Never trust Stalin

ThermobaricPunch

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Apr 26, 2019
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I was playing on Noble to practice dealing with random leaders+random maps and I got Isabella. The start was pretty ridiculous (2 gems, gold and wet corn!) so I was able to get ahead very quickly and blaze through the tech tree.

My neighbors were Stalin and Saladin to the north and Joao to the west with Capac further to the west of him, the east was a coastal peninsula all to myself (well, and some annoying barbs). Both Joao and HC rushed religions for some reason while I got Confucianism, and it later spread to Stalin giving me a measly +2 to relations with him and just bumping him at pleased along with trade bonuses and open borders.

Yes I know Stalin is one of those trolls who can plot at pleased so I was still weary of him, but since I was already snowballing by taking out Arabia and amassing a pretty big army with early medieval units I forgot of him. A few turns after I completely conquer Arabia he starts plotting and I assumed it was towards Joao (his worst enemy and probably the weakest in our continent), specially since he was moving his SoD towards the Portuguese border.

A few turns later chaos ensues; HC declares on Joao and proposes me to join the war (I was planning on taking him out next anyway and already had my units in place) and just as I thought Stalin was going to join the dogpile he actually DoWs me instead and with the magic of road movement "teleports" his SoD to my borders and catches me with my pants down as I had mobilized my own army to conquer Portugal.

So by trusting this jerk for a second I managed to ruin a great game; even though I had a tech advantage Stalin in true soviet fashion had a huge advantage in numbers, not to mention I had no way of intercepting his army with my own SoD before he took my key cities. I really don't understand the AI thought process here besides being annoying though; Stalin had bad relations with the other two leaders and more contested territory with Portugal than with Spain, not to mention I was pretty sure my power score was enough of a deterrent. I guess he just wanted to backstab someone.

I know it's customary here to post the save games but since I've never done it before I just never keep them, but besides the great start I guess it wasn't that interesting anyway. Also I don't use BUG or anything, I found out Stalin was plotting the old fashioned way: "we have enough in our hands right now". I just wanted to share this funny and frustrating experience to remind everyone to never trust any of the backstabby leaders, even when they hate everyone but you!
 

Gumbolt

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AI are not that good on Noble. Is it possible Russians were bribed into war with you? It would be unusual for them to head towards an Ai then decide to attack you. Save? Before and after?
 

AcaMetis

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Is it possible Russians were bribed into war with you?
I don't think so, as AIs can't be bribed when they're already plotting war. Unless Stalin stopped plotting and that wasn't noticed due to a lack of BUG mod.
 

Gumbolt

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I guess one possibility is Stalin was heading for a barb city. Lack of bug would cloud the waters here.

If that was case he could of been bribed. Assuming no bug mode.

Of course diplomacy is key on these games. Adopting a religion can cause big issues unless you are building 20-30+ stacks. At which point you don't care. Even so on Noble the Ai would fully bombard before attacking. Hmmm
 

ThermobaricPunch

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Well maybe I got a bit too cocky with my tech/economic advantage and the fact that this was Noble. As I said I don't keep saves after games but now I regret it as some of you with more game knowledge could've analyzed the situation better.

I doubt Stalin was bribed because checking the diplo screen he was "in the red" with Capac and specially Joao. The political climate was a mess due to each having their own religion. I guess me adopting Confucianism and passing it on to Stalin by chance was a bad idea? Sharing religion with him made me turn my attention to Joao instead, but in retrospect that was probably a poor choice considering Stalin can plot at pleased and doesn't really care about religions, and of course he had a pretty big stack which I assumed was going for Portugal.

If Stalin was going for a barb city it must've been a very far away one because by that time they were all gone and most of the land covered by borders. And I've never seen an AI beeline to a barb city with their whole army like that. Oh well, since there are no saves (because I'm stupid like that) I guess the question of "Why did Stalin cross the border?" cannot be truly answered but at least it was a funny way of reminding me to not get too overconfident.
 

lymond

Rise Up! (Phoenix Style!)
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Why don't you use the BUG mod?

Consider taking a dude like Stalin earlier. Never trust an AI who plots at Pleased. Really, at Noble level, you should control as much land as possible as early as possible, either taking the land or vassals.
 

AcaMetis

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Oh well, since there are no saves (because I'm stupid like that) I guess the question of "Why did Stalin cross the border?" cannot be truly answered but at least it was a funny way of reminding me to not get too overconfident.
My guess would be that he started plotting while you were at war with Arabia, and a land target of Stalin. Things like "pleased" only means they're a very high chance that if an AI decides to plot war they don't consider you a valid target. If that one roll of the dice fails (and this is Civ IV we're talking about here, a >90% fails at least half of the time) things like "backstabbing potential" and "land target status" suddenly become very meaningful factors.
 

ThermobaricPunch

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Why don't you use the BUG mod?

The BUG mod is just not for me; I'm way too used to the old UI and since I'm neither a minucious minmaxer nor an active member of the community, a lot of its utility is lost on me. Besides I think it outright telling you who is plotting is kinda silly/gamey since it gives you early warnings without having to make your own deductions (besides who the target is) or "digging for information", which I personally enjoy as it was the case with our backstabbing friend Stalin here. Really, the only thing I liked about BUG were the GG and GP bars on top of the screen. I know the mod is great for its QoL features and has effectively become part of the vanilla experience for most of you, but it's not my cup of tea. Also, sometimes I play with my own mods and I can't be bothered to merge them all with BUG.

Consider taking a dude like Stalin earlier. Never trust an AI who plots at Pleased. Really, at Noble level, you should control as much land as possible as early as possible, either taking the land or vassals.

I foolishly thought I could use Stalin and his big army to help me conquer the other guys as he disliked both, and maybe even peace-vassal Russia later on or just roll over them with conquistadors to make the job easier. Besides Joao was much easier prey and I didn't want Capac to swallow him and snowball into a PITA.

My guess would be that he started plotting while you were at war with Arabia, and a land target of Stalin.

I recall checking from time to time the diplo situation with Stalin and when I saw the "declare war on..." offers in red after many turns of being available is when I thought "uh-oh..." but then dismissed the warning anyway because I reallythought the bastard was going for his worst enemy rather than the only leader he liked a bit. But yeah, maybe he started plotting as I was finishing off Arabia, all I know is that when Saladin was gone and I checked on Stalin he was already up to something.

Things like "pleased" only means they're a very high chance that if an AI decides to plot war they don't consider you a valid target. If that one roll of the dice fails (and this is Civ IV we're talking about here, a >90% fails at least half of the time) things like "backstabbing potential" and "land target status" suddenly become very meaningful factors.

Good point, probably just got screwed by the infamous Civ IV RNG, next time I should know better and obliterate the backstabbers before they have a chance of backstabbing me :backstab:.
 

Gumbolt

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Sometimes the Ai can go all red on the diplo screen but it has to say we have enough on our hands right now to be sure. Bug is a great tool. Pends how long you plan to stick around here. It's a geat community. :)
 

ThermobaricPunch

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Oh I know, I've been lurking from time to time for long enough to realize that. I've learned a lot from this forum over the years and I'm fascinated by how you guys analyze every detail and action of just one turn, specially at Deity level where so much stuff can go wrong.

But I really can't commit myself too much to Civ IV and I'm too chill when playing to even use all the features of BUG. And since sometimes I play with custom mods which tamper with the balance of the game (wasn't the case here), that defeats the purpose of any comparison or analysis. I guess my carelessness can provide some amusing situations such as this one tho :lol:.
 

pigswill

fly (one day)
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You don't know why Stalin declared on you and there's no way to find out without saved games. Maybe one thing to consider going forwards is to take out the major threats first.
 

6K Man

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I distrust all of 'em. If I have a powerful AI on my border when I'm planning to go to war with another AI, I make sure to beg 10 gold or embroil them in another war before letting my guard down.

So if the cash beg for peace option isn't available, you could have tried bribing Uncle Joe onto Joao.
 

Lexicus

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I distrust all of 'em. If I have a powerful AI on my border when I'm planning to go to war with another AI, I make sure to beg 10 gold or embroil them in another war before letting my guard down.

Same, if I can. Sometimes, you gotta roll the dice (or you do if you're me and too lazy/stupid to play very well :D)
 
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