Nobles' Club 315: Tokugawa of Japan

AcaMetis

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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 Tokugawa of Japan, whom we last played in NC 263. The Japanese start with Fishing and The Wheel.
  • Traits: Tokugawa is Aggressive and Protective. Aggressive gives all Melee and Gunpowder units a free Combat I promotion, and gives a +100%:hammers: bonus to Barracks and Drydocks. Protective gives all Archery and Gunpowder units a free City Garrison I (+20% City Defence) and Drill I (+1 First Strike chance) promotion, as well as a +100%:hammers: bonus to Walls and Castles.
  • The UB: The Shale Plant, a Coal Plant that produces power without access to Coal as well as a +10%:hammers: bonus. This building will be a lifesaver when you enter the industrial era without coal to power your factories, and a nice bonus in situations where you can trade away your coal for a ton of GPT and/or resources while enjoying power without the -2:yuck: that having Coal in your cities gives you.
  • The UU: The Samurai, a Maceman with +2 First Strikes and the Drill I promotion, for a total of 2-3 First Strikes at base, as well as access to the entire Drill promotion line that Melee units normally can't get for even more First Strike shenanigans. But unlike regular Maces they can only be build with Iron. A very solid unit when combined with siege engines, unfortunately getting these units early enough to make a real difference in their era is difficult because Japan starts with Fishing, and that ruins all of the good bulbs that a Great Scientist could otherwise pull off.
And the start:

Spoiler map details :
Fractal, Temperate climate, Medium sealevel.
Spoiler edits :
A few (strategic) resource swaps, and a few tiles were sunk into the bottom of the ocean.
Spoiler isolated? :
Semi-iso.
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 315 Tokugawa 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.
 

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AcaMetis

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Assuming that the water by the Warrior and blue circle is coast (high odds, IIRC the blue circle really loves coastal cities for some reason) this seems to be a question between settling a more inland Plains Hill by the Tundra, or settling in place closer to the coast. I'm tempted by the Plains Hill, if only to grab more land and maybe fog bust some of that tundra for free with capital culture, but I'm aware tundra tiles in the capital are not ideal. You keep double wet grain and there's a river poking out of the shadows, though, so I don't think it could end up as a bad capital even if some of it's tiles are complete duds. Think of it as grabbing some forests with capital culture you'd otherwise not get so easily/early, I guess? For whatever that is worth.

What do the experts think :) ?
 

sampsa

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Yep, very hard to resist PH.
 

chinemol

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not an expert, but deffinitely going for PH unless the warrior reveals sth amazing. even so, coastal seems good for a second or later having the tundra so close.
 

Izuul

Level 86
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Toku and tundra. If there wasn't so much food I'd say this might be an @Lain map.
 

Whisker

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To get to Samurai we need two big techs, Civil Service and Machinery, plus iron working.
Shortest tech path is:
fishing(Japan starting tech)
wheel(Japan starting tech)
pottery
mining
bronze working
metal casting
machinery(engineer bulb)
writing
mathematics
currency
code of laws
Civil Cervice(possible merchant bulb)
Iron working

To be precise we can get to CoL faster through religious branch, but currency is much more useful tech and opens possibility of using merchant bulb. Playing the map we still want to start with food, so agriculture first. Then pottery, mining + BW order depending on our surroundings. Then straight to MC, chop forge and hire engineer while research moves to science branch.
With single engineer it will take us 34 turns to get great engineer, this gives us plenty of time to research towards CS.

Using this tech path, we can add alphabet and sailing to open CS as merchant bulb, although I'm more tempted to manual search CS and use the merchant to upgrade bunch of pre-build axes to Samurai and go stomping.

If we have stone available, doing a small side track for masonry becomes desirable, as getting pyramids and engineer points they provide would considerable cut down time needed to reach great engineer. Also representation is nice for happiness and bit of extra research.

This is of course just musing, the map will dictate what we can actually do.
 

sampsa

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Maybe I am grossly underestimating samurai as a unit, but to me the whole strategy seems unsatisfactory, to put it mildly. You are very close to construction which would make everything so much easier. You are not far away from engineering, after which you wouldn't even need the samurai... I think something simple like axes+cats is better by a mile.
 

Whisker

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@sampsa Definitely, my musings were simply as response to complains by @AcaMetis that you can't get to them early enough to actually use them. The tech path with two synergistic bulbs is there, but I have never actually tried this, so I have no idea, if there is a way to pull this through.
 

Izuul

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I think Samurai are just slightly better maces. You use them when it makes sense to use maces - which is usually in conjunction with cats and trebs.
 

Mr_Trotsky

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I think Samurai are just slightly better maces. You use them when it makes sense to use maces - which is usually in conjunction with cats and trebs.
This is my limited experience of them too. The first strikes mean they are more likely to survive attacking a city unscathed after the trebs have done their work, but that’s rarely of much value because the trebs and possibly other units need to heal anyway. Like most of the unique units they’re more about adding a bit of flavour to the different civs rather than really affecting how you play as far as I can tell.

I’ll probably play this once I’ve finished grinding away with Justinian. Not sure about settling. Perhaps leaning slightly towards SIP because, on fractal, I value the long term higher and there’s a lot of tundra around the PH.

If you go for cover archers, when do you normally build a barracks? Is it normally after the worker or would you build an unpromoted warrior first for some early fog busting. Asking re deity.
 

sampsa

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If you go for cover archers, when do you normally build a barracks?
Cover warriors, I suppose. ;) With a bonus :hammers: on cc, I'd go barracks after worker, working high :hammers:-tile. Without extra city center :hammers: it's harder to pull off enough :hammers: (at least 25+15) before starting a settler.
 

chinemol

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1912 very late emperor domination

Spoiler :
PH settle, super expanded, pyramids, rep. construction attack vs joao. had become pleased, but I had the tech and some catapults out by then. peace for tech, then wiped him out. went for optics in the meanwhile and traded some techs. reloaded twice out of anger (asoka beat me to music and to lib by one turn). astro, communism, cannons + riffles against darius. had to build almost everything to compete with asoka, finally invaded him, numbers outweighted tech. victoria was bribed in by him and pounded my landing party hard, but not enough to wipe it. after asoka vassaled, she capitulated with no single aditional battle. brennus had vassaled isabella, but both were behind. massed troops and beat him easy. dunno, maybe could have done this much earlier. always afraid of attacking while behind in tech. also, spent a lot in stealing tech from darius. paid off in the end, but took many turns to get it going that could have used to pump rifles out against asoka and victoria's superior tech
 

TheMeInTeam

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I think Samurai are just slightly better maces. You use them when it makes sense to use maces - which is usually in conjunction with cats and trebs.
Pretty much. Medieval is still a reasonable move for Toku when target makes sense, you have lots of freebie promotions and a slow economy. But you can bulb/trade into medieval tech pretty easily, then whip out units that (with 5xp) have a very good chance of outperforming contemporary units of AI. Definitely favor lower unit prob targets or nations that can't get one of horse or iron though (or have one of those you can pillage early in war).

CR2+ maces that can use own first strikes to ignore those of defender tend to have reasonable odds after minimal attrition to longbows. Perfectly reasonable strat if you're not trying to beatstick a larger Shaka or Sitting Bull etc (you can probably out-tech those types more easily).
 

konata_LS

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Apr 18, 2021
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One of the main issues with Toku is the lack of :commerce:. For a leader who has zero economical trait, by the time people reach both CS and Machinery, it's very possible that several AIs already have these techs as well. Some AIs may even have Gunpowder.

Having a UU does not mean the players must go straight for it or use it. For example playing as Germany does not mean we should beeline Industrialism - actually going for MT is a better and more commonly used choice (such as in Henrik's new videos, Deity 58).

Agree with the posts above that samurai are slightly better maces. Just build some samurais when people usually build maces, and enjoy better combat odds + a different look. Of course, as @ Whisker said, "the map will dictate what we can actually do". With Toku's traits, Rifles + cannons are a solid combo. When getting attacked, some PRO archers or PRO longbows may save the game. Things depend on the map.

About this map particularly,
Spoiler :

Maybe I'm just unlucky, but the majority of wonders in my game were gone earlier than some Immortal games (in comparison to Major Tom's Wonderdates ). I settled my second city near the stone and thought about Mids, but Mids were built in 850BC. GLH went even earlier, around 950BC or 975BC :hmm:. Up to 300AD, no GGeneral born in far away land. And it's at Monarch level (my current ability cannot survive Toku semi-isolation on Emperor, unless there're 8 gems in my capital).


Considering this situation, Optics is probably more urgent than CS or samurais. Some mysterious run away AIs need to be stopped. Missing Mids is not a big deal though, as it's very easy to get Monarchy via trade from the neighbour, given that his favourite civic is HR (don't worry - our neighbour who loves HR is not Ragnar the unit-spammer :twitch:). The failgold from Mids can support 100% :science: towards MC.
Have to deal with real life at the moment. Will post a more detailed write-up this week end.
 

TheMeInTeam

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One of the main issues with Toku is the lack of :commerce:. For a leader who has zero economical trait, by the time people reach both CS and Machinery, it's very possible that several AIs already have these techs as well. Some AIs may even have Gunpowder.
While true, vs quite a few targets you can still take those wars relatively favorably. Non-protective muskets aren't very scary either...they'll have questionable odds attacking AGG maces with first strikes and won't be much better than longbows in defending cities.

Where it gets bad is if you're still using medieval units, and the AI coughs up cuirasser, grenadier, cannons, or rifles. You can block cuirasser if you can deny iron or horse (and prevent trades for it), you can block cannons if you can deny iron. You can't block rifles or grenadiers once they have them, and blocking the others won't always be reliable.

Still, there's a pretty big window there to put the promotion advantage to work. Samurai are just icing on the fact that it's an AGG mace backed by AGG pikes with formation. You're mostly doing this when the target is soft and if you try to tech for rifles your window will wind up being smaller.
 

Mr_Trotsky

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Deity NHNE T48

Spoiler :


Moved warrior 1SW to reveal the clear tile we’d lose if we went on the PH. It also showed some coast which informed us, to some extent, as to whether we’d ruin seafood by SIP. We see pigs on a hill and no seafood we’d be ruining.

Consequently, I settled in place. The pigs were a good tile because they could be mined even if we didn’t go AH early which didn’t enthuse me. BW would allow me to remove all the forest for cottaging whereas it looked low commerce with AH. PH would be faster worker but looked likely to be a much weaker capital long term which I thought mattered given this could be a continents type map.

Tech so far was agriculture, mining, BW, pottery. BW revealed copper on the lovely river the turn I finished my settler and that settled my settling decision.

Production was worker, warrior, warrior, warrior, settler at size three after farming both grains and mining the pigs. I settled the copper, revolting into slavery while in transit. I then improved the copper and chopped an axe while building another settler in the capital, which was a 4>2 whip. I’d met J-dog turn 4 and wanted to get some land before his imp settlers swarmed me. All those river tiles make a certain degree of economic calamity look recoverable.

One warrior died to an archer and another needed to be built for fog busting but the land shape and Joao's proximity mean barbs were not a huge issue. Earlly copper helped too and the axe allowed me to push out. The next settler is going along the river next to the oasis. I’m leaving the cow for a backfill city and because I want to block more land.

Civ4ScreenShot0008.JPG


A few things I need to consider. It looks like semi isolation because I have only met Joao and he’s putting all his points on me.

Do we kill him? I think not because I feel I can get enough land and then trade with him. I should be able to get him to friendly with HR and a city gift for some tech trading.

Should I have axe rushed him to at least choke and worker steal? Possibly if I had any experience of that, but too late now I suspect. Don't think he's got metal....

Stone for the pyramids? Probably too late. I suspect my third city would need to go for the stone rather than the river and I would have needed to got masonry before pottery. Also, HR is good for getting Joao to friendly and I find rep happiness can be insufficient where you've got little land and/or few trading partners to get resources from. It doesn’t look like there’s loads of happy resources kicking around. I think I’d also prefer to put hammers into getting more land and improving it.

Astro bulb? Probably. I wonder if it’s worth trying to get a religion with a philosophy bulb first. We’re pagan atm and it’s always a shame to miss out on religious civics.
 

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drewisfat

King
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Samurai have combat 1 and 2.5 FS compared to macemen. It's not a slight upgrade, it's (*citation needed*) the largest upgrade on paper to a stock unit in the game. You can argue that in practice it's a slight upgrade because siege does the heavy lifting, but you're ignoring the possibility of using spy revolts in lieu of siege. Toku thrives or struggles depending on the viability of espionage on the map. By no means do you have to be first to CS, you can be dead last and samurai are still effective. CRIII samurai will have north of 80% combat odds w/ revolt on everything the AI has until rifling. Feudalism is basically required for vassalage and PRO longbow stack defenders, and MC/machinery are nice techs to steal given how much the AI prioritizes them yet is slow to trade them. Toku's draft rifles open up with 3 promos, Nationhood boosts espionage, and any samurai left over become uber promoted rifles that may not require siege. It's a strong gameplan, but not consistent because the viability of espionage will depend on the map, e.g. stone, holy city, AI targets, AI wonders, etc. Toku also suffers from having neither Mining nor Myst, making it hard to build TGW even with stone. That said, if you can build or conquer TGW, or you have a high commerce start, or you're stuck in hell with warmongers, Toku becomes one of the strongest leaders in the game. And fishing starter, AGG warriors, and shale plant mean he's not the absolute worst in isolation even lacking eco techs.
TLDR: Toku hate is indicative of using Liberalism as a crutch.
 

drewisfat

King
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I'd disagree on praets. Conqs maybe, being able to defend is huge but makes it an apples to dragonfruit comparison. But yeah War Chariots are a bigger improvement to chariots - knew I was forgetting something. And again just to clarify, I'm not saying samurai are better than these units as macemen are terrible, just that they are a seismic improvement to maces. I've heard a lot good players say they're not viable, or they're not as good as berserkers, and those takes are bonkers to me.
 

Fippy

Mycro Junkie Queen
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Mar 17, 2013
Messages
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I think Berserkers are lots of fun on water maps, and maybe the best Rifle upgrade there?
C1 CR2 Naval attacking Rifles are just mean if AIs cannot defend vs galleons yet.
I really like what Rags brings on Iso or otherwise water split maps, with the awesome trading posts.

Conqs are just undefeatable for the AI (without advanced units like Rifles) if they move between some defensive terrain, and even on open field their direct counter gets snubbed.
Luring big stacks into suicide was never easier :)
 
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