantry, he was never a long-term chance.

    Caesar's still here you know

    Meanwhile, Caesar had reduced Sitting Bull to his final city, peacing out for economics. You may recall that Caesar had a lot of land, a lot of army, but was behind in techs. In this session, he started to catch up on that last front, and our spies reported that he was researching some pretty modern technologies like railroads and combustion by the end of it. Fortunately we also knew that he was still quite behind in other areas - no corporation (ie nowhere near infantry), physics, even liberalism. And he's certainly teching slower than us.

    As we were slowly pushing towards Mali island cities and Timbuktu, Caesar seized his opportunity. FDR was weakened from the war, what was left of his offensive army was stuck in ex-Mali lands, behind broken roads that he had pillaged himself a few turns earlier. He declared on the weakened FDR/Ramses, taking Athens from him, and the jewel in FDR's crown, being New York, the holy city of Judaism.

    At this point I contemplated stopping the session to get more advice from the brains trust here, as my options were to either ignore what was going on there and finish Mali off, or to go help my 'best friend'. If Caesar swept through FDR's lands, I would shortly have one massive gorilla to fight to the death.

    After some deliberation, I decided that it was unlikely that Caesar would sweep FDR aside. They had both just finished railroads, and I figured machine guns would be able to hold some semblance of a line for FDR. At worst, even if Caesar made good progress against FDR, it might shake Ramses out of FDR's orbit, which may have allowed me to vassalise him instead. With Mansa and Ramses as my satellites, I should have still been fine in a defensive war.

    And so we pushed on and took a few more Mansa cities, triggering his capitulation. We return most of his cities to him, but keep Timbuktu and Djenne as our base of future operations (and for that sweet sweet religious gold). We seem to be right on FDR's defensive grit - New York and a few other non-consequential towns swap hands a couple of times, both their relative military sizes reduce, and we feel more and more comfortable as the turns pass.

    The final boss

    To finish the session, we gather our troops from our random islands, and push them east. We are soon greeted by two Roman armies, one holding on to New York:

    And another trying to go reinforce the first:

    And here's about half our army, that's going to divide and conquer them:

    Given his military ratio is 1.5 of mine, presumably he's got more somewhere. But with FDR, Mansa and Ramses on our side, he has no hope. We are moving the bulk of our navy (some freshly upgraded to destroyers) to the canary islands out west, just in case he tries to counterattack via the ocean, or if Joao (who is pretty small, but technologically relevant) gets any funny ideas. We still have another 20 infantry scattered around all the islands or on ships, waiting to join the frontline (if only we had airports already).

    We're in good shape on the tech front. We traded some techs to our new vassal for Biology, and will trade him for rocketry in due course. We haven't made any other technology trades this session - it's no longer in our interest to speed others up. Here's where we stand:


    And finally, a look at our cities, at long last showing some respectable numbers in that hammers column:


    So here we are. I can't see any more potential surprises on the horizon now, and the final session should be a relaxing romp through a technologically inferior and diplomatically isolated foe, as we bring the world into the enlightened and benevolent rule of Chairman Montezuma.
     
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  12. f1rpo

    f1rpo plastics

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    Bloody, bold, resolute. :queen: UN victory on the cards? The scoreboard says that Roosevelt is still only Pleased. Given what you've done for him, he should at least be Very Pleased. But Caesar would have to be kept 2nd in population. :undecide: Space victory is usually a drag. Domination is a different kind of drag. Not much land in your island empire.
    The mod doesn't cancel it upon declaring war, but the AI will cancel after a while when there is a nonjoint war.
     
  13. Lanstro

    Lanstro Prince

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    Yes you're right, the cancellation was separate to any wars. He was still at war with Alex at the end of the previous session.

    FDR is actually only +5 with me right now, despite being on something like +13 when we were in joint wars. He sure has a short memory. His negative modifiers are -3 for vassalising Mansa, -1 for ruthless expansion and -1 for us getting ahead of him. He's already lost the +2 that I used to have with him for joining his wars. Oh well, the way this game's been going, he'll ask me to fight Caesar with him in a moment anyway. Returning NY to him should make him happy.

    Usually I'd actually just finish the game here and call it a win, but for a maiden win I suppose I should actually finish it. I'll give UN victory a go, seems like the fastest way to end it. Otherwise I'll just tech to the science win and smash that end turn button for an hour, could be worse.

    Can I get some feedback on this thread - did people enjoy it? Find it helpful for their own play? I'd like to run through another emperor game, where I'm on the mainland rather than the islands, which to me is a much more difficult proposition in this mod. Would people like to see more detailed reporting or less? More frequent or less?
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2020
  14. crullerdonut

    crullerdonut Warlord

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    Oh yes, it was great. Your writing has a certain kind of dry wit, so it was very enjoyable to read. :) RIP Feilimí :c

    I'd say that it was just the right amount of detail, as well. The number of screenshots was appreciated. (Have you tried uploading the screenshots as attachments yet? It might make it easier for you to put these together.)

    I'm definitely looking forward to seeing your experience on a Pangaea map. Don't be discouraged if you lose!
    Spoiler :
    It's definitely a delicate balance of rapid early expansion, on the one hand, and building enough military so that you can defend yourself from invasions. I played a very quick, abortive game on Pangaea as Alexander yesterday, actually. I expanded too much and got invaded by Gilgamesh and his Vultures, but I didn't have nearly enough Phalanxes (Phalanges?) to avoid losing probably half of my empire, so I just quit that one. :blush: One thing about that game was that I was in desperate need of :commerce: due to the over-expansion. It was going to take 20 turns just to research Pottery. My economy was saved first by a single Silver mine in a small city, allowing me to research Masonry, and then by getting ~250 fail-gold :gold: by building the Pyramids with Stone hooked up. This let me discover Mathematics, which I was able to trade for Alphabet, and then from there, many other techs.


    Also, while you're finishing this game: if you decide to go for a Space Race, maybe you should try building the Space Elevator and see if it's helpful or not. It has +100% Space Ship :hammers:, compared to only +50% in vanilla BtS. Maybe that will finally make it worth it, despite having to tech the usually unnecessary Robotics.
     
  15. Leoreth

    Leoreth Vampire of the Blue Moon Moderator

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    I enjoy your AARs a lot, you go into just enough detail about your strategising to make it engaging to read. I think the size and frequency of the updates works as it is.
     

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