Nobles' Club 299: Pacal II of the Mayan Empire

I don't know all the details, but IIRC how much you can demand/beg from an AI depends on your military strength, their military strength, how long you've known the AI and whether or not you're considered land targets of each other. Obviously the more of a treat you pose the more an AI is willing to give, but if you've begged recently (which I think is a chance percent for an AI to forget every turn, I think an average of 50 turns to forget a beg?) that amount is either greatly reduced or non-existent.
IIRC a beg will always be successful against a friendly/pleased AI if 1) you haven't begged recently, 2) you don't ask for too much, and 3) your total begs haven't exceeded some value. So if you want to beg to prevent a DOW by an AI who plots at pleased (and get a 10-turn peace treaty), it makes sense to beg for something small - say, 10 gold.

You can't beg from an AI whose attitude is Cautious or worse.

I haven't had any luck demanding stuff from an AI who was plotting against me. I suppose once they feel they're strong enough to attack me, they feel able to tell me to get lost when I demand things. What does work during a war is demanding things from neutrals, so they can't be bribed into the war or vassal to the AI you're fighting.
Thanks for the info on demand.

>> Demanding isn't really helpful to stop someone from attacking you. If they've been plotting for a while, then they will have built up enough troops that you won't have a favorable military strength
It worked for me in this game against one of the AIs. I had considerably more strength than they, yet they started plotting. I looked at the favorable/unfavorable for each AI and determined that he had to be plotting on me. So I demanded, he took the demand and sure enough plotting stopped. So it can be useful.
Turn 54 :
Spoiler :
I decided to backfill Hunting and Fishing after Pottery. Probably going for Writing, now, otherwise my cities won't have anything to build. With Ivory, Horseback Riding is tempting, if only to trade for Alphabet.
3 Granaries, 4 cities, 6 workers (!), 5 warriors, have been paying 3 gold on units for some time, now. Chichten Itza developped extra fast with granary at size 1, then shared corn from the capital and 3 workers on duty.

Zara stole the corn to the south early on. That makes the available city spots rather weak (hence backfilling Fishing).
It is pretty sweet to play Pacal with a forest spam, though.
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T58 :
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This is only 4 turns later, mind you, and, yet, a huge BOOM forward. I think it's important to see how a situation develops to understand past moves :
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^All first 3 cities are at happy cap, working max tiles. Mutal is working 2 unimproved tiles despite the overload in workforce.
Writing will have been a 6 turns research.
Counting the lake and the shared tiles, Mutal needs to be size 12 to work all of its tiles, or size 9 if we discount the hills : this is very affordable.
However, I consider this to be a very poor map, due to the lack of strong cities 2-3-4 and even 5-6-7.

Spoiler :

The situation in the south is extremely awkward. Zara stole the corn early. Now he's making a move towards the gems/cows. Worst case, I wanted a helper city 2N1E of the cows (sharing some tiles with the capital and, most importantly, the corn to kickstart the city). Now it may not be doable.
Zara is the obvious war target, btw. Rome has had Pratorians from day 1, practically.
If we look at our cities, there is seemingly a production surplus. It would be easy to fire off 3 settlers RIGHT NOW. However, there are no strong sites to send them to.
Keeping in mind Ivory, Odeons and War Elephants and looking at the northern screen,
Masonry is a prerequisite to our plans, so
The next move is to settle ON THE STONE (saving 8 worker turns - having 6 workers is no reason not to save worker turns) to get a shot at the Pyramids (fail gold, possibly).
The excellent commerce situation makes this move, essentially, a freebie.

With stone, the Pyramids cost 250H. 6 forest yield 120H, 2 stored whips (Settler and Worker) can provide 60, worked tiles need to provide 70 : this gives (me) a timeline for worker management. Whips need to happen at the latest.
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T70 :
Spoiler :
Masonry was researched T62 eot and the Pyramids started T63 so, effectively, an 8-turns build.
At that time, Mutal had max overflow stored for a 3pop whipped settler and a 2pop whipped worker. The Pyramids are ready to complete T70 eot.
A Library has been rushed in Lakamha to start working on :gp:, giving me the option to bulb Mathematics in a timely fashion (researching HBR + Maths + Construction is a no go).
The economy is at an all-time low, due to this heavy whipping (5pop in Mutal, 2pop in Lakamha, 5pop in Chichten Itza). Fortunately, the recovery should be very fast, since I've acquired 3+ happy cap and "just" need to regrow on my tiles.

Spoiler :

^ 4 unworked cottages and 8 workers. Trade routes with Rome will be unlocked in a couple of turns.
This settler is indeed a sad settler. It can either go to the NE and grab the jungled sugar... or go SW and settle with a grass cow in the 1st ring... which is claimed by Zara at the moment. The prospect of a maintenance hit for city 6 is not glamour at all.
A couple of warriors have been sent exploring for the other AIs (north and south) but they still have ways to go. I hope they make it in time for the Alpha trade and, hopefully, a Mathematics trade.
By my rough estimate, Construction should be known T90 at the latest.
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@BornInCantaloup Unhappy settler should consider career as diplomat. There is probably a nice place to set up embassy somewhere on Zara's eastern border, or maybe NE of Rome.
@ BiC
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As @ Whisker suggested, gifting a city to AC might be a good choice. AC might be plotting on Sury. But if AC's target is you, that would be dangerous.

Judging from the mini-map, it seems Zara stole the Horse from you. Elepults would be a nice solution.
Interesting. Thank you both, @ Konata and Whisker. Your assessments are indeed quite lucid and correct.
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Spoiler :

So, this is how it went. Yes, I did lose a lot of ground to Zara.
I delayed my 3rd city to time it with Pottery. By the time I got it, it wasn't an option anymore to settle corn/gems. I believe it would have been possible to rush the site and delay both Pottery and improvements but... the gems being jungled... the city having no access to river tiles... being far away and costing extra maintenance... I still believe my line was fine/good. I also didn't expect Zara to claim the spot that early.
Corn/gems is, imho, the best spot for city 4. Rushing it for city 3 or 2 induces sacrifices ; the earlier, the sharper.
In my mind, I then went : "okay, I'll settle west of the gems, then."
I still did settle Uxmal first and I also stand by that decision. As a matter of fact, Zara had a settler party en route when I settled.
Then Zara settled the sugar and I went : "okay, he's my war target, then I'll settle north towards Rome."
Then I went : "hum... maybe settling with cows in the first ring is best and start with a Monument."

You both suggest gifting the city. The thought has crossed my mind but I quickly dismissed it.
I think that gifting cities is mostly bad and the move doesn't really have a place in my play patterns.
However, you both rightfully recognize the uselessness of my settler (for which I paid 3pop) :lol: :goodjob:

I think you both point out the right play starting from now. City 5 is a junker, now is not the time to settle a junker city 6.
Now, what I really think is that building this settler was a mistake to start with.
I should have recognized earlier its low-to-negative value and tried to get overflow hammers from another build.
It's conspicuous that Mutal still lacks its Library. I could easily have put 15-20 hammers into that Library and still complete the Pyramids t70 eot.

In the same line of thought, during the last 12 turns, Chichten Itza has contributed a settler and a worker. I do believe the worker was another mistake and the Library should have been 2pop whipped instead.

End result : no awkward settler, 1 less worker (still 7 for 5 cities), 2 extra Libraries.
Thank you both for your input, cheers :egypt:

ps : sidenote on losing the horses. I think this is a Deity difficulty thing. After losing the corn, that whole area is very awkward to settle (mountain ranges, border pops, low commerce, jungle tile). I was a little disappointed to lose the area but I will mention that up to Immortal, it's probably possible to claim it all with an organic development, i.e. without resorting to far away grab cities.
pps : there's an unclaimed clams 4N of Gondar. I'm not confident it's a reasonable settling spot (500 culture will be coming). Maybe it is. It's a convenient point to start an invasion (yes, Rome is plotting, I know...).
ps : sidenote on losing the horses. I think this is a Deity difficulty thing.
Spoiler :

Yes, I think only Deity AIs expand so fast. You may find, in the previous page, some write-ups at Immortal and Emperor. Below Immortal, the player usually can peacefully build 8 or more cities, but Deity AI starts with two settlers and everything becomes insane. A "builder map" at Noble level might become a typical construction rush map if we change the difficulty to Deity.

You've also noticed the tough choice in this map: the surrounding land is not very nice, settling too early towards the jungle/desert might crush the economy; but if you don't settle it, AIs will grab it. That's also what I felt when I played this at Emperor. I really didn't want to settle too early towards jungle pig or jungle gem, but I had to do that.
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