Nobles' Club 326: Shaka of the Zulu


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 Shaka of the Zulu, whom we last played in NC 308. The Zulu start with Agriculture and Hunting.
  • Traits: Shaka is Aggressive and Expansive. Aggressive gives all Melee and Gunpowder units a free Combat I promotion, and gives a +100% :hammers: bonus to Barracks and Drydocks. 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:).
  • The UB: The Ikhanda, a Barracks with -20% Maintenance. Little under half the effect of a Courthouses at a quarter of the price, and that from turn 0 on a building that's genuinely useful in it's own right, Ikhandas are fantastic buildings to shave off some costs while building up for the inevitable conflicts that are bound to happen.
  • The UU: The Impi, a Spearman with 2:move: and a free Mobility promotion. A very fast and manoeuvrable unit, but one that relies on the same to shine as it's still a 4:strength: Spear at the end of the day. Still, if you're going for an attack with Mounted units it's a better stack defender against enemy spears than another horse, and short of asking the Celts for a Guerilla II Archer this is definitely the most defensive, best scout you're going to get in the Ancient era. Sure, spears die horribly to axes, but Scouts do so even more so, and barring multiple promotions archers can't move onto a forested plains hill (or just leave) whenever they spend a turn moving into trouble.
And the start:

Spoiler map details :
Pangaea, Temperate Climate, Medium sealevel.
Spoiler edits :
A few strategic resources and unworkable Fish were moved to better locations.
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 326 Shaka 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 326
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To move 1E to settle a second city that can share the corn/gold easier, or to keep those grassland river tiles and floodplain tile in the capital? I have to say the latter sounds like a better idea long term, but I'm not sure. Might depend on what the scout finds down south, I guess.

Or that's my thinking at least. What do the experts think :)?
Settling on or 1W of gold would make a monster capitol, but splitting the area betwween two cities seems better long-term.
If I don't settle on gold - as I don't tend to do ;) - I definitely will want to split it between multiple cities if at all possible. Gold is too valuable not to work, but regrowing pop (say after a whip) while having to work a gold tile is just impossible, and not whipping while working a gold mine is likewise far from ideal. Gold is great, but a helper city that can share the gold (and/or food) is a must to get the most out of it.
Yup pretty obvious SOG™. Only downside is no 2:hammers: tile to work, but still seems best by a huge margin.

edit: scout SE-E first though, 5-6f tile or gems to the east would make 1E very reasonable.
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Hah, like I'd ever concede to settling on gold without being FIN. I scouted SE. Was hoping for food but a forest plain hill is enough to work with. I'd use EXP as an excuse to ignore fresh water and head for a 3h tile, settling 2S for a great bureau capital retaining 1N of cow for a great helper city. I believe the first worker is only one turn slower.
Spoiler T55 :

DISCLAIMER: The following is a bit of just for fun

I saw the copper cap while zooming in in WB to add barbarian techs..... so this is a bit of an immersion break, but look what I also saw on turn 1:

Mehmed turn 1, with only 8 tiles capital to capital. This is a sign from @AcaMetis right?


It's time for T14 worker....

T31: doing fast conversion into Impi, with 2 pre-chops ready


Once cover promoted Impis are in Mehmed's land for about 20 turns, there's zero chance of him resisting. He's sunk to last place.

6 workers captured so far, roughly 50 gold from pillaging. Fighting with barbarians for the right to pillage. My one regret is greeding for Animal Husbandry before Pottery.



Spoiler :
Less a sign from me and more a sign from Civ IV, actually. This is one of those "come up with a vague plan and trust the game to generate a good map for it" situations, which I'm hoping is successful.

Not that I saw a reason to object to the way the map generated, mind...:mischief:
Spoiler :

Deity difficulty, No huts no events.

I had a pretty lousy opening tbh and bummed out on tech trades. Went math first only for everyone to already have it and got no deals. Izzy didn't yet have math yet but demanded it off me before i could trade it, i said no and she attacked me :D Although hilled shock axes/impis wiped out her petty stacks and I got peace pretty fast.
Went for elepult and smashed Mansa, took his capital by turn 114 and did some nice tech trades to get feudalism and machinery. Stayed at war for quite a while, while teching to engineering and slowly grinding down mansa while getting forges up for my next push against spain.
Took the spanish capital soon later by t151 while she forced the world in an AP war against mongolia for whatever reason, but it kept them busy.
Big battle against big Mehmed, it was a bloody battle to wipe out his huge stack in the open field but after that he was helpless and he soon capped after losing his capital. After mehmed it was a steamroll.



A picture of my big doom stack right before the game was over :)
shaka smash.JPG

Engineering+Guild victory on deity! something different than boring cuirassier spam. Thanks for the game :D

vid will be up in my channel a few days later.
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