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Nobles' Club 222: Alexander of Greece

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by AcaMetis, Feb 9, 2020.

  1. AcaMetis

    AcaMetis King

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    The Nobles' Club series started out as a way for Noble-level (and below) players to improve their game. Most of the original participants now play at much higher levels, so this has become a way for advanced players to help others learn to play better. You can play your own game at any level and with any mod, but it would be nice to comment on the games of other players and give them advice.

    Our next leader is Alexander of Greece, whom we last played in NC 201; we last played the Greek under Pericles in NC 173. The Greek start with Fishing and Hunting.
    • Traits: Alexander is Aggressive and Philosophical. Aggressive gives a free Combat 1 promotion to all Melee and Gunpowder units, as well as a +100% :hammers: bonus to the Barracks and Drydock. Philosophical gives all cities +100% :gp: generation and a +100% :hammers: bonus to Universities.
    • The UB: The Odeon, a Colosseum with +1 :), +3:culture:, +2 Artist specialist slots and and additional +1:) with Hit Singles on top of what a regular Colosseum gives. If you ever need to solidify your control of a border city, both in terms of happiness and culture, this is the building you want.
    • The UU: The Phalanx, an Axeman with +100% defence vs. Chariots. Generally considered a waste of a UU, since the Greek start with Hunting and thus will be able to build Spears in any situation they can build Phalanxes. Still, if you're rushing someone that doesn't have Horseback Riding you might be able to get away with taking an extra Phalanx along rather than a Spear stack defender. Just be sure to use espionage to make sure your target doesn't get HBR halfway through your rush, otherwise you might end up regretting that decision :mischief:.
    And the start:

    Spoiler map details :
    Fractal, Temperate Climate, High sealevel.
    Spoiler edits :
    One Horse was moved a bit closer to an AI lacking a nearby strategic resource, another Horse was swapped with a Marble tile for the same reason, moved a Fish that was guaranteed to be ruined by AI capitol placement to the player's shores, and moved a Wheat source over a tile so the player wouldn't be forced to either settle on it or their capitol in a stupid spot so as to not ruin another Fish. The forest that Wheat tile was moved onto was moved to the Wheat's original spot, as well.

    The player's Scout was also moved from it's original position in order to make sure the player would see that second Fish and consider their capitol placement accordingly. I'm not sure if that's why that blue circle appears in the blackness, but if it is, now you know why.
    The WB-saves are attached (zipped; they are bigger than standard saves). To play, simply download and unzip it into your BTS/Saves/WorldBuilder folder. Start the game, and load your favorite MOD (if you use one, if not, check out the BUG MOD), select "Play Scenario", and look for "NC 222 Alexander Noble" (or Monarch, etc., for higher levels). You can play with your favorite MOD at the Level and Speed of your choice. From Quick-Warlord to Marathon-Deity, all are welcome! We stuck with the name "Nobles Club" because it has a cool ring to it.
    Spoiler what's up with specific difficulties :
    In each scenario file you can select your level of difficulty, but that doesn't give the AI the right bonus techs by itself. Use the Noble save for all levels at and below Prince. The Monarch save gives all the AI Archery. Emperor adds Hunting; Immortal adds Agriculture; Deity adds The Wheel.

    For players on Monarch or above, you should add archery as a tech for the barbarians (if you don't, the AI will capture their cities very early). This cannot be done in the WB save file and must be done in Worldbuilder as follows:
    Spoiler how to add techs to the barbarians :

    1. Zoom in all the way so you can't see the rest of the map.
    2. Use the CTRL-W key (or the menu) to enter the worldbuilder. Avoid looking at the mini-map in the lower right corner.
    3. By default you're in "player" mode (look in the box in the upper right; the icon that looks like a person should be selected). You'll get a drop down menu labelled with your leader's name. Barbarians are at the bottom, so cover the rest of the list with your hand if you don't want to see who else is on the map. Select "Barbarians".
    4. Select the "Technologies" tab in the box on the left.
    5. Find Archery (the arrow head icon; 8th row, 3rd column from the right) and click it.
    6. Exit the worldbuilder.
    7. Zoom out again after the map fades, and start playing.
    If you're playing at higher level than Monarch, consider also giving them Hunting at Emperor, Agriculture at Immortal, and The Wheel at Deity.
    Spoiler huts and events :
    Note: The standard saves have no huts and have events turned off. If you want tribal villages and random events, choose the saves with "Huts" in their names. If you want huts but no events, select the Huts saves and use Custom Scenario to turn on the option that suppresses events.
     

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  2. AcaMetis

    AcaMetis King

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    On the one side, Fish. On the other side, 2:food:2:hammers:2:commerce: city tile. Delicious :yumyum:. To SIP or to move onto the PH Wine? Or to do something else entirely :hmm:? What do the experts think :)?
     
  3. krikav

    krikav Theorycrafter

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    Haha, thats a sadistic opening! :D

    A first glance at the starting screenshow and it looks like settlement on the PH-Wine could orphan that northern fish too..
    With wet corn and no 3H tile available, I think that worker first and agri makes sense though.
    Moving up that hill with the settler and moving scout so that one can scout abit more of the coast in the north-west on T1 before commiting seems prudent.

    Lovely with riverside fur, takes care of all commerce needs early!
     
  4. Tobiyogi

    Tobiyogi Prince

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    Very unlucky that the Scout is out of position. From what I see, SIP is not the worst option. With +7F from fish/corn, the capitol can easily work fur + mined wine and will have very decent early commerce. Also we have fishing already. So I would probably not move.

    Edit: Very nice river btw! When we follow it to the south we might be able to settle a 2. city that will be instantly connected. TW/pottery can be delayed, i would obviously tech Agri first and then rush BW.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2020
  5. Tobiyogi

    Tobiyogi Prince

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    I am curious to see how Phalanx will look like with Bat Mod. Useful unit or not, it reminds of Civ 2 where it was the earliest city defender. :smug:
     
  6. AcaMetis

    AcaMetis King

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    Appropriately enough they are actually the best city defenders that Alexander can get early - a Shock Phalanx will be chosen over a CG I Archer against a CR II Sword/Axe, a Shock Axe, or a Combat II Chariot/HA. Of course you definitely want a Spear defending against Horse Archers, because they get pretty good odds otherwise. Assuming fully fortified in a Walled city, BTW, on a hill or flatland.
     
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  7. krikav

    krikav Theorycrafter

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    @AcaMetis
    I didn't realize they got that good odds, but I figured they would be a awesome unit to defend against an early DoW anyway.
    Spoiler :

    So when shaka started plotting early, I figured I would put them to the test. :)
    Unfortunatly, now it's T80 and 5 Phalanxes has been standing idle in Sparta for a very long time. :(
    Shaka the coward!

    Civ4ScreenShot0016.JPG
     
  8. AcaMetis

    AcaMetis King

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    They are, they just die to HA. Assuming a Shock Phalanx fully fortified in a walled flatland city, the highest odds among the rest of the base early units is a CR II Axe at ~4% to outright win. A Combat II HA gets ~23%. Although to be fair, that's less than the odds of that same HA outright killing a CG I Archer fully fortified on a walled hill city - ~26%. It's also more than the odds of a CR II Praetorian outright killing the Phalanx, ~21%, fun fact.

    In short, AGG Phalanxes are great city defenders compared to "AGG" Archers, especially on flatland, but don't try to defend against Horse Archer without Spears. It won't end well.
     
  9. scheines

    scheines Chieftain

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    My first game on emperor:

    Spoiler 4000 BC to 2280 BC (T43) :


    T1: Settled in place. Scout couldn't / didn't reveal much to the south. Thought about settling on wine, but didn't want to lose the fish:
    NC222 Alexander T1.png

    T2 - T30 or so:
    • Met Suryavarman II on T5 and Shaka (ugh) shortly after.
    • Teched Agri -> Mining -> BW -> Wheel -> started Masonry -> AH -> Masonry -> Mysticism.
    • Capital went worker first. Misplanned a bit ... worker had 4 idle turns so I mined the wine, temporarily at least.
    • Lost my scout to a lion, so not as much scouting of Shaka as I'd like to have.
    NC222 Alexander T30.png

    From here I pushed out a settler SW on the plains hill. Stole the pigs from Shaka, and secured the flood plains. Possible cities will probably be:
    • South of Athens to secure marble and stone
    • Way out west for the horse... if Shaka hasn't taken it yet.
    • Between the spices (SE corner so fish can be shared)
    • 2 S of the fish out west (3 food sources - could probably split to 2 cities but the land is kind of crap otherwise.
    The latter options will be stronger cities IMO, but I need to claim those key resources. Plus, I've learned to expand inward to the AIs first, then backfill behind myself. There also appear to be some decent sites way south of Athens, but I'm assuming it'll be tight to get more than 1 of them.


    NC222 Alexander T43.png

    Broadly speaking strategy wise, I'm hoping to leverage aggressive to 2v1 Shaka out of the match since Phalanxes > Impis, and Suryavarman tends to be a more stable AI. Seems like we could be a continent of 3, but the jury is still out.

    Philosophical will be put to good use with the flood plains + triple food city to the east. Or, is it a mistake to farm floodplains?



     

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    Last edited: Feb 9, 2020
  10. scheines

    scheines Chieftain

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    Spoiler 2280 BC to 550 BC (T93) :


    Well, the barbs stole a city spot :(. Was a bit earlier than I'm used to, so I hadn't gotten much fog busters out yet.
    NC222 Alexander T58.png

    Regardless, I did some decent expanding, taking care to nab the horses, marble, and stone. I planned to nab one more city by the crab, take Apache, then catapult + phalanx rush someone. I also have an egregious worker shortage around here since I did 3 settlers early (wanted those key resources), but also wanted some phalanxes for defense.

    Also, I met Saladin, shortly after here, about T75. He has Hinduism so I'm hoping I can latch onto that for free diplo points, and keep the peace on my terms.

    NC222 Alexander T73.png

    Nope! Shaka had other ideas... I transition into full war mode. Thought about failgolding the pyramids with stone, but eschewed the idea and started whipping about 90% Phalanxes, and 10% Spearmen. Don't think I really need spears since phalanxes have a nice %defense vs chariots, but I figured they may be handy in an assault periodically.

    NC222 Alexander T81.png

    His first attack went poorly for him. One Phalanx with cover + shock can do wonders!


    NC222 Alexander T83.png

    From here I move in on uMgungundlovu. It's only 6v4 unit wise, but I have a few shock + cover phalanxes that mop up the city 4/4. I razed the city since it was stupidly settled on the rice. I will probably move it 1 tile east toward the river, or 1 tile SW for the fish (not pictured here).

    NC222 Alexander T88.png


    I left off T93 planning to take Bulawayu. Not a great first ring, but an oasis and some grasslands in ring 2. Plus, I want to fight a 1 front war. Jury is out on whether I press on until Shaka is either dead, or I'll hit a wall and need catapults.

    Otherwise, things are well. A little overwhipped in a few places, but you can never have too many troops vs. Shaka or Monty. Thinking ahead I will have to decide if I take more cities or peace treaty + wipe him out with catapults. I also could use the 10 turns to raze and resettle Apache in a nicer place. I'm also weary of Suryavarman expanding too much into the land below Bulawayu, so maybe some peace would be useful here.

    NC222 Alexander T93.png


     

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  11. scheines

    scheines Chieftain

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    Spoiler 550 BC to 1100 AD (T170) :


    Taking Bulawayu was a success! I moved into the unexplored peninsula Shaka had - not totally sure how many cities he had left. I found his capital, Ulundi. Here it would have been 5-6 phalanxes and a spear vs 2 axes and an archer. It felt risky to attack here because of the 50% culture, so I opted to nab currency to sustain a long war, then take him out with catapults.

    NC222 Alexander T95.png

    Here I am ready to go! ~8 catapults, 8 phalanxes and a few spears ready to go. I accidentally went on strike here a turn - slight misplay by me, but thankfully I could easily fix it swapping to wealth. I took the capital easily - I was more concerned with what's behind the fog here.

    I met Ragnar somewhere here, around T120. The continent keeps growing...

    NC222 Alexander T124.png


    The war pressed on as one sided as it started - I took Nobamba for myself, and razed (level 1 city) his final city in the bottom left corner here. I'd love to have kept it since it had 2 food sources, but I felt a tad overexpanded here - so I had no issue to leave that city for later. Here's the Greeks after eliminating Shaka:

    NC222 Alexander T-IDK.png


    Quickly after, I nab Apache from the barbs. Only a few archers here, so it was an easy city. I opted to keep it since it was level 4, and had 2 food sources. It wastes the fish above, but I preferred to keep the level 4 city and get a few extra land tiles.

    NC222 Alexander T148.png

    Turns out I nabbed the pyramids in Shaka's capital, so I overhaul my civics to Representation, Bureaucracy, Caste System, and Pacifism. Putting philosophical to good use here like I hoped!

    All the prior GP were scientists, used for:
    • Academy in capital
    • Settled in capital, since I didn't feel like bulbing math
    • Bulb Philosophy
    • This 4th one - bulb some of Education.

    NC222 Alexander T150.png

    The next turns were for winning the lib race. Once Shaka was eliminated, peace was easy to keep since everyone I knew until paper was in Hinduism. 1100 AD is about my time for this game. Very slow compared to what I see compared to others here. Obviously the war slows you some, and Immortal/Diety tech trades help, but I feel like I'm missing something when it comes to getting to lib faster than 1000 AD?

    NC222 Alexander T170.png

    From here, I considered holding on lib to try for MT or better. All 7 empires for standard size have been met, and I'm cleanly ahead. So, I could wait to try and bulb chemistry / steel / etc., but I'd rather just harness the military advantage and use cuirassiers + trebuchets to gain some land. The snake continent makes for easy, 1 front warfare. I'm most likely to just push through the civs closest to me in order. I could play optimally for diplomacy and start with Isabella (who is warring with Ragnar) and Cyrus, but the distance is rather far.


     

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    Last edited: Feb 9, 2020
  12. sampsa

    sampsa Ghost

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    Spoiler :
    I think settling on the wine is clearly better than SIP, that city center tile is just too good to pass on. Lucky to get the gold in BFC. Agri-mining-BW-wheel-pot-writ-(math).

    At BW decided to go for 2-worker 1-city axes which seem to have a different name for Greeks. It's kinda slow, so not sure if it's good. His stack is in uMung, so maybe if I grab Bulawayo first he will do some stupid counter-attack on me.

    Civ4ScreenShot0170.JPG
     
  13. sampsa

    sampsa Ghost

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    Spoiler :
    War went better than I could dream really. Got Bulawayo, some weak counter-attack/suicide by him and took uMung. Cease fire.

    Civ4ScreenShot0171.JPG

    Around turn 70 Shaka declares on me, which is nice since no diplo hit from others. Got two cities more and extorted HBR+IW in peace deal. Now I can finish him at construction, got even ivory via trade. Peace treaty just expired. Got an academy in Athens and the empire has nice teching potential. Can't see what could go wrong really. ;)

    Civ4ScreenShot0172.JPG
     
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  14. AcaMetis

    AcaMetis King

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    Spoiler :
    If you're talking about taking out Shaka completely I do see an off-continent city he's founded. Hope your elephants won't be too heavy for the boats :lol:.
     
  15. krikav

    krikav Theorycrafter

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    Spoiler T131 :

    I loaded back to around T70 and left my city almost empty (placed Phalanxes outside of the city) and that was enough to make Shaka go for it, so I got some early action.
    Did some defensive warring (lost 6 Phalanxes) with the goal to get two GGenerals and unlock heroic.
    Shortly after our war, Shaka started plotting again, so I went on a wonderbuilding spree as I was pretty much safe after that.
    Civ4ScreenShot0009.JPG

    Alot of failgold action, but I also got some gold selling techs to the AIs, something makes them tech very slow. (Little land? Hostilities?)
    Finished parthenon, bulbed philosophy, no academy.
    This turn I bulb paper, 2bulb education and put a bulb into lib.
    Civ4ScreenShot0010.JPG

    Seeing that I'm crazy ahead (noone has paper, only Saladin+Sury has CS, only saladin has philosophy), and Shaka keeps Sury busy, I don't rush to some military action but instead lib constitution. Will finish Taj in about a dozen turns and that golden age has got to be something spectacular with sistine, representation, phi-trait and parthenon.
    I think I will continue bulbing PP, finish that and trade for optics with my friend Sury and 2bulb astronomy too.
    Have a fancy idea to go around killing everyone by boat because it's so much more fun than going with horses.
    Civ4ScreenShot0012.JPG


    @AcaMetis
    Spoiler :

    I'm starting to think that you have to fiddle around with the settings somehow, perhaps go with a large map or remove some AI, to counteract the high sea level setting...?
     
  16. AcaMetis

    AcaMetis King

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    Spoiler :
    The High Sealevel setting is to make it easier for AIs to spawn nearby and quickly run out of room to peacefully settle (= early DoWs, unless Shaka is too smart to suicide his army :wallbash:), with added Cold climate if I want things to be really cramped (see the Catherine map), or to roll a (semi-)iso start on Fractal maps. Which I was kinda going for in this case, but if I ended up with something else suitable to send Shaka your way instead I'd take it. The side effect of keeping most AIs relatively small (usually) is unfortunate, but in this case I think at least part of the teching slowness is due to the AIs. Izzy in her own religion, and two other religious blocks with the player, Shaka and Sury on one end and Sally, Ragnar and Cyrus on the other. I imagine a few wars and/or First Impressions have slowed down the tech game.

    If there's call for a more land-filled map, though, I can certainly do that. Next on the docket is either Brennus (CHA/SPI) or Napoleon (CHA/ORG), and either could work for a bigger map - ORG for cheap Courthouses, SPI for flexible diplo on a map where you're not isolated from any of the AIs.
     
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  17. krikav

    krikav Theorycrafter

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    @AcaMetis
    Spoiler :

    Ah, I see the point of the settings then. It's nice to have the AIs nearby and to have it abit cramped, it makes the start very action-packed. (And the start is what is most interesting anyway).
    But I do feel abit sorry for the poor sods, when they get stuck with 4-5 cities and can't really do much after that. :)

     
  18. Qactus

    Qactus Romani ite domum

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    Spoiler 1180AD Diplomatic advice needed :

    Going for OCC Space Colony on Emperor here.
    Just reached Biology and started to preserve forests while building national park. Until now, being at war with Shaka did not disturb me too much, but now that my workers need to be busy building those 14 forest preserves, I need to keep him at bay somehow.
    The best thing IMO would be a religious war against the infidels (Saladin is AP resident and we're all Hindu). But how do I start that? Since I'm bad at handling diplo, I thought I just ask you guys.
    What does it take to bribe the AI against Shaka? I should have enough tech to offer as a reward, but I need to unlock the option. Obviously only Sury shares a border with Shaka. I think I could get relations up to friendly with some, IF that is what's needed.
    The other option would be to build HE and attack Shaka with cannons, but in OCC I'd rather have the AI do that for me. Or better yet, with me.

    Capital.JPG
    Healer.JPG
    Tech.JPG
    Diplo.JPG

    Thanks for any pointers! And thanks for the game!
     
  19. scheines

    scheines Chieftain

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    Sury can be bribed at pleased if the target is pleased or lower. For Saladin, he has to be pleased with you and annoyed with the target civ.

    This is coming from the Civ Illustrated know your enemy post on the forum.

    I think there is also some requirement I’m less concrete on that the AI has to gain “something to gain” to declare the war. I assume they just need to share a border for this?
     
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  20. AcaMetis

    AcaMetis King

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    Spoiler :
    IIRC, for the AP to have a resolution to declare Holy War on someone they must be a non-member of the AP (have the AP religion in none of their cities) and be in an active war with one or more AP members (not sure if this only counts full members or if it also counts partial members, but that doesn't really matter in this case since if the AP is Hindu everyone but Shaka is a full member anyway). In the screenshot you can see that Shaka has Hindu in kwaDukuza, so he's a partial AP member this game.

    My advice would be to check who you can bribe on Shaka (there's a tab with a convenient overview of all possible diplo actions in the F5 menu, IIRC, Sit-Rep or something) and see who of those can chain-bribe others on Shaka. If you can't get anything rolling as is you'll need to either get other AIs higher or get them lower with Shaka. Espionage can be useful for the latter - swap Shaka out of someone's favorite civic, for instance.
     
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