Nobles' Club 344: Catherine of Russia


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 Catherine of Russia, whom we last played in NC 283; we last played the Russians under Stalin pretty recently in NC 342 - the silliness with Russian leaders and the leader rotation train keeps on rolling :lol:. The Russians start with Hunting and Mining.
  • Traits: Catherine is Creative and Imperialistic. Creative gives every city +2:culture: for free, and gives a +100% :hammers: bonus to Libraries, Theatres, and Colosseums. Imperialistic adds +100% to Great General generation and +50% :hammers: bonus to Settler production (note that the settler bonus doesn't apply to excess :food: directly converted to :hammers:).
  • The UB: Research Institute, a Laboratory with +2 free Scientists. A nice boost when going for a Space Race victory, but being the latest UB in the game it'll probably come too late to make a real difference.
  • The UU: Cossack, a Cavalry with +50% vs. Mounted units. Barring the odd UU these guys aren't going to get sniped by another 2:move: unit until Tanks start rolling around.
And the start:

Spoiler map details :
Pangaea, Temperate climate, Medium sealevel.
Spoiler edits :
A few strategic resource swaps.
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 344 Catherine 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 344
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Now that is a good example of what you don't want to see as your starting position: Single Plains Cow, no other food tiles visible beyond a lone riverside grasslands. I'm guessing move the scout first, probably 1NE -> 1SE around the hill to see if there's any extra food in that area, if so settle on whichever of the plains hills is better based on scouting information, and if there's no more food to be had...well, in that case I'm not sure what the best course is. SIP and hope for food in the three fogged tiles to the south and west? Settle 1W and hope for the same, but take the riverside grassland as a consolation prize if there isn't? Scout with the settler for one turn to get more information? If the scout doesn't find anything I'm not sure how to play this one.

What do the experts think the best approach is here :think:?
T0: I'd move the Scout 1W-1SW (checks out NW river tiles). If nothing great there, move settler 1NE on the hill (check out eastern river and be on a potential settling location)
T1: Move Scout SE-SE (checking out all the tiles the settler has abandoned with its T0 move). If nothing south -> settle T1 on the hill, else consider moving back and still SIP T1
Satan's voice :satan:: Settle on the plain cow:devil:! <-- :jesus: : Don't do that. Just don't :nono:

The riverside PH looks tempting for founding the first city, but what if these bare tiles on the south have some pig or sheep? Missing a food resource would be painful for such a OCC (one cow challenge) start. Hmm... tough decisions :think:

Still in the middle of the last Darius NC (played to 500BC; will post a write-up in a few days). I might try this one after finishing the Darius game.
Maybe just NW NW scout to reveal a lot of tiles and move towards middle earth. If nothing interesting, move settler NE and take it from there.
Imp makes those plains cow starts much more playable, especially with the added river commerce. No need to run around blindly with the settler, but if the scout finds something good you can move of course.
I played until turn 100 or so.

Spoiler :

First deity game in a while and thankful that barbs weren’t much of an issue.

I scouted the plains hill as suggested by @AcaMetis - and then tried my luck with SIP. Imp saving the day as @Rusten says to get the key spots thereafter.

Complete chaos so far, everyone is at war. Ragnar is getting beaten up by sitting bull, of all people.

Nearly at construction, going to elepult someone (likely Viking’s or India).


Spoiler T121 :
Scouted NE and Settled on T1 on river bend on the other side of the plain hills to catch corn in North, the only decent food around. Here also, Ragnar got his ass handed to him by Sitting Bull and I joined the fun sniping his two last cities. I was hopelessly behind in tech, but bulbing compass allowed me to get bunch of money and tech from the middle branch of the tech tree, which in turn allowed me to limp to currency and CoL. Still behind in tech, but not so badly anymore.
It's probably terrible play but I think it's funny anyway. This is T50 :
Spoiler :
Without much regard for maintenance control, imma gonna steal some tiles :mischief::lol:

Playing like it was 2008, Moscow chopped the 3 settlers at size 3 and then, eventually, produced the 2nd worker
Now, getting to Writing is going to be a drag but we've got this beautiful placement with 2 cities battling against 1 for gems and pigs :dunno:

Tip : if you'd want to claim Novgorod and Rostov, you shouldn't fogbust them. In those locations, odds are you'd be doing the AIs a favour.

Spoiler :

Capital on N-NE plains hill because I wanted the extra gold from the riverside mine. Food is terrible so it's been stagnated as a 2-pop settler/worker factory. Got 2 quick settlers and settled perhaps a bit boldly next to Gandhi and (especially) Ragnar. Hilariously I don't have the "our close borders spark tension" penalty with either, despite taking 2 tiles from Uppsala's first ring (he must be generating no culture at all there).

CRE is so great for that and for fogbusting. Tech path was AH-Wheel-Agri-Fishing-Pottery-BW-Writing, on to Construction (looks on pace for T80 or so). BW delayed because this map is so production-rich and there was no rush to whip anything until the 3rd city (pigs) was size 4. After BW, put a few hammers into chariots and pre-chopped some forests just in case Ragnar was going for me, but he declared on Gandhi. Two clear blocks of low and high peaceweight AIs with Justinian in the middle, so managing the diplo should be fun.

Settler on its way to 4th city way south for the seafood and wheat. The "s" marker SW of capital is for a 5th, helper city that will mostly serve just to chop units prior to construction attack.



First game in about seven years so figured I'd get back up to speed with Emperor. Fairly messy but a nice warm up for Immortal on the next NC.

Spoiler :

12 cities. 50 pop. SIP. HA rush to kill first Ragnar then Gandhi. Late Oracle -> Metal Casting as nobody went for it. Starting to recover economy now and then aim for good old Lib -> MT to kill the world.

Thanks for hosting!


T180 - 1200 AD, though with one redo

Spoiler :

Construction around turn 85 with 5 cities (could have been earlier as I started pre-chopping the army too soon and could have improved my land further instead), then elepult stack ready around 10 turns later. Attacked India first (barely won a race to conquer there capital before France and Vikings got there), then eliminated Vikings in 50 BC (Uppsala, the city that was halfway in my borders on the previous screenshot, peace-flipped before I started warring). At that point I was at 15 cities and I made the mistake of going after Sitting Bull next, which took too long for the payoff (1 good city, rest is too expensive and/or swamped by France culture), so I reloaded to change plans and tech to Steel.

Started to get out of the science hole by trading metal casting to SB for Alphabet (haha!), then teched Code of Laws - Civil Service, bulbed Philo, got some good trades (Machinery, Feudalism) and eventually got a 2nd scientist naturally to start a Golden Age, to perform a quadruple civic switch (HRule, Caste, Bureau, Paci). Two more scientists during that Golden Age to bulb Chemistry and a Great Merchant for catapult upgrade money, then slow-researched Steel to 820 AD while building muskets. Cannon-Musket-Elephant army went after Kublai Khan first (capitulation after 3 cities), then Justinian (capped after 5), so sitting at 23 cities and around half the population. The big risk there is that Mongolia would have peace-vassaled to France before I could cap, as we were all friendly with each other due to shared religion. Also had to time my war with Mongolia between AP votes, just finished it before having to defy a forced peace resolution. Got military science for grenadiers recently and France will soon get Rifling, so I can build those while waiting to take control of the AP. Hopefully not too much of a grind since I'm looking forward to trying the other Catherine challenge map.

Edit: got it! 1380 AD domination after a short war of France vs. everyone else.

Also anyone else notice the Pangea seems to actually have a separate western continent, separated by 1 coast tile?


Last edited:
1180AD Domination (Emperor)

Spoiler :

Following on from 1AD post...

Recovered economy (courthouses, forges, AP buildings, barracks, stables) and built Great Library, Parthenon, MoM and Taj Mahal. Bribed Louis on Kublai at one stage after seeing a Kublai stack on my border. Wouldn't have been an issue as I didn't delete left over HAs, but didn't want the hassle.

Took MT with Liberalism in 920AD (with Gunpowder already in). AI tech pace was slow. Two of the remaining four had Engineering by the time I DoW'd Kublai in 1010AD with 20 or so Cuirassiers. Kublai vassaled in 1040AD followed by Justinian in 1100AD and Louis in 1120AD.

Triggered Domination in 1180AD (score 254k) with Sitting Bull down to one city and still refusing to talk. What a fun guy! Made it to Rifling in tech but didn't bother upgrading any guys.
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