[BTS] News: BOTM 263 - Celtic Elves, Deity - Starts Dec 22

DynamicSpirit

Fear him of the pink tie
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BOTM 263: Mrs Santa Claus of Celtia.



Yes, the Christmas game is finally here! It's Mrs. Santa's time to bring Christmas cheer to all the AIs in the World! Deity level means you may have a hard time doing that, but I'm sure you'll do your best!

Game settings:
Playing as: Mrs Santa Claus of Celtia
Rivals: 8 AIs
Difficulty: Deity
Starting Era:
Ancient
Speed: Normal
Options: No goody huts, no random events
Victory Conditions:
All enabled

Map settings:
Map: Christmas Tree!
World Wrap: Cylindrical
Mapsize: Standard
Map latitudes: -50°S to 50°N


Mrs Santa Claus is Charismatic and Aggressive, and you start with Mysticism and Hunting.

The Charismatic trait gives +1 happiness/city, and -25% experience required for unit promotions

The Aggressive trait gives free Combat I promotion for melee and gunpowder units and double production speed of Barracks and Drydock

Unique unit: Gallic Warrior (replaces Swordsman)
Perhaps one of the most derided unique units, the main benefit of the gallic warrior is that it can be built with either copper or iron - it doesn't specifically need iron. It also starts with the guerilla I promotion, which gives +20% hills defence, and unlocks the more powerful guerilla II (which gives faster movement in hills).

Unique Building: Dun (replaces Walls)
The dun gives a free guerilla I promotion to all units built in its city.

Starting screenshot

This is the start of the game (click for a bigger image):



Adventurer Class bonuses:
You play on monarch level - but the AI still has deity level starting units. That means each AI starts with two settlers and a worker, so it's monarch but with the AI having quite a head start.

To Enter the Competition:

This competition will open at 00:01 am on 22 Dec 2023, server local time (UTC-6:00). From that date and time, you'll be able to get your chosen starting save >>>here<<<.

Submit the save after your victory (or defeat) here, by 31 Jan 2024.

Here is a link to a list of the differences between Vanilla, Warlords and BtS.

Software Versions

Windows: This game MUST be played in Beyond the Sword (NOT Civ4 Vanilla or Warlords), patched to version 3.19, and with the BUFFY mod version 3.19.005 installed. You can download the BUFFY mod here. Players using Windows Vista or Windows 7 are encouraged to read the notes on Vista fixes here.


Macintosh: This game MUST be played in Beyond the Sword (NOT Civ4 Vanilla or Warlords), patched to version 3.19, and with the Mac BUFFY mod version 3.19.003 installed. You can download the Mac BUFFY mod here.

While playing...

Remember - for your entry to be accepted, it MUST be your first attempt to play this game, and you MUST NOT replay any turns. If you make a mistake while playing, you have to live with it, learn from it, and carry on the game without replaying.

We will open 'spoiler' threads during the month for players to discuss what happens in their games. Do not discuss any details of your game outside those threads.

@Blake00 @The_J
 
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This is actually the game that in our schedule should've been released on 1 Dec. Sorry for the lateness and that you've therefore had a couple of weeks without a game. My excuse is that in real life I was in a Christmas pantomime showing of Beauty and the Beast, which basically ate up all my free time. Spot your erstwhile Mapmaker on this stage...

IMG-20231206-WA0023 cropped.jpg
 
Looking good @DynamicSpirit! Well, you are right in the center of the picture, hard not to notice :lol:. In the spirit of Christmas, I would say that we forgive your lateness :xmascheers:.

It's not a white Christmas though, but a Deity Christmas! Any chance that Santa left some goodies somewhere on the map?

Settling the coast for the fish seems like the obvious choice. Chop the GLH with some forests. Settling inland for the deer would provide faster expansion but could put the GLH in jeopardy.
 
It would be awesome if he of the pink tie would be she of the pink hair, but number 4 on the left looks more like someone contemplating evil maps! :lol:

My first hunch is to settle on the jungle in between the deer, looks like a faster start at least. I'm not sure how feasible GLH is on deity in any case, so might forego that. It looks like there's something watery NW of the jungle, so maybe still coast although might be another lake.
 
In that picture, are you giving someone flowers? Regardless, you have gone for quite the humble look.


Perhaps it's time to do some editing of the relevant game-generation scripts' text.
1. I don't see the +1 Happiness from a Monument, nor the +1 Happiness from a Broadcast Tower, mentioned for the Charismatic Trait.

2. Also, I don't think that it is the Gallic Warrior which is derided. It is the Dun which is derided, mostly because it doesn't do nearly as much as one would expect after having read the Sevopedia entry about it, on top of the fact that it's a Building which we often wouldn't build.

3. Also, the Dun does not give a Guerilla I Promotion to many types of Units, making it quite misleading to say that it grants a Promotion to all of the Units that are built in the City.

Look at the very limited list of Units that receive the Guerilla I Promotion found in this thread:


Recall also the bug mentioned in that thread, where the Sevopedia says that Melee Units can reveive the Guerilla II and Guerilla III Promotions when you look at those individual Promotion entries (press F12 to see the Sevopedia in the game and then look under the Promotions section). It is a bug because a Gallic Warrior which gets upgraded to a Maceman cannot actually promote to those Promotions, even though it has the pre-requisite Guerilla I Promotion. The lesson: promote to Guerilla III before upgrading to Macemen.

Settling by the Fish?

Those Fish are not Magical Fish. Magical Fish appear on the Coast and are one of the strongest squares in the game; hence, the term "Magical." Since these Fish are Ocean-based, they provide less Commerce than we can normally expect from Clams and Crabs.

We start with Monuments unlocked and we are Charismatic, giving them +1 Happiness and thus a bit of an excuse to build one by the Fish in a non-capital City.

On Deity, I want to block off some land.

We also do not start with Fishing.

Thus, I am not very excited about setting a capital by the Fish.


How about Settling 2 NE + 1 N?
1 Forested Grassland Deer will give us a bit faster of an initial Worker.

There are some suspicious squares without Forests on them within the big, fat cross. Horses or Copper, perhaps? It would be a bit of a trick to tell us that Gallic Warriors can be built without requiring Iron but then to deny us Copper...

I'm actually thinking of moving the Settler first 2 NE to the GH Riv For. Next, perhaps, 1 N, and possibly settling there.

It will still take 5 turns to start working the Deer, since the capital will not be adjacent to the Deer, but the big, fat cross will contain 1 Deer and a lot of unrevealed squares, some of which are on Rivers.

Assuming that we're at the south end of a "tree" and that the AIs are to the north, then we can easily settle the Fish location and the other Deer location a bit later; hopefully, without much competition.

We'll then be able to Farm a G Riv square or Pasture a G Riv Horse square that a Fish City can use on its way to building its Monument.


I do like the idea of getting The Great Lighthouse, but competition will likely be too stiff (8 Deity AIs!?! some of which are bound to have half-priced Lighthouses) to be able to self-build it and still get a few Cities up in good locations, unless you are willing to focus your tech path that way and aggressively Chop it out.

With a triangular tree formation, it would be possible for many Cities to be Coastal, but most of that Coastal area (with or without Cities) would be within the AIs' Cultural Borders. In contrast, an AI would more likely "waste" the Wonder by building it and not prioritising Coastal Cities.


Also, Drafting Musketmen is quite decent in terms of Promotions (if you Draft in a City with a Dun), since you get Combat I and Guerilla I, just like you do for a Gallic Warrior, but Gallic Warriors cannot be Drafted. Drafted Riflemen will not get Guerilla I since the Dun (and its behaviour of granting a Guerilla I Promotion) will become obsolete by learning Rifling.


Remember that Christmas presents are often located underneath of a Christmas tree. Island Resources, with any luck? To be edited in, if not already there?
 
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Looking good @DynamicSpirit! Well, you are right in the center of the picture, hard not to notice :lol:. In the spirit of Christmas, I would say that we forgive your lateness :xmascheers:.

Well spotted. I see I can't escape you guys :)

It's not a white Christmas though, but a Deity Christmas! Any chance that Santa left some goodies somewhere on the map?

My intention was to set this up as a deity game - and I hope I've achieved that, although with a custom map there's always a risk of getting it wrong ;-). So my advice is to treat it as deity rather than relying on any goodies - after all, it happens that the difficulty rotation has reached deity level this month, and I'm sure the deity level players amongst us deserve a Christmas map just as much as us mere mortals :lol: The treat is that if you don't like deity, the adventurer save is some levels easier.

By the way, I test-played the game a couple of times up to settling two cities to ensure it seemed playable at least up to that point. I make no guarantees about what will happen beyond that!
 
In that picture, are you giving someone flowers? Regardless, you have gone for quite the humble look.

DynamicSpirit the chivalrous ;-)

Perhaps it's time to do some editing of the relevant game-generation scripts' text.
1. I don't see the +1 Happiness from a Monument, nor the +1 Happiness from a Broadcast Tower, mentioned for the Charismatic Trait.

2. Also, I don't think that it is the Gallic Warrior which is derided. It is the Dun which is derided, mostly because it doesn't do nearly as much as one would expect after having read the Sevopedia entry about it, on top of the fact that it's a Building which we often wouldn't build.

3. Also, the Dun does not give a Guerilla I Promotion to many types of Units, making it quite misleading to say that it grants a Promotion to all of the Units that are built in the City.

Look at the very limited list of Units that receive the Guerilla I Promotion found in this thread:


Recall also the bug mentioned in that thread, where the Sevopedia says that Melee Units can reveive the Guerilla II and Guerilla III Promotions when you look at those individual Promotion entries (press F12 to see the Sevopedia in the game and then look under the Promotions section). It is a bug because a Gallic Warrior which gets upgraded to a Maceman cannot actually promote to those Promotions, even though it has the pre-requisite Guerilla I Promotion. The lesson: promote to Guerilla III before upgrading to Macemen.

Thanks! Lemme look into that....
 
It looks like a warrior in the picture, shouldn't we start with a scout? Also not very well positioned for scouting...

I like @Dhoomstriker's idea of blocking land to the NE. 2 deer start is tempting but unless we scout the coast we might accidentally kill some seafood tiles.

Without either fishing or mining, Celts are way too slow for GLH on a typical deity game. The deer are helping us a bit since we can skip Agri and go directly for Min-BW, Fishing-Sailing and then Masonry (55 turns of research or so), maybe getting GLH soon after T60, but if it fails our economy is in quite bad shape.
 
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Great analysis by @Dhoomstriker . Agree with pretty much everything. I do not have a preference for which tile to settle yet, but it's going to be something N+E for sure. Also should be mentioned that a more centralized capital saves on maintenance costs (significantly....).
Never tried a weaker civ like the Celts on deity. If she can keep up with the party Mrs Santa the promo-queen will as always be fun playing.
 
Looks like a interesting map setup. I'm out of my depth at deity but also definitely looking forward to play this one.

Great player commentary so far. What other ideas/approaches do people have for this deity game, beyond the settling location?
 
It looks like a warrior in the picture, shouldn't we start with a scout? Also not very well positioned for scouting...

Well spotted. I swapped the map-generated scout for a warrior because I figured at deity level on this map he/she would be more useful and would probably live longer than a scout (You see, I do occasionally do kind things!)
 
What other ideas/approaches do people have for this deity game, beyond the settling location?
On Deity, there are a number of important factors to keep in mind:
A] AIs can be fast to connect Strategic Resources. If an AI starts to get multiple types of Military Units, it will be more inclined to pick a fight. Playing to survive with just Warriors until 1 AD is generally a great way to get declared upon by an AI who will crush you before 1000 BC.
B] The economy can kill you, often worse than the chance of being declared upon. Thus, you need to use every trick that you can come up with to try to keep the economy afloat. Examples include:
1. The Great Lighthouse can be one way, although it doesn't feel like the right play on this map. Don't half-attempt it. If you're going to go for it, go all-in. For most of the players, I'd recommend against it.
2. Settling Cities to share Resource squares and to be relatively close to each other, with some overlap. Of course, you need to balance this approach with settling further to earn more Resources within big, fat crosses. Cities being closer to each other reduce Maintenance. But, you can also risk an AI "Dagger" attack, where an AI sees that your Cities are close to each other and decides to backstab you with an early, unexpected attack, due to a bug where an AI was supposed to consider going to war when ITS Cities were too close to each other (presumably due to being too pressed for land into a cramped area), but the code actually checks whether OUR Cities are close to each other. Generally, you just ignore the risk of a "Dagger" attack, but know that it's there and thus do not get completely surprised if an early AI stack shows up your borders. Instead, you feel happy that settling relatively close to your capital reduces Maintenance Costs and helps you to get the first Trade Route connection up quickly, and you just live with this small risk that when playing on Deity, you can lose even if you "do everything correctly."
3. Prioritise building a Road to a neighbour who isn't Toku. Any other AI will generally be willing to Open Borders with you unless you have managed to anger them early (say, by adopting an opposing Religion), and you'll want to be able to get Foreign Trade Routes the moment that you can get Open Borders with an AI. The extra Commerce is going to be precious.
4. Choose a tech path with goals in mind, knowing that you cannot do it all. Forget Oracling ANYTHING--it is not about crying over "Ohhh, poor me, I could not Oracle Civil Service." It's more like "Oh, wow, I was halfway through Priesthood and the Oracle got completed." Get at least one Worker tech first (we have Hunting, but would need Fishing if settling by the Fish). Very strongly consider getting a second Worker tech (Agriculture, Animal Husbandry) if you settle by another Food Resource with your capital. After 1 or 2 Worker techs are in place: You can beeline The Wheel and Writing if you think that you can get Foreign Trade Routes up (you DID build Warriors to spawn-bust for your MULTIPLE Workers, right?). You can beeline Bronze Working if you plan to perform heavy Chopping, including Chopping a Worker as your first Chopping target. In this game, going for early Iron Working will stunt the economy, but as long as Copper or Iron are available and you are willing to Chop and Whip an early army, it can be a pretty decent play, since our Unique Unit is pretty solid. Another play could be to go for The Great Lighthouse and settle 3 Coastal Cities. A bit more risky play would be to beeline Alphabet, possibly even without going for Bronze Working, but if you spawn-bust well with Warriors and can survive until that time, it can pay off by allowing you to back-fill the techs that you missed.
C] Don't ignore the Barbs. Build more early Warriors than you would otherwise before starting on a Settler. Play like the AIs do: secure an area with your Warriors BEFORE sending a Settler there. Learn the spawn-busting rules: 2.5 squares of radius from the centre of any Unit's square cannot spawn a Barb. Putting it another way, 2 squares in any direction, including diagonally, away from the square where a Unit is located, cannot spawn a Barb. It's the same math; it's just how your brain wants to think about it. This fact includes AI Units and Barb Units acting as spawn-busters for new Barb Units (thus, keeping an AI Wolf alive will mean that no Barb Archer can spawn close to that Wolf). It does NOT include Cultural Borders. Cultural Borders only spawn-bust any area that is made VISIBLE, and any area that an AI's Cultural Borders exposes also cannot spawn a Barb. Thus, for example, if we are in the south-west and we put our capital a bit to the north-east, we'll want a Warrior in the south-west to prevent Barbs from spawning there. I would even very, very strongly consider ensuring that our Warrior stays in the south-west such that on Turn 5, it will be in an ideal spawn-busting location to keep that area spawn-busted. Assuming that we are in the south-west, the AIs will come to meet us and will help to spawn-bust the area to the north-east of wherever we place our capital, but we won't get much help spawn-busting land which we have mostly blocked off using our Cultural Borders.
D] Meet AIs slowly. If Hatshepsut is Hindu but you haven't met her, she can't ask you to Close Borders with Buddhist Isabella, and you won't incur a negative diplomatic penalty with one of the two of them. Once you or an AI gets Alphabet and you can hopefully make a trade or two, every AI whom you have met will pull out their bean-counters and will tabulate every tech that you received in trade. Your primary defence against this practice is to trade techs before meeting an AI, and thus that AI won't have started to use their abacus against you. If you have Gallic Warriors, and do not plan to build Horse Archers, seriously consider NOT taking Archery in trade. Seriously consider NOT taking Priesthood in trade. Don't get greedy! When later, some of the AIs will not trade Calendar or Civil Service to you because "You are becoming too advanced" because you thought that taking Archery in trade was a good idea, you'll regret having to self-tech a tech like Calendar instead of simply later self-teching Archery and getting Calendar in trade.
E] Reveal a path of Coast squares to an AI's City as a mid-term, early-game goal, after you've spawn-busted. Once you learn Sailing and either you or an AI knows Writing for Open Borders, you can open up Trade Routes via the coast. Doing so does require learning Sailing or else getting it in trade, but it can also be an alternative to building a Road, and can keep your Trade Routes open when unexpected things happen, such as a Barb City spawning on your Trade-Route Road or an AI whose City is on your Trade-Route Road declares war on you.
F] You don't have much Happiness. Try really hard to get at least 1 Happiness Resource. Being Charismatic helps; otherwise, I'd say to try really hard to get 2 Happiness Resources. If you can grow your Cities sufficiently, it can help to have a few G Riv Cottage squares. Food first, but if you can approach the Happiness cap, having riverside Cottages in place can help you to limp forward in the tech path. If you think that you might do so, getting Pottery might be an early goal to put on your tech path.
G] Do not build any Wonders. Seriously. Unless you are going to completely beeline the techs for your chosen Wonder, then beeline Bronze Working, and delay settling in favour of building more Chopping Workers (but, also remember to build spawn-busting Warriors), you're going to miss building it. That's on a regular Deity map. Even more so here, as there are 8 AIs. My advice is simply plan to build ZERO Wonders by 1 AD. Then, you won't miss out, and you can focus your tech path on achievable goals.
H] Once you have 3 Cities, and if you have not chosen to beeline Gallic Warriors and/or a Chariot rush, pick a City with some excess Food and complete a Library there. Hire 2 Scientists. It will be a painful wait, but an Academy in the capital can make a significant difference.
I] If you research Bronze Working, use Whipping and Chopping. Use both of them heavily. The only exception is a pure Alphabet beeline, and thus use those things heavily after you get Bronze Working in trade.
J] Keep your Traits in mind. We have two militaristic Traits. If we don't go to war with Gallic Warriors, we'd at least want to build some to deter an AI from attacking until we can upgrade our Gallic Warriors to Macemen and then attack with Guerilla III Macemen and Catapults. Other than some extra Happiness, our Traits really only help out in combat.
K] When attacking a City, a good rule of thumb is to have 3 Units for every defender plus 1. 3 defending Units? We'd better have at least 10 attacking Units. But, the AIs Whip a ton of defenders. Thus, it is NOT how many Units you see, but how many Units that you predict the AI being able to stuff into that City by the time that you can arrive at the City's gates. If you already see 3 defenders, you'll need even more than 10 attacking Units by the time that you can arrive at the City's gates. Here, we have one very strong advantage: a large stack of Gallic Warriors can pretend to go for one City, waiting for the AI to send defenders from other Cities to this City. We can pick off the Units in the fields that walk from other Cities to this City. Then, we can use Hills squares to quickly move across of the map to attack another City which the AI has left less-well-defended. The AI has a weakness here, as it does not calculate Guerilla II movement through Hills when figuring out where to defend its Cities. Exploit that weakness liberally.
 
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Add to Dhoom: on T0, hover over your name in the lower right hand corner to find out the total number of land tiles on the map. This can give you an idea of how crowded the map is. I personally am assuming that a Christmas tree map means some sort of Pangea like map.
 
I'd say the biggest difference between Deity and the other difficulty levels is that on Deity you are the small fish in the pond during the first half of the game. Thus, you need to pay much more attention to diplomacy. Try to get your neighbors pleased with you by opening borders, trading resources, adopting the majority religion, adopting their favorite civic. If Shaka comes knocking with a demand, give him that tech and survive to fight him another day.
And pay attention to "the red fist" indicating that an AI is plotting. Consider if the AI could be plotting against you. Do you have a shared border? How are relations? Many AI won't attack if they are pleased with you, but some do! Consider sending some units out to locate the main stack of the AI who's plotting.
 
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Scout NW for Silver (now that would be a nice fairy light).
Settling Bibracte SW is oddly attractive, as it would claim the 2nd fish on T51.

Settling 2N1-2E as a spearhead is tempting as well, since it would secure at least 2 very good cities in the backyard.
 
Going with the Xmas tree motif, it seems like we’re in the trunk of the Christmas tree on the left-hand side. Our expansion will be east, west and north. Evidently we need to take care to allow a city to be settled at the bottom of the trunk to capture those fish. Settling a bit north and to the east would be the most central position. (Maintenance is more expensive on a cylindrical map than on a flat map.) T0 exploration is limited to the Warriors one move. That jungle tile between the two deer seems like the map makers hint at where to settle unless it’s a trap.

To me, the initial plan would be to Rex enough to have the military capacity to capture one other AI. If I can succeed with that, I tend to arrive at a more equal footing to other deity AIs. But I’m not a deity-level player. The deity players here have more sophisticated solutions for the various contingencies that arise as the game goes along.
 
Looks like a interesting map setup. I'm out of my depth at deity but also definitely looking forward to play this one.

Great player commentary so far. What other ideas/approaches do people have for this deity game, beyond the settling location?

To add to Dhoomstriker's excellent post, I would note:

- Barbs become more aggressive and start going for your cities when the average number of cities per player is 3, and deity AI start with a free settler. That threshold is reached around turn 40 or so usually. Be prepared ideally with horse or copper hooked up, or worse case archery, since at that point they may start killing your fog busting warriors and putting holes in your perimeter.

- It's also important to have any good city site you want to grab early fog busted as described by Dhoomstriker. Barb cities spawn early on deity and can steal your spots.

- I'm a relative beginner at deity in these forum games and find strategies built around siege units more forgiving, so either beelining construction, engineering or (if you have enough cities and a good economy) steel. You lose a few siege units each city but your other units face very good odds due to collateral damage on all defenders, allowing them more wins and more promotions (good synergy with Charismatic trait, and good synergy with Aggressive since you can bring melee with siege instead of mounted-based warfare). Early rushes without siege (anything before Cuirassiers) are difficult to pull off because even if you could overwhelm your opponent with numbers, it would also kill your economy at an early stage of the game when you can't afford that. There are of course always exceptions, like a very close neighbor and a gold tile in your capital, etc. Henrik's guide for engineering (trebuchet) and cuirassier-based attacks in the strategy and tips forums are very helpful.

- Note that if you're going for catapults, then after the initial techs (bronze, pottery), you just go for Math (not Alphabet), and then Construction. Math can almost always be traded for iron working on deity, all AIs research that very quickly.
 
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