Nobles' Club 304: Charlemagne of the Holy Roman Empire

Don't have much time to play BTS recently. Finally got some time to finish the game :whew:.

From T263 to T323
Spoiler :

Settings as below, no huts

Kublai was plotting :hmm:

Kublai's stack was in a city close to Mayan borders while his coastal cities only had 2 or 3 units. So Kublai's target was probably Pacal, not me.

Built a fleet, Arty, and Inf. to attack the other continent. Reload here once, because I initially attacked Kublai first, wasted some time on useless techs such as Radio and Biology, so it delayed my Industrialism. I also attacked from Asoka's side, which turned out to be another mistake. I should have aimed Kublai's core cities. As a result, Kublai got tanks before me. Even my power was almost twice than his, the war became tedious and long :wallbash:. So I reloaded from the turn my attack was ready, with same units, same techs. This time I begged 1 :gold: from Kublai and attacked Pacal first. After the war started, I directed Sury to tech Biology while I self-teched Industrialism and Combustion. This time the war went much better and shorter.

Kublai dogpiled Pacal on the same turn I declared. Pacal capitulated after only losing 2 cities:

Building some Tanks and marines, as Kublai got Artilleries. When the 10 turns peace treaty ended, sent Inf., marines, tanks, and Arty to DoW Kublai and Asoka. This time my units ignored Asoka, went through Pacal's land and marched towards Kublai's capital. Gifted a captured Mayan city back to Pacal, because that city was under Indian culture pressure and had Oil in its BFC. Keeping that city would make Asoka grab that Oil tile, while giving back the city to Pacal would deprive Asoka of the only Oil nearby.
I wonder if Kublai swapped his personality with Pacal :hmm:. In this game Karakorum held more wonders than Mutal and Delhi :crazyeye:
And look at these settled GScientists :eek:!

Kublai capitulated after losing his capital and some core cities:

Asoka capitulated on the same turn:

Next turn, domination:

With 1000+ land tiles and far away strong techers, the game is usually long. The lesson to learn for me is do not delay Industrialism if industrial/modern era wars are required:

Kublai spammed Cavs and Inf., probably because he was plotting.

Charly is a horrible leader. After several games at Emperor, I rarely struggle with techs at Monarch. But the tech situation at the end of this game is frustrating: even with Rathaus, Charly's tech rate is pathetic compared to Pacal and Kublai's :sad:.

In comparison, this is the tech situation at the end of the recent Hammi NC301, at Emperor:

Rathaus can compensate to some degree the weak starting techs and weak traits of Charly. But it doesn't save Charlie from being one of the worst leaders in the game. Good starting techs (Agri + TW, or Agri + Mining) and economical traits are much better than Hunt + Myst with PRO.

With unit-spamming neighbours and far away wonder-spammers, I don't think this is an ideal map for people who just move up to a new difficulty level. OTOH, this map is a very good "final exam" before moving up to the next level: if one can win this game without reloading, without others' help, it may be the sign that he/she is ready to challenge a higher level.

Thanks for this "final exam" :)

About the religions in this map:
Spoiler :

Not sure when Buddhism is founded in others' game. But in my game, from T7, I knew this game might be tough and long, because Buddhism was founded on T7, one turn earlier than usual. Such case usually happens when a FIN leader starts with Myst and has capital Oasis

Only 3 FIN leaders who start with Myst: WK, Capac, and Pacal. In Fractal/Continents maps, Pacal or Capac might run away if they're not on the human player's continent.
After meeting WK who had no religion, I thought Pacal or Capac was probably on the other continent. AI Pacal or Capac is often wonder-spamming, tech like crazy, a serious threat to culture or space victory.

Optics contacts revealed the 7-turns Buddhism founder was Pacal. After Astro, a sentry HA scouted Pacal's land. Pacal has indeed Oasis in his capital:

I said that if the map creator had given me 6 gems in capital, I would have played this map on Emperor. It's a little exaggerated :lol:, but a weak leader like Charlie often needs nice land to keep tech parity with far away Pacal. Charlie's land is above average though: HRE's surrounding area is definitely much nicer than Ragnar's massive jungle or WK's riverless coast, but other continent has better land. Pacal has double gems and Kublai has a long river of flood plains.

Spoiler :

It's amusing to get a GGeneral Charles Martel when playing as Charlie, as in real history Charles Martel is the grandfather of Charlemagne :lol:

Spoiler The northern part of the HRE :

Spoiler The southern part :

This is Prince difficulty. I'm not too bothered by how it's going so far, since my biggest issue is being far too passive and I'd normally expect Ragnar to have declared on me by turn 120. I have three city spots that I'd like to fill, on the north side of the river's mouth on the west, the forest 1NE of the archer in the second picture, and off to the east on the spit that would get dry rice, fish, and clams. I settled 1NW of the start because of the dry rice in addition to being able to just barely see that there was coast off to the east. I feel like I need to start moving fast or Sury is going to be able to run roughshod over the northern civs, and then I'll really be behind the 8 ball.
High production start, already have hunting as a starting tech, map script that generally offers more land than pangaea and fractal, lack of defensive terrain and foresthills, AND protective! - the stars align perfectly for early archery.
On immortal you can skip archery 90% of the time but on deity I go archery more often than not. One of the key differences between those two difficulty levels is the barb rush and amount of pressure it puts on your early turns.
Spoiler :

Met Kublai and his vassal Ashoka. Their combined 20 odd cities were not welcome news but at least Kublai and Pacal are not in the same religion. I traded for engineering and music with Kublai/ Ashoka but didn’t get much out of them techwise.

Kublai would trade marble so I went nationalism to attempt the Taj. I also had a great scientist I could use to part bulb education and try to lib MT. The plan was to attack Sury with Cuirs.

Then three or so turns into teching nationalism, Kublai got it. A few turns later both he and Ashoka had paper. I carried on teching nationalism for trade bait and to fail gold the Taj (because I couldn’t see myself beating him to it). Also, the golden age that would come from it would probably not be used to its maximum. I often find that I finish the Taj around the time I need to start whipping units for upgrade meaning I don’t get much out of the golden age. I think I saw someone mention libbing nationalism rather than MT when you have marble. I’ll have to try that some time. It certainly makes sense.

I finished nationalism and WK tipped over to friendly. I gave him nationalism for gunpowder and then astro plus music for chemistry. This got me -4 with both Pacal and Kublai for worst enemy trade but favourite civics plus some cheap techs I gifted them when we first met meant we stayed at cautious at least. I went for steel with the intention of attacking Sury – or more likely Pacal – when WK finished his unexpected military science bee line and Sury started plotting.

Sury was cautious with me and Wang. He wasn’t too fond of the other continent either but didn’t have astronomy so it seemed pretty likely it was me or Wang. I didn’t share borders with Sury so it seemed most likely it was Wang rather than me. I traded steel for military science with Wang and started whipping units. I smashed my iron so I could build trebs and upgraded fifteen with the 1900 gold I got from a trade mission to Karakorum. I also had another GM but I kept him for a golden age along with the GS I’d intended for education before it became clear lib was too risky. I needed to connect my iron again to start building landsknecht. It also meant I could trade my copper to Wang as I no longer needed it to build maces. I built a few grenadiers for stack defence but I mainly had landsknecht and maces for mopping up.

My GS watched Sury’s stack and it looked like it was going for Wang and it was. He took Brika pretty quickly with a massive stack of medieval junk smashing into protective grenadiers on a hill. He still had enough left to go to take Teotihuacanas. I declared and “liberated” the former Viking and former Korean city of. I let Sury take it back a few times to wipe out his stack in the city.

While this was going on I traded military science for printing press with Ashoka. The next turn I traded it for RP with Kublai. I then sold nationalism to Pacal for 1000 and set off on my merry way to rifling. However Sury got rifling and, to keep pushing I felt I needed it too, so I traded steel for rifling - which I’d half teched - with Kublai. I also gave him 1000 or so gold to declare on Sury. Probably a mistake. It was annoying to give steel away for the last 2000 beakers of rifling but I was still five turns away. I asked Kublai to declare partly to keep him busy and partly - I suspect - because I wanted to get something more out of an otherwise unbalanced trade. He did nothing discernible and then made peace. I’d have been better off keeping the cash and taking the fair trade diplo bonus.

I then gave steel to Ashoka for sci meth before Kublai gave it to him.

We ground on and on with the Christian continent getting on about as well as it did during the reformation.

I very much enjoyed imperialistic. The great generals allowed me to make a lot of CR3 cannons and also a second supermedic after I realised that I could only use the first one to heal in cities because otherwise he was going to get picked off by a ballista elephant. Supermedic 2 was a landskneckt rather than a chariot.

I kept expecting Sury to cap. However I’ve reduced him to six cities and he’s still not seen sense. I increasingly feel like I’m attending the Vladimir Putin school of ever decreasing strategic objectives as I see the other AI get towards AL and artillery. I’d once dreamed of whipping galleons and going to get properly acquainted with Pacal but I’m still not done with Sury.

I think he is probably taking ages to cap because I’ve never had much of an army. With so many CR3 cannons, even when he had 8+ rifles in a city, I’d on average lose one cannon taking it. I’ve killed about 150 units including sixty plus rifles and seventy knights for the loss of nine or ten cannons, six grenadiers and three landskneckt.

Therefore I never felt I needed more units and I’d stacked a lot of whip anger. I was already whipping markets to try to keep the happiness situation under control and I have ended up building chariots as military police in my capital due to war weariness and emancipation. Not whipping my cities into the ground also meant I could somewhat keep pace techwise. However, not spamming units means my power has never been that much higher than his though which I think is required as part of the vassal mechanic. Not sure what would have been better.

Techwise, I was able to limp to biology which I traded for steam power with Ashoka and constitution with Wang (having revolted into caste to get him back to friendly). I then gifted constitution to Pacal to get him to friendly. I then traded steam power for education and biology for lib. I wanted to get cracking on communism although in hindsight I could have gotten these techs much cheaper from Sury once he vassals. It was this sort of sloppy play that led me to take a break despite Sury surely capping next turn.


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Spoiler :

You played the type of game that I wanted to play. After reading your game, I am beginning to reconsider my reluctance to build plains riverside cottages in non-isolation situations. 22 cities is more than 17 for sure.

Yes, I think bribing Kublai into war with the Khmer is a mistake... because the Khmer might capitulate to Kublai and that would be disastrous. How close is Pacal to winning culture? I would also be worried about other civs peace-vassaling to Kublai.

I don't know what happens now.

Spoiler :

I think you’re right about the capitulation risk. At the time I wasn’t too worried because the AI is so bad at naval invasions I thought worst case Kublai would take one city but Sury wouldn’t cap because of that. I’d taken perhaps five or six by then but he’d still not capped. However, Kublai was probably loads more powerful so maybe one city would have been enough. As it was, Kublai peaced our after a few turns without appearing to have done anything.

I don’t think there’s any peace vassal risk because neither Pacal nor Wang like Kublai. I think they’re both cautious with him. I’m more worried about Kublai deciding to crush Pacal. Particularly because as you predicted, he’s going culture and swamping Kublai. I’ve played on and he’s between fifty and sixty turns from winning culture. I think he’s turning the culture slider on and off because it’s fluctuated a bit.

Not sure how much my game says about cottaging brown tiles. I cottage riverside plains a lot and nonriverside only in the capital and, even then, only if I think the game will go long and I’ve got the population or a helper to work it for a decent amount of time.

I pretty much never farm brown tiles except for irrigation. I see better players do though and I’m not really sure why. I think it might be because they can identify when they can win by just whipping everything. All my military deity wins have gone to tanks except one so I’m not able to judge that. This is partly because I never choose to play pangea but it’s probably more to do with my level of play.
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