[BTS] News: BOTM 264 - Taylor Swift, Monarch - First Spoiler to 1 AD


Jag är Viking!½
GOTM Staff
Jun 21, 2007
Stockholm's B.F.C.
BOTM 264: Taylor Swift, Monarch - First Spoiler - 1AD

Yes, this thread is available before the save... but I might not be available after the 22nd to do this, so here it is. (Tut, tut... none of you should be in this thread yet!)

Which class did you choose (Adventurer, Contender, or Challenger)? Tell us about your early settling choices, and if the game set-up has caused you to have to adjust your play-style. And of course...
Use this thread to tell us what happened in your game, up to 1AD

Reading Requirements
If you are participating in BOTM 264, then you MUST NOT read this thread unless EITHER
  • You have reached at least 1 AD in your game, OR
  • You have submitted your entry

Posting Restrictions
  • Do not disclose ANY events or information gained post 1 AD.
  • Do not reveal your final result if that happened after 1 AD.
  • Do not discuss the location of resources that may not show up before 1 AD (Iron is OK, coal and oil are not)
  • Do not post any savegame file from the game. Discussions and screenshots are fine but not actual games
First spoiler at 10AD.....
Wow this is a big map. All ideas of flipping cities are still very futuristic at 1AD, there's so much empty land to fill. Nice touch with the fish lakes. Adds another dimension to dotmapping. You have to settle adjacent to those lakes if you want to build a workboat. All my efforts have gone into expansion and building the economy in a repeated stop and go scheme. No time for wonder building either. which is also not very appealing with stone and marble far and very far away. I only did a late Oracle => MC and that;'s it,

Not much action to report. PH settle, met 2023 on my border when 3rd warrior came out. His archer was a serious danger but turned out to be just scouting. Never saw another of his units at my border again. Some of my scouting warriors got chased by dog soldoiers, but then you just run into neighbour territory to get rid of them.

So with regard to city placement, no bad spots all around, no outstanding spots either. 2nd city gold/lake, 3rd city rice/river and 2nd ring shared cow with 2nd city, 4th city north at lake with 2nd ring corn and some hills, then focused towards gems in the west and a very nice pig/corn/river spot SW. Claimed wine spot north. Latest spam right before 1AD filled the east with 4 cities, 1 far west at lake/rice/banana and a filler spot north close by. I'm mostly westwards focused, cause I want a coastal city at the Ivory and the AI are more nearby in this direction.

On the bigger techs I went Math first (1400BC) for better chops on the workboats etc => IronWorking, jungle chopping can't wait for trade => PH/Monarchy (450BC) for Oracle (200BC) and wine+HR => Calender, finally banana for food => trade gets me Alpha => Currency / CoL , at 1AD start heading for Civil Service (and slow down expansion once again, grow cities while building forges etc)

Pulled a GS from the corn/lake city for an academy in the cap 550BC..
Nice Exp trait enjoyment on this map to get all these cities up and running quickly.

At 1AD 14 cities / 64 pop, worth mentioning maybe 24 workers. Break even at 20% = 50 beakers/turn (oops that's 30 turns away from CS).
Pretty big map indeed, so also busy expanding while trying not to crash the economy too bad. Well, at 10AD I'm at 3 gpt at 0% science, so doing quite well in that regard. :lol: I do have currency and I built the mids for representation, so with my libraries running scientists I should be able to get out of this hole soon enough, although there's still so much more land to settle to stifle the economy even further. Currently 15 cities and 56 pop, though a meagre 14 workers as compared to powerfaker. ;) I did have 2023 give me an unexpected setback when out of nowhere a chariot showed up at a northern city that could only defend with a warrior. I thought ok, well, I'll capture the city back later, but 2023 razed it directly. I was wondering if that might have to do with that fancy elimination setting. Anyway, I resettled the same spot later and have the odd spear and chariot now guarding the northern borders. Techwise I have the most important stuff in Calendar, CoL, Currency (which I Oracled) and got Monarchy and IW in trade. CS is one third done, but at 0% won't get it all that soon either.
My strategy was to try to be clever and engineer a conquest victory. However, I found that I lack the experience, brain power and knowledge of game mechanics to pull that off.

The idea was to plant settlers near 2023, leave them undefended and then gift them to the peaceful civs to trigger the lose-6-cities-and-poof thingy. I was working on the basis that you can gift cities that are closer to the AI cap than yours - but it seems this game only allowed for liberating cities rather than gifting, and the criteria for liberation is even more demanding and I got lumped with all these ridiculously placed cities.

Was a game of trial and error. Mostly error.

I abandoned my game pre 1AD.
I was shocked when I eventually found 2023's land, my assumption was they were far, far away....I had left myself completely defenceless while I explored, but I was one of those that lost to the original Humbaba in 10 or so turns all those years ago....I was due some luck :)

OMG epic speed takes some getting used to. What is silly is that 10 years ago it was my favourite speed during my HOF games, but that was a looooong time ago!

At 5bc, I have 12 cities & 35 pop. I did manage to Oracle CS in 850bc, but seeing others city count & populations it was clearly at the cost of more aggressive expansion. Break even research at 30%, 45bpt, 1gpt. Building 'Mids now as its obvious Representation is going to save my research, I really should have started earlier. I have the Kong Miao (from Stonehenge & Oracle) and am 5 turns from a very carefully generated GS in my second city for an Academy in Madrid.

Of equal importance was my choice to chase Stonehenge early, I did it because I wanted to more easily claim land from 'always peace' neighbours that I had assumed were going to be close....but regardless, I am super happy I built it.
I abandoned the game around 500 BC.
I spammed too many cities too soon. The economy went into negative and did not recover. I have learned neither writing nor the priesthood. By the way, in the end I did not connect the gold, because it was the only tile that I did not open during early exploration. I found it after 1000 BC.
Probably, I immediately reacted with great distrust to the epic speed, which is why I played so carelessly. :)
It's a pity, the map was promising. Thanks and sorry )
With the initial Warrior, I revealed a Banana Forest square and surmised that we are likely on a Rainforest map. On a Rainforest map, there is typically one Resource which appears repeatedly and which can appear in normally impossible situations, such as a Banana Resource being in a Forest.

The map did not look crazy enough to be the Fantasy Map Script, which could also generate a Banana Forest square, and which I believe was the map script which was used when Humbaba was first unleashed upon the community. I still have visions of dread of this "thing" appearing out of nowhere, smashing into my Warrior, and not quite dying (Humbaba retreated on the first attack and died on the second attack). Even a Free Win against the Barbarians can end in a Retreat.

Not liking what I saw, I sent the Settler in the opposite direction. A Grassland Deer Forest would have been good, but not a Grassland Banana Forest.

Therefore, I missed finding the G Riv Rice Forest square, or I would have gladly settled at that location (to the south-east of our starting location). After later exploration, it became evident that sending the Settler to the SE would have revealed that square, and I think that it would have made for a great place to settle, with the early extra Hammer, and a reasonable tech path of Mining -> Bronze Working -> Agriculture, with the "enforced" Chop to be able to get an early quick start, while also having two 4-Food-plus-Hammer squares to work early on (Rice and Banana), and with each of the 3 Food Resources being on a River, meaning that they could be Farmed and could give us early Commerce, while also having multiple Grassland Hills squares to work.

I had really wanted a production-heavy capital and had the plan of Oracling Alphabet, and that location would have fit the bill, perfectly.

Instead, I ended up to the south-west with Fish, Gold, and Cow. It wasn't a terrible location, but Animal Husbandry was not on my planned tech path, so, it was more like Magical Fish + Non-River Gold, which was still acceptable, but not much for a capital. I was already knee-deep in Jungle at that point and wasn't willing to keep exploring at 1-movement-per-turn for much longer.

I lost one GOTM long ago due to stealing the AI's starting Worker. Meanwhile, that AI's exploring Warrior had captured my capital. It was a hard lesson to learn, but I had been surprised, since it doesn't seem to often happen. Since I could no longer win that game, I had replayed it at the time by going back several turns and starting on a Warrior earlier, and had found that completing a Warrior in my capital was enough to scare the AI's exploring Unit away.

Fast forward to this game, and the lesson was clear: make sure to have one of:
1. a Unit defending your capital,
2. a Unit within close enough range to be able to get your capital, or
3. a Unit with enough Hammers invested in it to be completed in your capital, when needed.

Thus, initially, I explored close to the capital location, and after my Work Boat was built, I built a partial Warrior, which, based on the amount of visibility offered by my Cultural Borders, I could complete in time, when needed. Only then did I start on a Worker.

Anyway, there wasn't much for a Worker to do initially, anyway, as there was only the Gold to Mine, and then there was nothing else for the Worker to do.

Plus, I had followed LowtherCastle's idea of founding Buddhism. It's in-character for Isabella. And, it means being able to go for Writing via Priesthood.

The timing of Oracle versus Alphabet was totally off. I had done it nicely in a practice game in which I just had 3-Food squares and GH Mines, mimicking our starting location. But here, the Oracle was way too slow, and thus I had time to self-tech Alphabet before the Oracle could even be completed. I ended up Oracling Currency, which was actually quite nice in hindsight, but I had only squeezed out Settler 2, and thus I was seriously behind on settling locations.

With Alphabet being self-teched, I seriously contemplated Oracling Code of Laws. Had I had a few more Settlers out, I likely would have. But, I figured that if I was going to Oracle one of them and self-tech the other one, the tech which would provide more benefit in the short-term was Currency, as I did not yet have an army of Workers to start Chopping out Courthouses.

At City Size 5, I think that it was, I saw that Alphabet and Oracle really were badly timed, and thus it was at that time that I had decided to fit in Settler 2 before completing the Oracle.

It felt like a very bungled-up start, but having read about people running into financial difficulties, it may have been a blessing in disguise.

The goal with City 2 was to find an AI and settle right in the AI's face, to help with later Culture-Flipping of the AI's Core Cities. The first AI whom I found was Cyrus, and thus I settled my second City close to his Cultural Borders.

Settling 12 Cities is about as many as can be competently managed early in the game, financially, I believe. With a greater number of Cities, I think that in Non-Spiritual games, you would start to see extra turns of Anarchy for switching Civics once City 13 has been settled. Each additional City built really costs your entire empire in added Maintenance in every other City. At that high level of City count, the impact starts to really be felt, when the 13th City is expensive and the other 12 Cities are more expensive than they were just a moment ago. Thus, it's not just the Maintenance Cost in the latest City's City Screen that we need to consider.

Even with my slow start, at 10 AD, I see that I ended up with 13 Cities, and that was after having lost some of them...

At first, everything seemed normal. I settled City 2, and when talking with Cyrus, it showed "Barcelona (Liberate)," which makes sense. You can gift Cities and they appear in the Trading Window, and Cyrus didn't have any Cities listed, as he only had 1 City. Perfectly logical and perfectly normal.

Yet, over time, something niggled at my brain, and I came to realise that AIs' Cities were NOT appearing in the Trading Window's list of Cities. My later Cities were not appearing, and Barcelona did not appear for other AIs.

There had been only a brief mention of gifting Cities by kcd_swede, and his likely reason for a lack of testing became clearer: it wasn't going to be that easy to do, after all. But, at least I had learned that Liberating Cities was possible.

Flash forward and after settling some Cities in the north-east, I saw that Genghis would take them. Ahhh, the Cities must be close to his capital (which I had revealed in the 10 AD saved game but I don't think that I had revealed at that time).

A cunning (and perhaps foolish) plan formed, and I baited 2023 to come after my Warrior with a Dog Soldier, with the plan of Liberating Cities to Genghis and allowing 2023 to raze said Cities before Genghis could stuff City defenders into the Cities.

But, the plan backfired! 2023 came in with a Chariot, killed my only other Military Unit in the region, and was positioned to immediately threaten one of my Cities.

In a more normal game, the rule is that you cannot gift a City (whether Liberating or just giving away) that is under threat by an enemy Unit within a 2-square-range (the same range that is used for Barb-spawn-busting rules). Normally, it is Barb Units which prevent gifting of a City, but in this case, a Civ (or a Minor Civ) at war will also do the same threatening. Genghis would not take the City (nor would any of the other AIs, although they wouldn't have taken it anyway, as only 1 player is eligible for Liberation of any given City). I could not defend the City since my "baiting Warrior" was still dragging along the slow-moving Dog Soldier a few squares away. I had no choice but to lose the City, as it was still Size 1 and I could not even Cold-Whip a Unit.

Since I was likely to lose additional Cities to this Chariot, I fast-forwarded my plan and Liberated Cities sooner than planned. The Chariot took out another City, but this time, Genghis took the loss of a City. Ha!

The Dog Solder arrived and helped with taking out another Liberated City. However, the Dog Soldier was rather goofy, and it seemed to want to avoid attacking the City. It just wanted to follow my Unit and at first, it walked past the City! It must be a UNITAI_COUNTER script, which is normally assigned to Axemen/Dog Soldier Units. It's also one of the reasons why you are probably not going to see an AI Axe Rush you. Sure, if there is one Swordsman or one Crossbowmen, an army of Axemen will gladly follow it, but this UNITAI_COUNTER programming must be in place to prevent the AIs from doing what many Vanilla players would do to the AIs, which is Axemen Rush them. I say Vanilla because long ago, Forest Chops were at full strength at the start of the game without needing to learn Mathematics, and, of course, Bronze Working unlocks both of Axemen and Forest Chops. Rushing with Axemen is still a strong tactic in some games, but I find that a lot of XOTM games seem to be designed to thwart such a tactic.

The lesson here was that things were going to be very unpredictable: A Chariot could come out of nowhere and prevent a City from being able to be Liberated. A Dog Soldier might follow my Unit, but it might just dance around of a Liberated City before capturing the City for so long that the AI could get defending Units into the City.

Besides, by the time that I could get new Settlers in place, Genghis had already settled multiple Cities in the same area, and I think that my opportunity was mostly gone.

Thus, I decided to put my focus back on playing like a Cultural Victory, although with the hope of Domination at the back of my mind.

I actually built multiple Archers this game, which is relatively rare for me to do. Shaka will use an Impi to attack and capture a City defended by an Archer (a hard lesson from an earlier XOTM that I lost), but the hope is that 2023 either will not attack, or will at least not surprise me from out of nowhere, when I have Archers, instead of typical Warriors, defending my Cities.

I have been generous with gifting techs away. Thus, the AIs WERE able to get Iron Working for me, as they weren't wasting time on duplicate early-game techs.

This approach may backfire in some ways, though. I missed founding Judaism by a couple of turns. Also, Genghis' capital is building a Wonder. He wants Stone from me, so, it is not likely The Pyramids, as that Wonder would be quite expensive and thus it would be unlikely for him to have started building them. His City has an Aqueduct, meaning that giving away Math probably also means giving away The Hanging Gardens, as that Wonder is pretty cheap once you have an Aqueduct.

Cyrus is also building a Wonder in his capital, but I did not yet give him Math, and thus it is likely The Temple of Artemis. I will soon need to secure a source of Marble, to avoid losing too many Marble-Based Wonders to the AIs. The only two Marble spots which I have found, so far, look like pretty terrible locations for a City, but I will likely choose one of them, soon.

I don't have a lot of Workers, but I plan out their moves several turns in advance, to make the most of the ones which I do have. For example, 3 Workers had joined together to complete a Copper Mine on the very turn that a City grew into wanting to work that square. Many Cities have been settled by Magical Fish, thereby reducing the impact of having fewer Workers. But, the costs of my early Oracle gambit plus settling far away for future Cultural pressure purposes are obvious when comparing our modest Worker force to Powerfaker's significantly larger Worker count.

10 AD Stats (it's Epic Speed and thus we don't have a 1 AD saved game):
13 Cities, 40 Population, 11 Workers, and 11 Archers (plus a few other Units)
Religions founded: Buddhism, Confucianism, and Theology
Wonders: Oracle
Wonders in progress: The Pyramids and The Apostolic Palace
Cities lost to 2023: Genghis = 3 and Us = 1
the criteria for liberation
It helps to be able to identify the location of all of the nearby capitals. In this case, the location of 2023's is also relevant, as is the location of your own capital.

I had a Spy at this point in the game, but I'd used it to attempt (although not sufficiently) to spot 2023's inbound Units for the same type of tactic as you had tried to perform. Thus, I had not located 2023's capital location and I wasn't clear on where I could settle for Liberation purposes.

For me, it was after having settled good City locations that I'd found out that several of those Cities were eligible to Liberate to Genghis.

But, let's say that you had used a Spy to locate 2023's capital.

To Liberate a City to an AI, that City would have to be "closest" to that AI's capital compared to any other capital in the game. I'm not sure how ties are resolved. We count "closest" by first counting the diagonal distance at a rate of 1.5 per diagonal square, and we floor (aka round down) the final result. After figuring out the diagonal distance, then figure out the remaining horizontal or vertical distance at 1 per square.

Then, repeat the calculation for all of the other capitals which are possibly going to be the nearest capitals (including 2023's capital). The capital with the smallest value will be eligible for Liberation, assuming that it is not your capital and it is not the capital of a player with whom you are at war.

Since we are locked at war with 2023, we cannot Liberate a City to 2023, and thus Liberation (on the F1 screen) will not appear for anyone for a City which is settled close to 2023.

Likewise, if our capital is the closest capital, then we also will not see Liberation appear for anyone on the F1 screen. One option at this point would be to build our Palace somewhere else in an effort to make our City be closest to an AI... but, if the City was still closest to 2023, it still would not be eligible for Liberation.

By the F1 screen, I mean the screen with City Overview values, where at the bottom right of the screen, a fist icon appears when a City is eligible for Liberation.

Note that in-game distance for Liberation is like gravity: it is a force, but it is also seen as being one of the weakest forces. Throw or kick a ball and gravity will have it's effect, but the force from your throw or kick will almost certainly have more of an immediate effect than gravity will, at least on our planet.

Meanwhile, Culture in a City is a much stronger force, and quickly overcomes the in-game distance (aka gravity) force.

I'm not sure whether it is City Culture or Plot Culture off of the top of my head, but you'll get both of them by earning Culture in a City, so, the distinction only really matters for certain scenarios, like when using a Great Artist Culture Bomb. Now that I think about it, I believe that it is City Culture, since in other games, I have rebuilt Cities in former AI territory and those Cities have been eligible for Liberation, even though the square (aka the plot) was predominantly owned by an AI via the AI's Plot Culture.

Thus, if you think that by moving your Palace, your City that was closest to your capital will become closest to an AI's capital, be sure to earn 0 Culture in the City. A solid way to do so is to build a Missionary which is not of your State Religion and spread that Religion into the City, to keep the City at 0 Culture until your Palace has been moved.

In your case, settling Cities very close to 2023 would not have worked for Liberation purposes UNLESS you were able to move 2023's capital, which would mean 2023 having a large-sized City that is far away from the Cities which you had settled and you capturing his capital in order to trigger his Palace moving randomly to another City of his, but usually to another high-population City of his.

By the way, I see that I am already building a Palace in a new location in my 10 AD saved game... ;)

Building Stonehenge would not have been very compatible with Liberating Cities to AIs, since already once you hit about 3 to 5 Culture in a City, the in-game distance is no longer a sufficiently significant factor for Liberation. I found this point out the hard way in an SGOTM game where I first proposed the idea of Liberating Cities for "nearly infinite" Diplomatic Bonuses and my team found the idea to be unworkable. If I recall correctly, it was because we had captured an AI City with our State Religion in it, and we'd wanted to Whip the City a few times before Liberating, only to find that Liberating was no longer possible after several turns of earning +1 Culture per turn.
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Lost my capital to a 2023 archer on T25... well, on to the next one!

Oh yes that's frustrating.

Even after 16 years, I still have sad memories of losing GOTM 23 (Always War) in September 2007 literally on about turn 11 when I made the mistake of sending my starting warrior exploring and leaving the capital undefended.

Because of that memory, this time my starting warrior did almost no exploring - basically one walk around the capital's borders, which was at least sufficient to discover the forested rice SE, before returning to Madrid. I was very glad I did that when some turns later the 2023's roving archer rolled up...

As far as I can make out, it looks to me like those early exploring units will never enter your cultural borders UNLESS a city is undefended in which case they will immediately capture it (I suspect some AI-cheating here since they can't always see your city is undefended before entering borders).

Shame I don't think the issue of protecting your capital ever came up in the pre-game discussion - we were all so preoccupied with discussing where to settle and what tech path to take!
Oh yes that's frustrating.

Even after 16 years, I still have sad memories of losing GOTM 23 (Always War) in September 2007 literally on about turn 11 when I made the mistake of sending my starting warrior exploring and leaving the capital undefended.

Because of that memory, this time my starting warrior did almost no exploring - basically one walk around the capital's borders, which was at least sufficient to discover the forested rice SE, before returning to Madrid. I was very glad I did that when some turns later the 2023's roving archer rolled up...

As far as I can make out, it looks to me like those early exploring units will never enter your cultural borders UNLESS a city is undefended in which case they will immediately capture it (I suspect some AI-cheating here since they can't always see your city is undefended before entering borders).

Shame I don't think the issue of protecting your capital ever came up in the pre-game discussion - we were all so preoccupied with discussing where to settle and what tech path to take!
Not a big deal, I was not familiar with that setting and I have the habit of playing around the behavior of normal barbarians.

Also to be really safe, we would need a 2nd warrior since a unfortified warrior on a hill city only has even odds against an archer right?
I settled 1W on the plains hill in the end, with the plan of farming the banana and rice for early growth. After all the pre-game discussion about the time to research essential worker techs, I decided I couldn't afford the slow tech pace to animal husbandry, so I simply went agriculture-mining-bronze working-wheel-pottery. The pigs in the capital spent a long time being worked as a cottage before I got AH in a trade much later in the game.

My plan was to play for high-science/basic infrastructure for the first few cities, and then - once I felt I had the infrastructure to support it without totally crashing my economy, just expand everywhere I could to claim the land. I also wanted my inner core cities to be high-science, and the cities on my eventual borders to be the high-productions so that they could turn out wonders to help border expansion. I also, once I'd located the 2023's to the North, decided to leave them there for as long as possible as future land for me.

Accordingly I built/chopped/whipped Stonehenge in the capital (2225 BC) and The Oracle for code of laws (1475 BC). 2nd city went SE for the farmed rice. Ironically, it would also pick up the stone, but only AFTER its borders expanded thanks to the free Stonehenge-monument :crazyeye: 3rd city for the gold to the SW (would've been the 2nd city but I hadn't explored that area in time)

As of 5 BC, I have 9 cities. Total population 31, and also one settler heading for a crappy site to the North which is far too close to the 2023's and has no food, but it seems to be the only way I can get marble. Lots of of other sites pencilled in - mainly riverside places to the N, E and S. Just hope I can get to them in time. Despite my early infrastructure attempts, I can only break even on 30% science, which gives me just 33gpt - and that's going to get worse with the imminent land-grab.

I've explored enough to have figured that we started in the dead centre of a doughnut map, with the AI's apparently around the edge - nice idea, @kcd_swede :goodjob:. Loads of land, but I'm feeling a bit hampered by how much jungle there is around our starting area.

Happy resources are a bit short at the moment - I have confucianism, gold, gems, and have just hooked up dye. Wonders: Oracle, Stonehenge, Kong Miao and am building the Pyramids near the Martian borders.

Not a big deal, I was not familiar with that setting and I have the habit of playing around the behavior of normal barbarians.

Also to be really safe, we would need a 2nd warrior since a unfortified warrior on a hill city only has even odds against an archer right?

I reckon a bit more than even odds. Archer has strength 3 + a first strike. Off the top of my head, the defending warrior is 2 + 25% city defence + 25% hill defence + 25% for staying on the same spot for 5 turns (fortification) + probably 20% city culture. I make that 2 + 95% = 3.9 strength. Dunno what odds 3.9 vs 3+first strike would give but I'm guessing ballpark 80% chance of the archer attack failing. But that's still very risky given that if you lose that fight, you lose the game.

Nevertheless, I left only 1 warrior in my capital even after seeing the archer because it looked to me like it was exploring, and I therefore believed it wouldn't enter the cultural borders of a defended city. Plus once my capital was at size 2 and I had BW, I could whip another warrior if a dire emergency happened.
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