Nobles' Club 306: Isabella of Spain


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 Isabella of Spain, whom we last played in NC 246. The Spanish start with Fishing and Mysticism.
  • Traits: Isabella is Expansive and Spiritual. Expansive adds +2:health: to all cities, gives a +100%:hammers: bonus to Granaries and Harbors, and a +25%:hammers: bonus to Workers (note that the worker bonus doesn't apply to excess :food: directly converted to :hammers:). Spiritual allows you to swap state religion/civics without suffering Anarchy, and gives a +100%:hammers: bonus to all Temples.
  • The UB: The Citadel, a Castle with +5 xp for Siege units build in that city. An extremely powerful UB that should not be underestimated. Level 4 Cannons, put to proper use, aren't a military unit so much as a cylindrical force of nature on wheels clad in steel. These buildings will allow you to fight armies an era ahead in tech, given enough numbers, just keep in mind that they will get obsoleted by Economics.
  • The UU: The Conquistador, a Cuirassier with +50% vs. Melee units and able to benefit from defensive bonuses. Cuirs are a classic military breakout unit as is given their 2:move:, ability to ignore walls/castles, and 12:strength: allowing them to punch through fortified defenders (given enough bodies). Add to that the ability to abuse defensive terrain and a build-in counter to their early counter unit and you've got a rock-solid unit on offence or defence.
And the start:

Spoiler map details :
Fractal, Temperate, Medium Sealevel
Spoiler edits :
An inconveniently placed Fish was moved to your shores, and a river was added (extended, really) near your starting area.
Spoiler isolated? :
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 306 Isabella 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 what is demigod :
The difference between Immortal and Deity difficulty is akin to the difference between Noble and Immortal. Players eventually reached a point where Immortal was too easy, but Deity was still out of reach, and so neither difficulty provided a fun experience. "Demigod" is an otherwise standard Deity game where the AIs are only given their Immortal level starting units, in an attempt to bridge the gap.
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 306
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Honestly this seems like a really straightforward start, SIP/worker/Agriculture. I guess move the Warrior 1E first in the extremely unlikely event there's something that justifies moving two turns onto that PH, but...actually I don't think he can reveal double gems, so never mind that I suppose.

So that's my take on it, what do the experts think :).
Not super obvious!
There are no 2H tiles in reach, so getting 4 hammers for the exp bonus is hard.
Growing to pop2 and working two 2F1H tiles might be beneficial...
Or moving toward the rice possibly gaining a turn toward improving the rice, and claiming more floodplains might be good.

SIP and worker first is a 12 turn worker, but so is settlement SE
Only difference is that SIP gives the added commerce from the floodplain during worker build where settlement SE does not.

SIP does have the city center hammer added later on though, which could be very helpful for building those first warriors.
Is that a desert hill I spot...? MIght be gold! Warrior SE to check it out?
Seems like straightforward "go for SH, get religion" opening :mischief:
Spoiler :
As Mara-Emp-NTT-NB "noooob" after getting SH (and Hindu for.. later potential bulb reasons) went for most obvious move that one can do if neighbor has special unit but is not massive unit spammer. Build regular version but mooooore. 15 "regular" units lost but land is clear, hue hue hue. Chunky ToA failgold (1,7K) did fuel me for some techs (to pass "critical' phase when there was nothing to build but ToA wasn't gone yet). T297 (530BC) situation - 9 cities, 110 beakers (at -70 gold), Monarchy in.
Spoiler Diety T10 :

One of the tempting plays with Isabella and lake start is to grab Meditation, depending on what demographics say on T1. Moved the warrior NE and settled in place. I had immediate regret as @krikav was right about the gold.


1 player at 21 GNP, 4 at 20 GNP, 1 at 18 GNP. Meditation is free.... right?

T10: 6 turns on flood plain, 2 turns on lake, 2 turns on double floodplains. Buddhism acquired! Not really leveraging the worker bonus, but I think this is okay. Isabella starting techs suck otherwise.

My regret about a SE settle is alleviated by a fish resource I would've killed.


Spoiler Update T18 :

Ah hell, I've locked myself into a holy war. Mistakes were made, abort abort.

I guess Hatshepsut is going to grab a religion no matter what.

Edit: Perhaps the hidden Buddhist is the deadliest one?


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before I screw up. if SIP -->worker it would be 3 hammers max, right?
if you go SE and settle and work the forested PH it would be 4 hammers total
would that give a better timming? tempted to do that since the expansive bonus and flood plains unhealthiness won't cancel out, but it would help a lot. blue circle seems to indicate the coast, but not tempting to move that far away even with great food

IGNORE this, just read kirkav's previous post
Capital wet Rice has great synergy with Spain, as Rice unlocks Spanish paella :rockon:.

A general question: how should we play as Isabella in a random game (standard map size, NHNE, normal speed, everything else default)? :confused:

This NC kindly gives us a wet Rice. But, if the :food: at the capital is pig or cow, should we still build a worker at size 1? or in this case, should we grow to size 2 and build a worker :confused:? Or should we keep reroll until we find Agri or seafood start?

Izzy's traits are good; her UUs are strong; UB is also decent for CR3 trebs or cannons. But I don't know what to do for the first 30T with her starting techs :undecide:. 12 turns EXP worker is nice, but her first worker can't chop, can't build mine, can't build road, can't build pasture, can't cottage. Last time I played as Izzy was long time ago on Chieftain level (at Chieftain the humans have free Agri) and I kept reloading until popped Mining from a tribal village :o. In my off-line games, I often roll a map with pig or sheep start. Izzy's starting techs are especially painful for AH.
Citadel enhanced siege is nice, but Izzy starts with Fishing, which ruins Engineering bulbing :sad:.

And what should we do in the classical era? Some leaders such as Hannibal or Lizzy also have relatively weak early game, but they have great economical traits, once Hannibal or Lizzy survive the early game, they usually recover and catch up very fast. But without FIN cottage, without fast :gp:, how should we recover our economy after the early expansion? :confused:

The map looks interesting, but the starting techs and early game of Izzy make me too confused :crazyeye:. So this time I'll just watch how people play as Izzy :lol:.

A fun fact about Izzy is, she's also among the leaders who can unlock HE without fighting a single war. Theo or vassalage + barrack + citadel will give a 10 exp. siege. But this must be done between Engineering and Economics.
Spoiler T56 :

built two more workers after the settler (which I built at size3), think I did a whip at some point, perhaps I did a 1pop whip of the second worker, landing the overflow into the settler?
One worker went up and chopped out boat, while two workers finished the road.

It looked like semi-iso and I wanted to block off some land early, that fish spot was nice and with horses it's even better.

Not sure how to best proceed from this.
Most city spots are awkward and require border pops one way or another.
Room for ~7 good cities.

Perhaps play nice, go astro and do some trading, then backstab hatty later on..?
Could go for OR and develop infrastructure nicely while harvesting diplo points. Maybe getting some good trades on the way.
Hatty is bound to saturate my empire with religion, she already has a shrine and I'm making the road now that writing is in.

Not too sure about HAs either, just found out Memphis is on a hill.

turn 122 inmortal. how do I proceed?

Spoiler :
grabbed a chunk of land to the north. managed to build GLH, not pyramids since to do so would have had to delay settlers and hatty might have taken all my land. we're friendly but only recently. had to self tech a lot since she didn't want to trade anything and I didn't think of gifting a city.

I was planning either civil service then the optics route to meet the others or first going paper, uni of sankore, then that same route. think I will skip conq and go straight for castles, but it might be a mistake.


  • Isabella AD-0175.CivBeyondSwordSave
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Spoiler :

Grabbing 2 early religions in your continent would probably create a Jewish lovefest on the other continents.

Spoiler :

Capital gold makes getting BW and Pot much faster, solving to some degree the problems from Izzy's weak starting techs. Killing a Fish looks a little sad :sad:. Anyway, ocean Fish is less appealing for a non-creative leader. Ocean Fish is much nicer with cre leaders, such as in your Zara map.

Did you whip the worker before the Granary or after? or chop a granary and worker? :think:

Are Mids still possible? There is no wine in your land, so Rep is more tempting than Monarchy, especially for that Fish + grass cow spot.

Spoiler :

GLH is quite good, given the number of coastal spots in this map. After Astro, the intercontinental trade routes would bring you even more :commerce:.
Spoiler :

GNP is the result of several ingredients :

- Raw commerce: in this case Capitol commerce is 8:commerce: (Palace) + 2:commerce: (worked by citizens)
- Science Multiplier (slider at 100%) => 10:science:
- "Arrow" multiplier (20% for Mysticism > Meditation) => 12:science:
- @Dhoomstriker bonus (1:science: every turn) => 13:science:
- Culture : +2:culture:
- Espionage : +4 :espionage:

Total GNP 13+2+4=19

AIs with a GNP value of 20 & 21 could be working a special commerce tile (+1:commerce: or +2:commerce: if financial).
But how often do you get an oasis to work on T1?
More probably, the extra GNP comes from the creative trait (+2:culture:)

Let's suppose everyone is chasing meditation at 10:commerce: per turn (no oasis)
Translates to 13:science: per turn.
Meditation is 135:science:
Takes 11 turns for everyone (there are 5 :science: missing)

But Carpool can
Work the lake for the initial 5 turns, accruing 5x11:commerce:=55:commerce: and transform that into (55x1.2+5) 71:science:
Research "regularly" for the next 5 turns (working FP: 50x1.2+5) for 65:science:

Total research during 10 turns (including T0) : 136:science:
Religion is obtained IBT 9&10,

That is maybe not guaranteed but an AI will need to boost its commerce quickly in the last few turns of the race (grow to 2, improve a sheep, connect city 2...) without lowering its slider to be faster.

Seems to me that the probability of an AI getting Buddha IBT 8&9 should be rather low.
Maybe tests could tell :goodjob:

Edit: tested a few samples of recent games.
Justinian got Buddha every two games IBT 8&9 (religion founded 3680 BC)
Here is a save of Justi about to complete Meditation with some strange magic :hmm: :dunno:

I think I found the explanation : Meditation costs 135 (deity malus) but much less for the AIs (maybe 100?)

So (temporary lol) conclusion :
No a turn 10 meditation is not safe on deity :scan:


  • Justi T8 magic Buda.CivBeyondSwordSave
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I am not sure why you're worried.
Spoiler :

Just because you found Buddhism, doesn't mean you have to adopt it, right? You can simply enjoy the culture. With priesthood you can build cheap temples.
Spoiler T259 :

When Hatty founded both Hindu+Juda and then also got theo (perhaps that was a bulb...?) I focused my tech effort to CoL to get confu on the continent as well, but after CoL I went back to tech HBR and whipped an HA army.
Hatty is such a pushover, and she didn't seem to have any metal either.
Teched Alpha+Math to open the Philo bulb as well.

I took 2 peace treaties and got techs before finishing her off.

I think I started way to heavy on the temples... should have taken fewer cities from Hatty (razed the bad ones) and gone for teching power first. I wastly unerestimated how long it would take until I could turn on the silder.
As a result, I never got into the trading game, the only thing. The ONLY thing I ever got was half of CS for music with Mehmed... T_T
Self teched democracy (To rushbuy, and it looked like a good trading chip), and lib and then I went all the way to rifling to get some bullwark up, since they where all cautious or worse.
Paid too little attention to diplo. (And most other things too!)

I was unsure which cities would get most culture first... so I went with 5 cathedrals in 4 cities, But turns out Heliopolis which was the one running most specialists, didn't stand a chance to the 3 cottaged ones (Madrid, Seville, and Thebes).
That should really have been obvious to me had I thought about it, since I was lacking Sistine.
Started to distrubute out the Artists here when the cities where mature and the slider was on.

Zara throws a spanner into the works... But I had about a dozen workers and his stack always went for the worker bait, so except from the stray gunship killing off units, Madrid+Seville was safe. (Except they started to starve down since trades where off, and tiles where getting pillaged by fighters.

Abit hesistant to call this GG, because I'm upset by all the mistakes I stacked up along the way, but a win is a win! :D

Spoiler CarpoolKaraoke :

Care to explaim why you can deduct this from the above observation?

Spoiler :

Basically, I think the chances of any AI with mysticism is slim to none.

As @soundjata reasoned, GNP with 1 commerce and 1 prerequisite bonus is typically at 19. Diety AI starts with The Wheel, Agriculture, Hunting, Archery + starting techs. 4 leaders at GNP=20 probably means they don't have Mysticism. GNP at 18 means they probably have a 3 food, no commerce start - I probably win at 10 turn tie-breaker. GNP at 21 means financial or creative - - only Wang Kon or Pacal are candidates here for a potential Mysticism start.

In effect.....I'm gambling, but it's a good gamble.

I am not sure why you're worried.
Spoiler :

Just because you found Buddhism, doesn't mean you have to adopt it, right? You can simply enjoy the culture. With priesthood you can build cheap temples.

Spoiler :

Yes, that's true, and thus not entirely poor. But if I was not going to possess the sole religion on semi-isolated, I would not slow down my start with a meditation first approach.

Spoiler T105 :

After Meditation, I went for Agriculture + Mining to settle to the southeast and work gold on a fast border pop. Afterwards, I went The Wheel, Animal Husbandry, Bronze Working, Writing. I opened borders with Hatshepsut, who sent a Hindu missionary and a.... Jewish missionary!

I wasn't going to play a cultural game, but it looked like there was a real chance to get Confucianism and possibly Taoism too. So therefore.... Priesthood and Code of Laws next.

T79: Super slow expansion, maximizing tech to Confucianism + setting up libraries for Philosophy bulb and Education 2x bulb. I will stop teching at Liberalism --> Nationalism. I decided grabbing Alphabet/Math was better than gambling for Music, since another religion + Pacifism + Monarchy trade was too much of a gain.

T94: 15 turns later, Philosophy is in the bag. Meanwhile, there is at least one war going in a faraway land. Oh ye of no faith.

T96: Finally, Christianity was founded in a distant land. I don't think I had a real way of preventing that.

T105: But funnily enough.......the joke was on me! Thanks Hatshepsut!!!

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@CarpoolKaraoke and @soundjata to me this is a nice little trick I would consider next time I roll a mystisim guy. 10t of research for a "SH light" and the potential to infect your neigbhours seems like a bargin :)
Woohoo, finally finished - T727 Domination
Spoiler :
It was enjoyable (built all buildings and finished with "rush" :lol: not (space). There was long long long world peace period between my initial Chariot rush and 1100 AD. Entire other continent was one big happy love-Budi-fest (taking early Hindu and having neigbour that took Jud (probably was racing with me for Hindu) - nope, not great idea). But eventually Ragnar decided that it is time for change and attacked Zara. Initial SoD was actually pretty decent (ton of Knights and stuff) and both SoD's funnily enough took each others city right next to each other (I placed one Chariot in middle of that with extra vision to watch action :popcorn: while building ton of (not so neccessary) stuff at home). Buuut Rags re-supply was way more limited and some turns later he was no more. Same time Willy took of in research side (mega-shrine helped a lot too) and I was worried that he might get into hard-to-touch teritory too soon while on the way to late-game "stuff". Sooooo, spent 8000 bucks to get Zara to attack him. Went horribly as Willy lost city every 4-5 turns and I had to re-think all my (life) choices so far. Since I was far from ready to attack Zara directly (just finished Kremlin and "select all cities, add 3 Cavalries on top, buy them in bunch turn later" phase was just to begin), it was time to start "clearing" continent from north-west side. Initial force was small but just enough to get "breathing space" for more. Aaaand some ten turns later one was done (who it was? no idea :hammer2:). Blue guy decided to DoW me 1 turn after I finished (no idea) guy. He took one city (with single Rifle there) buuut it was perfect as I was already going to continue my "fun" in area. So again some turns later Blue guy is no more. And it was time to get all my Cavalries (oh, yes, used few UU in mix) together and help to "free Willy". Some small 70-ish Cavalry (lost some 50-ish in total) stack started it's job and with help of "air support" douzen cities later I felt that it should be enough. Calculations turned out to be very tight (needed few turns at 100% culture) but it did it's job. Empire was kind of ready to go for Space (even had Oxford and stuff) but finished NC map is nice anyways and give me urge to try out Izzy for another map or two
@CarpoolKaraoke and @soundjata to me this is a nice little trick I would consider next time I roll a mystisim guy. 10t of research for a "SH light" and the potential to infect your neigbhours seems like a bargin :)

For me no thank you. I don't want to risk "You have been T8 Budda'd by Justinian working 0:commerce: tiles and slider at 80%" :lol:
Spoiler :

BTW can anyone confirm the research cost is less for AI than for Human at deity level ? 100/135 ?
@Dhoomstriker maybe :)
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