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My Last Civ 4 Game: Mr. Nice Guy


Mar 24, 2010
Calgary, Canada
Well, Civilization V is out, which oddly enough is my nickname, and you know what that means: Civilization IV is going to get filed away at the back of my drawer along with my old copies of Civs 1, 2 and 3 (plus expansions).

As I sat down to play my first Civ 5 game, I knew something wasn't quite right. No, it wasn't my video card, it was that I had no closure with Civ 4. I knew I had to play just one more game.

As I sat down to play my final Civ 4 game, again something wasn't quite right. No, it still wasn't my video card - it was the grim reminder of how I've played Civ 4 these past few years.

I know there are a lot of different ways to win in Civ 4, but I always took the brutal path:
- I would build Archers early just to mess up their improvements.
- While you guys argued about cottage economy vs specialist economy, I always went for pillage economy.
- I went for Bronze Working and switched to Slavery as a matter of course, and sometimes whipped my citizens for virtually no reason at all.
- I never gave anyone a free technology (unless it was a far more devious scheme).
- I conquered all those around me, and then re-named their cities to rude words to add insult to injury.
- I was known to occasionally use WorldBuilder to put bears on every enemy tile.

Long story short, I was not a really nice guy. Well that's now how I want to go out. For my last game of Civ 4, I'm going to be Mr. Nice Guy. Who's with me?

1. I will accept all requests and deals (EXCEPT threats)
2. I will not use Slavery nor whipping
3. I will spare no expense to prevent having unhappy citizens
4. I will not declare war (EXCEPT when someone asked me to)
5. No spying (counter-espionage is ok)
6. I will not make any threats nor demands of my own
7. Hmm ... I'll think of more ideas as we go, but you get the idea.

Because I want to hurry up and play Civ 5, this will be a tiny map, on quick speed, with all map generation on random, but I like throwing in some extra Civs, so it's me and 6 others. I'm going with Monarch difficulty because while I may as lousy a player as I am cruel.

So who's up for this?

Obviously the random country I got can make or break me, so check the spoiler to see who I got and to see my starting position.

Spoiler :

I'll never see you again Civ IV!!
We had such a good time, you and me………

Okay that's enough.
Good luck with your game
Update #1: The first 4000 years. I'll probably do the next update in smaller chunks though ...

It's 1 AD and the Nice Guy Empire is doing great. Despite my new, peaceful approach to Civilization, I'm dominating my continent culturally, economically and I'm the most advanced technologically. My neighbours love me, and my citizens adore and worship me, secure behind a mighty army no one would dare challenge.

Ok only one thing in the above sentence is true.

It's 1 A.D.

Spoiler :

In 3640 BC I ran into my first neighbour, Mehmed, who already had an Archer. My guys were busy trying to figure out how to stack one rock atop another.

Since this was several steps away from his capital, I have only one thing to say to him ... CHEATER! CHEATER!!!

Since the Celts start out with the necessary pre-requisite, I decided to found a religion. I usually choose Hinduism because someone always beats me to Buddhism and then I have to throw my computer out the window. I've lost a lot of good computers that way.

Fortunately I won the race, founded Hinduism, but unfortunately it's not exactly going viral. As far as I can tell, despite being on a small continent with no other religions available, it's only spread to 2 or 3 cities.

And yes, I'm on a pretty small continent with just one neighbour.

Spoiler :

My cities are named Love, Peace and Happiness to reflect my new approach to Civilization.

I beat Mehmed to the gems, but the entire idea was to beat him to that little spot to the north too. Unfortunately a barbarian archer had other ideas ...

My scout explored my continent quickly enough, although there was this one barbarian archer that appeared early in the game, and made it hard to explore. Then the archer hung out in this one area I wanted to settle, and delayed me long enough for Mehmed to beat me there, cutting off my empire. Bah fooey!

Spoiler :

Mehmed couldn't wait for my loser scientists to figure out how to make bronze, so he dragged his lazy archers over to take care of the barbarian himself.

Mehmed founded Bursa just as my Settler was built (in the capital city Love), cutting off Joy and, as I was to later discover, securing a source of Iron for Mehmed. Now I had a Settler with no useful place to settle. Crap!

I should go banish the settler on that tiny island to the west. It would be a great place to exile future Napoleons. But wait - oh yeah, my guys haven't even figured out how to fish yet. My, what a wonderful job I'm doing.

While I was lucky enough to have horses, and to beat Mehmed to the south-western tip of the continent to grab the only source to which he'd have access, I wasn't so lucky with bronze. The only source of bronze was in his territory, so I had to research iron working while trying not to crap myself over the huge advantage he had over my militarily. I even went out and got a milkshake from McDonald's - that usually constipates me to the point where I don't have to worry about crapping myself.

Fortunately Mehmed never attacked, and now I've put together some defenses. Personally I don't see how he could have built such a big army so fast and not bankrupted himself.


Mehmed: 6 Axemen, 2 Swordsman, 5 Spearmen, 4 Archers
Peace-Lovers: 2 Axemen, 5 Chariots, 4 Warriors, 2 Archers

Ok so let's look at my checklist at 1 AD:
- Met only one neighbour because I haven't even figured out fishing: CHECK
- Running at 50% and still falling behind the technology race: CHECK
- Paying 5$/turn to maintain an army that could be easily swept aside: CHECK
- Building all cultural-theme buildings and still somehow falling behind: CHECK

Here's a look at Peace. In hindsight, thanks to that barbarian archer denying me the city to the north, it was a mistake. I denied Mehmed horses and got the gems, but it's cut off, and it was worthless until I could get Iron Working and start clearing out the jungle.
Spoiler :

And here's a look at Love, Happiness and Joy. I founded a religion, built monuments and temples in an attempt to win the territory with culture, but somehow Mehmed was able to beat me in expansion, build a huge army, AND expand culturally faster.

Spoiler :

So what's next? I'm researching Mathematics on my way to Construction to build Catapults and Elephants, that ought to end the military threat hanging over me. After that I'll get Monarchy so that my extra, obsolete units actually serve a useful purpose.

I'll also build libraries to try to turn the tide technologically. And, of course, build some naval units and see if I can find some neighbours - if we're surrounded by ocean I'll have to go for Caravels asap (which will unfortunately make my monuments obsolete).

If my economy improves I might even found more cities on the extremities of the empire that focus on the oceans, to increase trade.

Well that's my update. Until next time, watch out for flying computers.
I enjoy your writing style! Very enjoyable to read. I'm looking forward to reading how it goes. I'm unable to play Civ V - my computers aren't powerful enough - yet....

Oh yeah, are you ready to kick it?

... well too bad, because my last game of Civ 4 is a game where I've forbid myself from doing evil. So ... are you ready to get kicked?

We left our heroes in 1 AD on the ass-end of a continent with Mehmed. They were behind in technology, culture, production, economy, espionage, arms, and hadn't even figured out how to catch those darn little fishies.

But don't despair - I had a plan! A cunning plan, according to Baldrick (who is obviously my chief advisor). I was going to find a really charismatic speaker, elect him leader, give him a Nobel prize, and just naturally assume that everything would instantly improve.

I know, I know - that's crazy talk. Ok well I researched mathematics and construction to get Catapults and Elephants, and I also built Dun Dun Dun Duns in all my cities, so I was a little less exposed militarily. Also, Mehmed was starting to become quite fond of the stumbling buffoons and their repeated failed attempts to farm clams (what? They're tricky!), so the risk of invasion started to fade.

That's around the time Mehmed finally took advantage of my generosity.

Spoiler :

We traded currency for alphabet. We were thrilled to have an alphabet because now we could actually write on our currency so people knew what the heck it was. Just like peanut butter and chocolate, baby!

And I have to admit, the guy IS huggable.

You'll notice that Mehmed was Pleased in that screenshot -and why not? As far as he knows the entire world is our little continent, and he's the master. But don't take his word for it, take it from Thucydides (whoever he is - I think he's a friend of Constipatus).

Spoiler :

Personally I think "pathetic" is a bit strong. My ex-girlfriends must have collaborated on this list

The good news is that eventually a brilliant scientist came running into the royal palace with a huge smile: "Dudes! Wood totally floats!" His revelation was met with stunned silence. "We can put wood on water, and sit on the wood! And totally be ON the water! Dudes!"

It took another hundred years, but eventually we caught on to what he was saying. Sadly we learned that there's nothing but ocean around us. Great - we're America! Better start working on some pox vaccines.

As if the news couldn't get any worse, our buddy Mehmed is obviously a bit of a jerk.

Spoiler :

Ironically he didn't realise that stealing was wrong until AFTER he had stolen the code of laws.

And the bad news just kept coming, as if Civ 4 had a mind of it's own and took this final game of mine as an opportunity to pay me back for all my bad behaviour over the years.

I had created some new cities at the tips of my empire, cities that would ultimately be for trade, building lighthouses and living off the oceans. But fire ants wiped out my pasture. Fortunately they gave me some great options on how to deal with the disaster.

Spoiler :

My ISP have the same response every time my Internet goes down.

Just as 1000 AD was about to come up and I was planning on wrapping up for the day, Civ 4 decides to deliver one more kidney shot. As if "Peace" wasn't useless enough as it is, now the northern area got swept up into Mehmed's culture.

Spoiler :

I founded Hinduism as my very first act, and now it's 5000 years later and it still hasn't spread to more than 1 of my cities. Still, I built a library and a monument, and I'm still losing my cultural borders.

What's worse, I just cleared the jungle in those spots! Now I've got a stagnant city. Peace is useless!

So that wraps up my 2nd update. Despite my hard efforts this week, I'm actually further behind now than where I picked up. I'm still losing big-time in every area, although obviously all those libraries I built has given me some technologies Mehmed didn't have, forcing him to either steal them or simply ask nicely.

Spoiler :

Here's a look at the whole entire world as it stands. There's a little tiny island city on the south-east edge of the map. Notice the three new cities I formed at the extremities of my empire, and notice that most of my original cities are stagnant.

That's a closeup of my main empire. Kindness, Beauty and Tranquility were founded, Love, Joy and Happiness are all stagnant. As you can see I've got a cottage economy going in a semi-successful attempt to salvage this game with trade.

And finally a look at Mehmed's empire. Nice to see that his first city has two wet corn, bronze working, stone, coastal, a nearby river, and even elephants. That's totally fair ...

Now I'm beelining Astronomy so I can cross the oceans and find other people who can take advantage of me. I'm also building the Apostolistic Palace in Love - maybe there's a sneaky way I can win.

Comments, feedback and advice are welcome, and will be used in a self-deprecating manner. Stay tuned!
You're such a nice guy !

All strategy game should go like that. With goodwill and kindness, all men can concurr together to a better understanding.

But I think you forgot something. Our poor planet has a hard time sustaining all those filthy humans. You should grow forests everywhere and start hugging trees. That would be nice !
Question: If you don't plan to win by aggression, tactical prowess, what strategy do you plan to employ?

I guess you would have to plan that before it was already 1500 AD and you were getting your ass kicked eh?

First of all, my little plan to build the Apologetic Palace died a quick death.

Spoiler :

That's ok, I'd rather have the 46 cents I got instead.

But my REAL plan had been to make a beeline for Liberalism - the only area in which I had a tech lead over Mehmed. I got Paper, and was going for Education, and things were going great when Mehmed stole yet another technology from me.

Spoiler :

Before he stole this he had nowhere to write down all the things he had stolen from me.

And despite just having stolen the pre-requisite for Education, he was already only a few turns from Education - something that took me 13 turns.

Spoiler :

If it only takes 4 turns for Education, then you don't need Education.

He eventually beat me to Liberalism by a handful of turns, certainly fewer turns than it would have taken him to research Paper on his own.

I have to give credit to the AI, how did he figure out I was beelining Liberalism, and then do the same thing, and even steal the technology that let him beat me?

Well, maybe if I can just catch a break, I'm about to get a Great Person. If I can just get a Great Engineer! Or maybe a Great Scientist, or even a Great Artist who can help me push back these cultural borders... as long as I don't get a ...

Spoiler :

Well isn't that great. I'll just go ahead and ship him to the farthest city possible and get enough for a Big Mac.

At least things were going just as badly for Mehmed:

Spoiler :

Built the Taj Mahal (with one of his Great Engineers, no doubt), and started a Golden Age:

Then build the University of Sankore, no doubt with another:

Mehmed's probably thinking "What? Doesn't everyone get two Great Engineers? Doesn't everyone steal two technologies and beat their rival to Liberalism by a couple of turns? This game is easy!"

Just when I was languishing in despair, my salvation may have washed up along my shores. A civilization had learned how to cross the ocean.

Spoiler :

To be honest, I was afraid he'd start a war with Mehmed and ask me to participate. Since Mehmed can't travel the oceans, I'd bear the full brunt.

How can I say no to a moustache like that?

I made a few deals with the Mali, picking up several lesser technologies that I had skipped, but I'm still way behind.

So it's 1500 AD, let's look at my checklist:
- Getting my cultural boundaries pushed back despite building every cultural building I can: CHECK
- Religion spread to only half my cities, despite spreading to all of Mehmed's: CHECK
- Way behind on technology despite libraries and cottages everywhere, and a rival who obviously has the time to build big armies and colosseums: CHECK
- Building courthouses everywhere and still losing in espionage to the point where the two times I actually get a technology first, it's stolen: CHECK

I need a new checklist, these probably aren't good goals.

Spoiler :

Notice the stagnation, the the cultural borders pushed back ever further.

See you in another week, where we can see if I can salvage this situation. Suggestions welcome!
Great story and really fun to read.You just showed me why I never take the nice guy route in Civ IV,thanks for reminding me :)
You could always "discover" a few resources or huts (possibly by way of World Editor?),
Not that I condone cheating, but it's not really cheating if they give you the facilities to modify the outcome. I'm not saying add 3 dozen barbarian musketeers to Mehmed side of the lines, but maybe adding a few newly discovered terrain bonuses couldn't be too crazy _ oh looky here - I found some gold under that stump in the forest - right next to the pot of silver - I just had to dig a little further...

Looking forward to the next installment!

I also took a look at your blog site - very entertaining!
This world is too mean for peace-lovers :(

Waiting for the next installment, fun read indeed.
Do you have spys? Place one on sentry in each of your cities at least, that way you won't loose any meager tech advantage you gain from those sedentary scholars you call scientists. Well, at least not as easily as walking into the library and stealing from the reference section...
Great story and really fun to read.You just showed me why I never take the nice guy route in Civ IV,thanks for reminding me :)

Because it's boring? :)

You could always "discover" a few resources or huts (possibly by way of World Editor?),
Not that I condone cheating, but it's not really cheating if they give you the facilities to modify the outcome. I'm not saying add 3 dozen barbarian musketeers to Mehmed side of the lines, but maybe adding a few newly discovered terrain bonuses couldn't be too crazy _ oh looky here - I found some gold under that stump in the forest - right next to the pot of silver - I just had to dig a little further...

Looking forward to the next installment!

I also took a look at your blog site - very entertaining!

You're too kind!

I figure a nice guy wouldn't cheat. And in professional wrestling the standard tradition is to lose your last match - to "go out on your back." Maybe CIV should have the same tradition, and it's ok to lose my last game?

Or maybe I can yet pull this floater out of the bowl ...

This world is too mean for peace-lovers :(

Waiting for the next installment, fun read indeed.

Thanks, I'll definitely find some time to play 1500 - 1750 AD some this week, so stay tuned and you can see my game continue to swirl.

Do you have spys? Place one on sentry in each of your cities at least, that way you won't loose any meager tech advantage you gain from those sedentary scholars you call scientists. Well, at least not as easily as walking into the library and stealing from the reference section...

I thought hard about that - should Mr. Nice Guy have spies? With my luck I'd wind up with Leslie Nielson.

And you're quite right, even if I stopped him from stealing it, he could just ask nicely.

I still can't believe he not only beelined Liberalism, and even stole the technology that allowed him to barely beat me. The more I play, the more the AI amazes me.

Thanks for the comments!
This is awesome.

Ok guys I've played 1500-1750 AD, but if you haven't got time to read my entire update, I've prepared two screenshots for you that give you the general idea.

Slide #1 is entitled "Me Getting Screwed"
Spoiler :

Sub-title: I'm bad at photo-shop.

My favourite one is where my feeble-minded scientists have barely figured out that they have to look UP to see the stars, and yet I suffer a setback (and they start looking at the ground again). No chance of being burned as a heretic among my academics, at least there's that.

Gorilla Monsoon: Why do you always kick a man when he's down, Bobby?
Bobby "the Brain" Heenan: When am I supposed to kick him? When he's up?

Technically I guess it's not a spoiler that I'm getting screwed. My next two great people were merchants - again! I ran them down to Sumer and got about $1500, which I used to upgrade my obsolete military units.

I also love how it's 1705 AD and my brilliant generals think that Copper is the key to our military future.

Slide #2 is entitled "Mehmed Full of S"

Spoiler :

Yes, 150 years and:
- 7 Great People, including 2 Great Spies
- A Golden Age
- Statue of Liberty
- The Kremlin
- And, naturally, he steals Economics. What a class act!

Well on to my update now. I started in 1500 and met the Sumerians 40 years later. Somehow, they he was already annoyed with me. I'm glad to see that I'm as charismatic as I am scientifically advanced and culturally sophisticated.

Spoiler :

He reminds me of my ex-girlfriend in so many ways that it's spooky.

I actually came up with a strategy that might get me back into the mix. As soon as I researched Printing Press, I switched my entire economy to culture.

Spoiler :

Tacitus, no relation to Constipatus.

Week after week of getting my cultural borders pushed back despite building every culture-producing building possible, I decided to start a culture war. I ran this way for about 200 years, managed to push back the borders (you'll see at the end), but fell behind in technology.

Meanwhile I kept meeting more people, and traded technologies to tread water and keep up with the pack as best I could.

Spoiler :

First the Americans.

Wow, I'm actually ahead of him! Well, I'll fix that soon enough. In the mean time I'll deliberately mispronounce his name Roo-sevelt.

Roosevelt: There's nothing to fear but fear itself.
Me: What about polio? Or spiders ... or maybe your husband Eleanor?

Ok, next the Khmer.

He certainly doesn't LOOK like he's looking forward to many years of peace and friendship ...

How come so many of these look and act like ex-girlfriends of mine?

Pretty soon these new "friends" discovered that they could easily take advantage of me.

Spoiler :

Gilgamesh quickly figured out that I can't refuse any offer.

The moustache-loving people of Mali seek a fair trade ... AND ALL YOUR MONEY HAHAHA.

Technically since this was a threat, I refused. It's kind of like on Jeopardy, where you have to ask in the form of a question.

You probably noticed a reference to a war with Roosevelt in that last screenshot. Given how nicely I've always spoken of Roosevelt, you might find it unusual that I'd be at war with him. Unfortunately he attacked the Khmer, and then the Khmer asked for my help quite nicely, so I was forced to go to war with one of my closest friends and trading partners to help a guy who hated my guts.

Spoiler :

I tried to get a screenshot where he wasn't looking at his weiner, but failed.

Well this may not be a great situation, but at least I have a new friend and ally who will never abandon me.

Made peace 5 turns later. A real class act!

Ok well that pretty much wraps up this update.
- I started a culture war to push back the borders with Mehmed, but fell back technologically
- I met all the other players, most of whom took advantage of me
- I'm in a pointless war with the Americans because of the Khmer, who made peace with them 50 years ago
- I got two more Great People, both Merchants. Cashed them in for enough money to upgrade my army, which I also supplemented with some Knights, and a half-dozen Muskets. (Not musketmen, literally muskets. Don't use them all up at once, I told 'em).

Here's my empire. Comments and heckling welcome! We'll play to 1900 next time, and see if we can avoid a World War.

Spoiler :

Pushed back the frontiers, as you can see. But last place. :(

At least Mehmed's not in first.

Are you ready for another update? Too bad, here's one anyway!

Last week we left our heroes in a war with the Americans, drawn in by the Khmer and then abandoned to our fate. We had just completed a 200-year Culture War with Mehmed (our continental neighbours) which left us behind in the technology race - which isn't that bad since Mehmed would just steal any advantage we had anyway.

Spoiler :

Needless to say, our enemy quickly got a Great Engineer. For that matter, there were great people all around:

Fortunately the war with the Americans ended fairly quickly. I upgraded a Caravel to a Frigate, and then hunted down his Caravel and killed it. After that he finally accepted my peace offer.

Spoiler :

It didn't take long for Roosevelt to start asking for things. No, not polio vaccines, but to piss off my neighbour for no reason (always a wise strategy). Fortunately he phrased his request in the form of a demand and I was free to refuse.

Spoiler :

Tuck in that lower lip Roosevelt!

What is this, the year of demanding people cancel deals? And why would someone so Pleased with me start demanding things? And why isn't there an option that says "I'll do it if you shave your moustache"?

Anyway, that's all I have this time, I only played 1750-1800 AD. I hate it when personal life interferes with Civ!

But you can see that the borders are still getting pushed back even though I stopped the Culture War. I'm still in a distant last - can't really think of what to do about that, but try to stay close and hope for a break when a World War inevitably breaks out.

Spoiler :
Take Bursa and Edirne with your culture.

You mean crank up the culture again? If I get those cities, what should I re-name them?

An eye for eye only ends up making the whole world blind. - Gandhi

Technically there will be one guy left with one eye because whoever's last eye he takes won't be able to find him to get him back.

And in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king, so it'll work out pretty well for that last guy.

Umm ... just saying.
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