Nobles' Club 352: Joao II of Portugal


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 Joao II of Portugal, whom we last played in NC 277. The Portuguese start with Fishing and Mining.
  • Traits: Joao II is Expansive and Imperialistic. 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:). 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: The Feitoria, a Customs House that adds +1:commerce: to all of a city's water tiles. It's a nicer bonus on paper than in practice, because by the time that you've researched Economics you really shouldn't be looking forward to investing three (base) Granaries worth of :hammers: so you can upgrade to some number of 2:food:3:commerce: Coast, or worse, 2:food:2:commerce: Ocean tiles.
  • The UU: The Carrack, a Caravel that can transport any two land units instead of one Great Person, Spy, Missionary or Scout/Explorer. Carracks allow you to transport units like Settlers or military over the oceans before researching Astronomy, which allows you to grab unclaimed islands or launch naval invasions before anyone else could even think about doing so. Of course in practice the latter option is a bit impractical, both due to the logistics involved and because oversea colonies without Astronomy trade routes are expensive, but if you happen to come across someone like Gandhi hoarding religious shrines...:devil:
And the start:

Spoiler map details :
Fractal, Medium Sealevel, Temperate Climate.
Spoiler edits :
A strategic resource swap to give an AI it's missing nearby strategic resource.
Spoiler isolated? :
Not 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 352 Joao II 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 352 Joao
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Fishing and Mining on a start with coastal seafood, plenty of forests to chop, and some delicious bacon that's oinking to join the mining crew. The start seems straightforward, the question is if the rest of the game will be :).

(I also just realized that the starting position actually doesn't have fresh water. Well, let that be a lesson in the game's delightful quick of punting the settler off to another tile if the settler spawns on a tile with a resource, in this case the Pigs tile. This happened multiple times rolling maps for this NC :lol:.)
Hi AcaMetis,
I'm sure the problem is on my end, but my computer doesn't like the download file and flags it as a trojan. I've never had this issue before. Has something changed?

Kind regards,
Ita Bear
I don't recall doing anything different, no. The worldbuilder files also seem to load fine, at least on my end, so I don't think they got weirdly corrupted or something.
with his traits it's a straightforward SIP go worker, BW, mine the pigs, chop out a work boat first, then size 3, chop settler working: clam (no bonus, just for food), mine pig, forested hill. blue circle is a good 2nd if isolated, otherwise I'd push inward
Mined pigs and plains hill starts? At what point does an early settler become a bad idea? I guess if chopping workboats it hardly matter. +2f is not going to greatly speed up a settler. At size 1 12 turn settler once the hill is mined? A chop into a settler adds 30H with traits.
Maybe go worker-settler? :coffee: BW first seems obvious in this line.
I did worker-wb-wb-settler here. But getting 3rd/4th/5th cities quickly.

Going for GLH with this map. 4 of my first 5 cities will be coastal. Considering swordsmen rush but that seems silly given all the cities I need to develop and probably better to check for horses first.
At 1000 BC (Monarch):

5 cities and settling the corn soon. Great lighthouse in 5 turns. Then the plan is to consolidate economy and prepare for construction rush on Roosevelt. But I hate attacks with 1 movement units it's so slow. Might be a hemispheres type of map so optics/astronomy maybe instead of early rush? Hannibal might be fairly close as it would be weird for his archer to wonder across the continent.


Spoiler Thoughts up to 100bc on immortal :

I had 3 cities by 3000bc.
I managed to wipe out Americans with axes and still build GLH.
Took out most of Carthage bar his copper city for 2 techs. Sadly he bribed in JC and Ottoman on me.
Can probably take down Rome's biggest city and capital. Captured 2 of his other cities.
Offered Ottoman HBR for peace.

Which would leave me on about 16-17 cities.
With Justin and Ottoman on about 10 but I am behind in tech.

Not sure I will play this out as my micro has been really bad. Ottoman has a 8-9 strong stack in his city but not plotting. I can whip so many units here. Justin is at pleased.

Biggest error was forgetting I had no hunting tech early on with so much unhappiness. Likely could of traded resources with AI too. If I had construction this might of been easier.

The map is very winnable. Start is way too over powered but I guess the AI are there to expand and tech quickly. Not met the final AI. But 1 AI dead. Another stuck on 1 city and Romans throwing praets and HA at me.
Spoiler :
ended up building the workboat, but not working it, but mine pigs + mine hill settlers, warriors in between. got 6 cities, then elepult on roose (capped, took a lot and GLH), elepult on hanni (capped) who was being pummeled by julius. julius declared on me, but half cocked and attacking where I had my stack. wiped it and took 2 former cartaginian cities, signed peace. going lib and cuirs, though the first target is the question. barring one of them caves in to a demand later on, think I'll have to fight cesar an mehmet at the same time. fun map!
Spoiler :
ended up building the workboat, but not working it, but mine pigs + mine hill settlers, warriors in between. got 6 cities, then elepult on roose (capped, took a lot and GLH), elepult on hanni (capped) who was being pummeled by julius. julius declared on me, but half cocked and attacking where I had my stack. wiped it and took 2 former cartaginian cities, signed peace. going lib and cuirs, though the first target is the question. barring one of them caves in to a demand later on, think I'll have to fight cesar an mehmet at the same time. fun map!
Hah Hannibal and Julius have a real bromance going on in my game. At 1 AD and I'm considering switching into their shared religion and then attack Mehmet
Haven't played civ 4 for a while due to computer issues (accidentally spilt some juice on my computer and had to wait for its repair :o). After getting my computer back I decided to try this map, because the start looked well fitted to Joao's starting techs.
In my off-line games with Joao, my biggest problem is not "how to expand" but "how to afford the expansion": going frequently on strike before reaching writing 😵. Let's hope this time I can get writing without the strike :please:.

Spoiler Emperor up to 25BC :

Emperor, NHNE, normal speed.
In fractal maps, the land is usually a mystery :scan:. We might be on a small continent; or the land turns out to be a pangaea. T1 and T3 demography screen all showed the largest AI had 9000 land, which meant there was no CRE AI in this game: 🧐
...not a bad news. At least I wouldn't worry about a monster Sury or the nasty tech pace of Willem.

SIP. BW first. 4 cities construction attack Roosevelt. Unfortunately he built SH but no GLH :gripe:. Given that Roose was almost everyone's worst enemy and I was quite far from feudalism, I beat him down to 1 garbage city then took calendar in the peace treaty.

Even without GLH, Roose's former capital had gold and gem, which would help the economy recovery. Had 9 cities in 25BC and still got one spot to backfill. Barely got currency with the capture gold. Perhaps the next tech would be CoL, for whipping/chopping some CHs...?:think:

And yes, the capital is building a galley because some barb galleys are charging towards my seafood. The fish in Oporto was already pillaged :mad:.

JC might be a trouble. He started plotting only 2 turns after I attacked Roosy :hmm: - he probably wants to dogpile Roosevelt or me. I usually have very bad luck with AI JC: almost every time I meet him, he finds a reason to DoW me, sometimes from the other side of pangaea, sometimes across the ocean:trouble:. I need to send a unit to find out where he and his stack are.

Won't have time to play the game for some days. Might keep playing the game this weekend or next week.
Hah Hannibal and Julius have a real bromance going on in my game. At 1 AD and I'm considering switching into their shared religion and then attack Mehmet
Spoiler :
julius plotted on me even when he wasn't annoyed, he can plot at pleased. mehmed can't, and vassalage also makes him happy. he should reach that shortly about the phase of the game you were posting about. of course if you still wanna go berserk on him, please do, it's super fun.
ended up capping mehmed late, after rifles and capitulating julius, hanni, roose. declared on him just so that he would move his army out of an exclave he had, sacrificed a worker so that he would be on the open, but tough stack
Domination at 1675AD (Monarch):

First attacked Roosevelt and cease fire after taking 2 cities. I should have finished him off because Caesar peace vassaled him making my war with Rome longer than needed. Next was Hannibal who capped with 2 cities left. Next Caesar capped but I had to take 5 cities first. I left his 2 west cities in tundra which gave me a nice buffer to Justinian. Next killed off Roosevelt and then Mehmet with Cuirisiers. Finally it was Justinian's time with combination of Cuirs/Cannons and a few Cavalry to finish him off. Finished with 37 cities lol. I need to learn to be more efficient in these conquest wins. Maybe give back cities after capping? My understanding is that I get 50% of the land area of vassals towards domination victory.
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T61 Deity

Spoiler :

Greediest deity opening I have ever done. Worker->Settler x2, 3 cities by 30, GLighthouse turn 57 (working clam + 3 mines at size 4, +chops), then whipped settler for Coimbra (settled T61). Still on pace for a T80-ish Construction.

Somewhat risky, as fogbusting was almost but not quite complete with the single warrior out west (a few tiles between Roosevelt and me), and I started to build a second warrior before city 3 settler, but then Roosevelt founded Boston. In the end I figured the barb odds were low given all the AI scouts and Roosevelt's military patrolling around. In the end got 0 barbs even if Roosevelt built TGW in classic NC Roosevelt fashion.

Tech path was BW-Sailing-Masonry-Wheel-Pottery-Hunting-Writing. Not sure if I want corn city pre-Construction even with GLH, since Agri is not needed otherwise (e.g. plan is Math->trade for AH->Constr->HBR).


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Alternative T50

Spoiler :

Instead of GLH, 4 cities and Writing by T50. Worker-warrior-chop settler to NE fish city, then get out workboats while teching wheel and pottery. Both cities whip settlers at size 4.

I'll continue on the first save probably instead of this one, but it shows you can elepult really early on this map.


It's been a long while since I fired up Civ. Thought I'd knock off some rust with an NC. Up to 1260 AD on Monarch:
I definitely played sloppy, but managed to expand out to six cities (including a derpy island city to claim the horse) and bulbed toward lib, then took Nationalism as the freebie. Declared on Roosevelt around 900ish AD with a stack of 20 cuirassiers. Looking back, I think I might have preferred starting the war with 30. He didn't put up much resistance, but he became Mehmet's vassal once I had him down to his last couple of cities. After I took the last American city I just kept the war machine rolling toward the ottomans and have taken 3 cities so far, but my losses aren't negligible. I'm wondering if I should have just taken a cease fire instead to regroup and send a couple waves of reinforcements. I've been whipping like mad, but I never have been good at gauging the right balance of troops and tech during wartime in this game. Steel is in with cannons queued, and I'm wrapping up the banking tech line to get rifles. I'm not sure if I'll be able to wipe Mehmet out with my current cuirassier force or not. Either way, the plan is to cap him ASAP, then take Julius on with Cannons/Rifles. From there, who knows. Me, Justin, and Hannibal have good relations in the Buddhist bloc, and DeGaulle is backwards as all get out. I guess it could be fine to leverage friendly relations toward a UN victory, but probably will be faster to just backstab and win via dom/conquest.

Bigger picture for this map: I'm not sure cuirs were the way to go to be honest. I think it might have been better to break out earlier with catapults/elephants, especially on Monarch. Maybe even Axes. Oh well, like I said, it's been a while and I'm going to have to relearn.
Spoiler :
Cuirs 900AD on monarch... You are doing fine. A screenshot or a save would help! You mention whipping like mad. What does that precisely mean? Are most of your cities size 10 or size 4?
Spoiler :
Here's my current save. I know I'm in a winning position, I guess I was just frustrated at myself for not being a total hot knife through butter across the whole continent with the cuir push. Then the realization that I probably should have just elepulted for an earlier war made me feel silly as well. I used to be an IMM player, but even back then this was always the point in the game for me that everything became a slog. Balancing tech/econ and war basically at any point after the AIs have medieval units or thereabouts is just a grind it seems.

I suppose the way forward is to cap Mehmet by taking his capital and 1-2 other cities? After that I think there are lots of options, but I have no idea what's optimal.


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