• Civilization 7 has been announced. For more info please check the forum here .

Nobles' Club 314: 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 257. 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 :
Pangaea, Temperate, High Sealevel.
Spoiler edits :
A few strategic resource swaps and an unworkable fish was moved.
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 314 Justinian 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 314 Justinian.zip
    167.6 KB · Views: 72
On the one side, plains hill. On the other side, wet corn. I'm sceptical about moving away from wet corn, so maybe send the warrior 1NW to scout, and actually send the settler 1NW as well to do some scouting. If the setter/warrior finds something worth settling the plains hill for, move the settler 1N and settle, if not send the settler 1NE to settle the wine T1? 2:commerce: city tile isn't as good as a 2:hammers: city tile, but if we're going to settle T1 anyway might as well get something out of it? Auto-improved Wine when we get Monarchy can't hurt, either.

So that's my (probably overly elaborate) plan, what to the experts think :)?
skipped one NC. warrior nw suppose, see from there. 1 s, ph, sip, nw look as probable settling spots I guess
Interesting game. Hope others are playing.

Deity NHNE

Spoiler :

Warrior NW, plains hill sheep revealed and we settle 1S on the dye. Met Giggles turn 3. Suboptimal.

Went agriculture, mining, BW, pottery, hunting, AH, archery, fishing, masonry, writing, aesthetics, poly, literature, PH. I regretted not going archery before AH when a barb spear turned up and killed two warriors fortified in a forest across a river despite being wounded. He then disappeared rather than entering and I regretted going archery at all because barbs were not an issue.

Imperialistic was super helpful given how cramped it is and not loads of forests to chop. I settled the sugar, stone spot first. Not amazing but blocked Giggles off to some degree and a nice river. Then I went east and settled the cow fish spot. Obviously a better spot than city site two but I had to wait to get AH for it to be useful.

Giggles settled on my border with his creative culture so I then gave him a city in exchange for him not killing me. Then I settled the clam spot and had a settler waiting for the double gem spot. I settled it to work the cottaged banana just before trading aesthetics for monarchy, alphabet, maths, IW and (I think) sailing and monotheism. Good spot once IW was in and a lot of worker turns had been thrown at it.

Then teched COL, traded that and lit for calendar, MC and currency. Finished GL and fail golded Parthenon like a champ.

Bulbed philosophy and founded Christianity. Teched CS and slightly regretted not going music as I’ll need it for MT and I think the free great artist might have been better than early CS given the capital is not amazing.

Everybody is in Islam and it’s the AP religion. Enjoying the cheap spiritual AP temples. Enjoying the volume of tech trading less.

Considering trying to lib nationalism. I think MT is too risky and getting nationalism early and building the Taj before whipping everything into the ground might be good. Although soma deity AI will inevitably beat me to it.

In a classic you do you AI move, Kublai founded Judaism by reaching Theology first, didn’t convert, built the AP while still pagan, but presumably in a city with Islam in making that the AP religion. Converted into Islam and then converted into Judaism.

This was just one of those games for me. Demigod

Spoiler :

I was concerned about Gilgamesh in this game so i gifted him a city to get him to pleased. I also planted the city next to Darius so he would have border tensions and would hopefully be a land target for war. He started plotting later and i was really hoping it was Darius, but i was still concerned because all of the troops were near my border. I started building some axes and spears and begged for a little bit of gold. The red fist didn't go away and i even got him to Friendly during the 10t of peace, but he attacked me as soon the treaty ended and i just couldn't defend against everything. Other than that, the game was going really well...

I might play it again and do the same thing.
Spoiler :
Mysteries of civ4 - why is it always Gilgamesh who does that to you?
I don't usually like giving gift settlers to AIs who plot at pleased unless it's on the way to getting them Friendly. They're of course less likely to attack at pleased than cautious. But if they do have it out for you, well you just helped them at your own expense, and you may have even shortened the time til they attack by filling up their peaceful expansion options.
I liked it more here because I could create a shared border between them. I don't remember the math, but I know sharing border tiles and becoming a land target makes the AI more likely to attack. I think I went from the obvious target at cautious + only shared borders to the much less likely target at pleased + adding another land target, but sometimes the dice rolls just don't go your way.
I don’t remember the maths either but my understanding was that there’s a very meaningful reduction in the probability of plotting each turn if he’s pleased rather than cautious. In my game, he settled right on my border generating immediate border tension. Gifting an imp settler in the desert seemed my best chance of avoiding an early end. Even a deity AI would struggle to make anything of the turd I gave him. He’s also very easy to get to friendly and the gift accelerated that.
Deity 1130AD

Spoiler :

Traded for music teched paper and then triggered golden age with GS from Great Library. My cities were very small - due to lack of health - so I only got two great scientists during the golden age. I felt I really needed to win lib, which was under threat, because my raw beakers were so weak. I also managed to get enough great points to finish off two GMs after the golden age though by staying in pacifism and caste, one slightly fortuitously at 70% in the Great Library city.

I single bulbed education, bulbed lib and teched so I could get it in a turn. Then put a couple of turns into nationalism to see if I could trade education for it and lib MT. Kublai and HC already had nationalism and I was friendly with enough people to think I could get it in trade. Kublai was building the Taj and HC appeared to be researching education. Traded paper for feudalism and machinery so everybody could get education. Saladin got education and looked to be going lib but Giggles got nationalism the next turn. Traded education for nationalism with him and then finished lib to get MT. Then the trading got insane with basically everybody friendly with each other apart from Hannibal and Darius. I got guilds, engineering, banking, PP and chemistry for education and lib. Then gave MT monopoly away for two thirds of steel and constitution with Giggles and HC. I got steel the turn before declaring I think but resisted the temptation to bring some siege to reduce losses. Speed was more important.

Meanwhile I’d traded stone and marble for ivory with Saladin. Taj wasn’t realistic as I wasn’t first to nationalism and I was using my two best cities to get great merchants. Slow built horse archers and elephants to one turn from completion before getting second great merchant. Then switch to slavery plus theocracy and vassalage. I’d built a few stables so I’d get a good number of 9exp mounted straight out of the gate. Got together twenty elephants and five horse archers.

Grew capital back after getting GM out to maximise trade mission yield. Got 3400 gold for the two GM from Mecca.

Teched most of gunpowder before trading lib for the last two turns. Connected iron. Upgraded the lot. Declared next turn and took two of Darius cities. Amassed cuirs and took capital a couple of turns later.

Traded lib for economics with Hannibal and as we’re spiritual flipped into free market which is a bit of a rarity. Then managed to get RP in trade.

Took three more of Darius’s cities. He capped and nobody was friendly anymore so trading looked to be with vassals only from now on. This meant more vassals were required.

Switched into bureaucracy, caste, rep and OR to limp to rifling and dump whip overflow into hippodromes.

The next target was Hannibal. He was a heathen meaning the AP wasn’t a problem and he was backward. Took two cities on the second turn of the war and he capped. Liberated them both back to him as they were fairly poor quality and also liable to revolt. I wanted him to tech a bit as well so I thought they’d be more use to him than me. I also got him to convert to Islam as part of the capitulation deal.


I got to rifling and switched into nationhood, to draft, as well as theocracy. I kept rep largely for the six beakers I got from the Great Library.

I was hoping to go for Saladin next because he was the only one without a defensive pact. But he got to steam power and I didn’t think I could deal with protective infantry if he went there next. I still only had twelve cities and two vassals with few units of their own.

I decided to go Kublai instead. He didn’t have rifling or military science yet - although was only a tech away - but I could send all my cuirassiers and a few upgraded cavalry to hit him and take a few cities while my rifles and cannons followed. This is what I did and surprisingly he capped after I took two cities. Helpful given he got rifling that turn and seemed to upgrade everything. Also, an AP vote is coming.


The downside with Kublai was that he had a defensive pact with HC who I’m now at war with. He’s over the other side of the map though and never been in a war so I suspect he has no army. I suspect this war will end with an AP vote in a few turns.

I need to work out whether to tech further or attack somebody else now. I think I’ll need to get to at least infantry to win the game but maybe I can get somebody else first.


  • Justinian 1130 ap. J.C.CivBeyondSwordSave
    285.7 KB · Views: 16
Interesting, I would have considered SIP to then use the PH mine to accelerate the first few settlers. Not sure how much of a difference that makes compare to the +1 commerce you get from settling on the dye.
T237 conquest

Spoiler :

As expected my war with Capac was stopped by an AP vote. Unfortunately, it was stop the war against me. I didn’t realise that this meant I had a peace treaty with everybody and not just HC. This was annoying because my army was positioned to attack the barb city that Gilgamesh had taken to my south. I wanted to wipe his army out before it upgraded to infantry and before he signed another defensive pact with Capac - the original one terminating when Capac declared on me. This was prevented by the AP vote and peace treaty because, naturally, everybody apart from me and my vassals had AL by the time the treaty expired. I also wish I’d known that before switching to nationhood and drafting rifles in my globe spot. Not a big problem with spiritual but annoying to lose bureau for five turns and it also delayed my switch into state property.

I cross traded with vassals through directing their research to get to AL and artillery. I built factories everywhere and got ready.

By this time Gilgamesh and HC had nukes plus a defensive pact again. This was bad news for Saladin. Ground him down and he capped after I’d taken three cities.

Kublai built the UN and won the election against me. Very annoying because he called a vote for environmentalism the turn I attacked Gilgamesh. Gilgamesh voted for environmentalism the same turn he fired five or six nuclear missiles at me which must have caused a certain amount of cognitive dissonance. Capac fired some off at Saladin and Darius while voting the same way.

I defied. The unhappiness was not a big problem as, fortunately, my biggest cities had just undergone large scale depopulation as a result of Gilgamesh the environmentalist irradiating them. He fired another nuke a couple of turns later but that was it and, having not hit my stacks, I chipped away at him. It took long enough that there was another UN vote on environmentalism and this time I voted yes. Partly because the unhappiness would have been a problem. Even with police state, hippodromes and the culture slider, the war was taking a toll. But I also wondered if I could even be forced into environmentalism if I didn’t have the tech. It turned out I could be which was very bad. Losing the food on workshops and water mills meant my workers had to farm to save lives. It also meant I saw the terrible damage that corporations can do in a computer game rather than just real life.

I had to wipe Gilgamesh out. I assume he got a lot of war success from all the nukes meaning the loss of all his cities bar the capital was still not enough to persuade him that things weren’t going his way.

Towards the end of the war, Kublai called a vote to ban nukes - which passed a little too late to have much effect. Capac fired his last remaining ICBM at Saladin and that was that.

I sent all my infantry and artillery his way. I took two border cities and he capped. My backward, radiation sick, starving people had conquered the world.

I’m pleased to say that I was the only civ to start a war - unless you count Capac declaring on me because of a defensive pact. I had to beg from Gilgamesh once to stop him plotting and Saladin was plotting on Hannibal before I capped him but a remarkably peaceful game in some ways.
So I gave this a go - I tried settling in place to use the mined PH to get a settler out faster, and compared what I did with what Lain did (he settled 1S on dye). Think I've learned something ...
Spoiler :

Short answer - settling on dye is DEFINITELY better. Don't underestimate the +1 bonus commerce per turn from T0. You might think "oh, well what's the big deal. Even after 50 turns that's just +50 extra beakers maybe, which is only half of most ancient era techs". But, the difference is that you'll get your first tech 1 turn faster. Then the second tech another turn or two faster on top of that. And the third tech... And so on... It stacks, and in the early game every turn counts.

So here's how my go went...
T0 - SIP
T10 - Agriculture
T15 - Worker 1
T19 - Mining
T34 - bronze working
T36 - 2nd city (I went 1E of stone; didn't care as much about keeping the gold)
T43 - 3rd city (the cow/fish spot)
T45 - Worker 2
T47 - animal husbandry
T53 - fishing; worker 3
T59 - 4th city (taking the clam/marble spot)
T60 - Worker 4
T65 - Pottery
T73 - 5th city (going 1SW of bananas)
T74 - Worker 5
T75 - Worker 6
T82 - Writing
T85 - 6th city (1SW of rice)
T86 - built two libraries
T88 - got a third library
T90 - Worker 7
T91 - Worker 8
and then.... I got DOW'ed by Gilgamesh on T96, game over :(. I had decided not to gift him a city, which in hindsight was not a smart move...

OK, compare this to what could happen if you settle 1S on the dye - this is how Lain's game has gone so far:
T0 - settle 1S on dye
T9 - agriculture (1 turn faster)
T17 - mining (2 turns faster)
T31 - bronze working (3 turns faster)
T36 - hunting; 2nd city (turned out that using the PH mine was not that beneficial after all...)
T42 - archery
T47 - gift a city to Gilgamesh
T50 - Pottery (15 turns faster than me)
T54 - Worker 2; 3rd city (taking the wine spot)
T60 - Worker 3; Writing (22 turns faster!)
T66 - Worker 4
T76 - 4th city
T78 - gifted Alphabet by Darius (!?!?!?!?!?!!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!!!!!!!)
T79 - Aesthetics
T84 - 5th city
... and still going, I haven't watched his latest video yet

So he went hunting-archery in place of my AH-fishing, and ultimately made it to pottery and writing waaay faster than I did.

I REX'ed a lot more aggressively than Lain did, and because of my lower commerce start I really lagged behind his tech pace. But, by about T100 I felt things were starting to take a turn as most of my cities had granaries + libraries and were running scientists - my tech rate started going up rapidly. I think my main mistake was just neglecting to gift a city to Gilgamesh. Maybe I should have valued the gold mine more also. Still, settling on dye would have been way more powerful.

Ok, lesson learned. Next?
Top Bottom