Nobles' Club 257: Justinian I of Byzantium


May 21, 2018
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 Justinian I of Byzantium, whom we last played in NC 174. The Byzantines start with Mysticism and The Wheel.
  • Traits: Justinian I is Imperialistic and Spiritual. Imperialistic adds +100% to Great General generation and +50% :hammers: bonus to Settler production. Note that excess :food: directly converted to :hammers: won't benefit from this bonus. Spiritual allows you to swap state religion/civics without suffering Anarchy, and gives a +100%:hammers: bonus to all Temples.
  • The UB: The Hippodrome, a Theatre with +1:) and double the happiness bonus from running your :culture: slider, but it gets +1:) from access to Horses rather than Dye and it doesn't add two Artist specialist slots. Overall not a bad building, but it makes Horses that much more important for Justinian I when they already are very important. Why? Well...
  • The UU: The Cataphract, a Knight with base 12:strength: instead of 10:strength:, although it loses it's innate immunity to First Strike. These guys hit as hard as a Cuirassier, and while they don't innately ignore Walls and Castles they can still wreak an awful lot of havoc on the battlefield. Combine with siege for a slow and steady approach to warfare, or run the espionage slider and use spies to instigate revolts/sabotage Walls at key moments for a more fast and loose, high risk but high reward style of play.
And the start:

Spoiler map details :
Inland Sea, Temperate climate, Medium sealevel, +1 AI to balance out the field.
Spoiler edits :
A few resource swaps were done to give AIs nearby strategic resources and the player nearby Iron/Horse.
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 257 Justinian I 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.
Spoiler 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 labeled 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.


  • NC 257 Justinian
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May 21, 2018
That screenshot did not look that awkward ingame :undecide:. In any case, nothing special to the west that we can see, so I'd say the choice is between settling 1E for the T0 settle and saved forest, or settling 1SE for the 2:hammers: city tile. What do the experts think :)?


Aug 5, 2015
Great stuff @AcaMetis!

Looks like its FPs to the west!

Because of awkward starting techs (would need Hunting or AGG + AH to work tiles. ca. 20 turns of research) I'm tempted to settle the PH 1SE and go settler first. Then settle the PH tile 3W 1S from starting location.

The big question.. given starting tech being IMP is settler fist the best return? Over lets say worker first (build some roads etc.)?
It would obvious change if we see a agg or hunt food tile in cap from new hill. or would it?
or if its just a cool move? :)


Mar 6, 2020
Spoiler :

Not flood plains sadly!

I went settler first, I think probably this is a mistake as it felt very slow, but it would be interesting to compare. Worker can also improve time taken to improve food by roading a little.

edit: I don’t think we’re going to be short of hammers in this capital for imp settlers however!


Feb 4, 2020
Spoiler To T45 :

Elected to settle 1SE because the start was not promising to the west. Assumed the engine couldn't give me so little :cry:.

Ended up working out. Lost a forest but got the stone, and horse in BFC. The horse is awkwardly placed and this means I don't need to settle a food-less city for it at least.

Capital started worker -> warriors like normal, then built a settler at size 2 because the tiles aren't great.

Worker farmed a tile, then built some random roads until AH was in (see below). Kind of wasted turns, but couldn't think of anything else worth the time? Maybe roading a different direction, but I wanted to end up by the cow, so not sure what else I could've done.

Teching was agriculture -> AH -> pottery -> mining -> BW. I knew I wanted AH first, and hunting appeared to be useless, even though it's cheaper than agriculture. This way, I can expand naturally into the wheat without needing another tech. Pottery next was kind of a knee-jerk call: I have a lot of hammers from 3 brown pastures; but not such great food. Seems like I won't be whipping much, so I just went ahead and got granaries to get to a larger size to work more tiles. Plus, I needed something else to grow on other than my 6th warrior (can't be spending :gold: on units!). Once I have some more food rich cities, perhaps whipping can come into play.

I also thought I might need a bit of extra commerce from an early cottage to help speed up BW + writing, but the worker stays plenty busy so far. Plus the riverside improvements are a help. In hindsight, I think earlier chops might be worth reconsidering?

PS - with 2x cow and horse, I can 5 turn a settler at size 3. My gut is telling me that whipping the capital isn't going to pay off much here? There are only 2 tiles with surplus food, which means growth will take quite some time.


The question is, where to settle next? Corn or pig city feels the most pressing, as I am at a threat of losing it to Saladin. Perhaps pig city first since it'll be a 6:food: tile compared to 5:food: from the corn? On the other hand, the east cow city would have TRs. In the absence of guidance, I would probably take the pig first.

(yes, I should be working the riverside farm and not the forest. I fixed that after making the post)




  • Justinian I BC-2200.CivBeyondSwordSave
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Oct 19, 2006
Deity, no huts no events normal speed, played up to <hidden date> game not finished yet. I think I messed-up somewhere and I'm not even sure how. I'll play this out to the end though.

What do I do wrong?

Spoiler :

Starting position

I mismanaged my economy somehow. Bronze working by BC-2600, writing by BC-1440, so far so good.


Then my economy went into a screeeeeeeeeching halt and Aesthetics did not arrive until BC-300. The standard play of Aesthetics, trade for alphabet, then build research, went out the window.

Change of plans: slowly inch my way to Guilds by AD-760. Normally we would have curaissers or cannons by that point. Vassalage, Theocracy, whip my cities to stone age and take some cities with cataphracts.

Target capitulated to someone else, I was force to declare war on their master and keep pressing. Master came with stack of doom twice my size, mostly maceman and trebuchets.

Cataphracts with combat II are actually decent on the field.

By AD-1130, with exposed units on the field, give a tech for peace.

I don't have education yet. Two AIs already have democracy.

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