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Nobles' Club 354: Ragnar of the Vikings


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 Ragnar of the Vikings, whom we last played in NC 273. The Vikings start with Fishing and Hunting.
  • Traits: Ragnar is Aggressive and Financial. Aggressive gives all Melee and Gunpowder units a free Combat I promotion, and gives a +100% :hammers: bonus to Barracks and Drydocks. Financial adds +1:commerce: to any tile that already produces at least 2:commerce:.
  • The UB: The Trading Post, a Lighthouse that gives a free Navigation I promotion to all naval units build in that city. Combine this with circumnavigation and cheap drydocks to create the fastest navy the world has ever seen.
  • The UU: The Berserker, a Maceman with +10% city attack and a free Amphibious promotion, which negates the combat penalty for attacking from a boat or across a river. Given City Raider promotions and backed by a big boat to bombard down city defences these guys are true terrors to any coastal city.
And the start:

Spoiler map details :
Fractal, Temperate climate, Medium sealevel.
Spoiler edits :
A few strategic resource swaps, and the player's starting area was changed to be significantly less depressing in terms of it's initial three or four single tile rivers.
Spoiler 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 354 Ragnar 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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Given the absence of plains hills I'm guessing the best move is sending the scout to check out the water to it's south - small chance of ruining seafood if that's coast, and it's possible to check tiles for fresh water to confirm whether it not it is - and if nothing convincing is found to suggest otherwise I'm guessing the best move is settling 1E right on top of the sugar. It's a sad loss of a (temporary) floodplains without the worker speed penalty and associated :yuck:, but a 3:food: capitol forever probably makes up for it ;).

That's my read on the situation, what do the experts think? :)
Yup definitely, and even with settle on sugar we have 3 other calendar resources serving as super cottages until the tech is unlocked.
Cottage the calendar resources instead of farm? Is this usually the option or is it because the leader is financial?
Cottage the calendar resources instead of farm? Is this usually the option or is it because the leader is financial?
For me it just depends what you need. With wet corn I'd assume not many other farms needed.

edit after I actually played a few turns
Spoiler :
Forgot the starting techs, so both BW and pottery are far away, leaving worker with nothing else to do but to initially farm those sweeties.
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Deity NHNE

Spoiler T0 - T61 :

As mentioned setteling on the +1 f tile is good, also gives more river and other nice bonuses with the river dye. I slowly rexed to 3 cities. Setteling 4th next turn. Grabbed a land grab city before a good city. But with coastal fin its not that big of a deal.

Then AH for 4th city and I was hoping for horses.

Seems like a semi islolation with gandhi. I wonder what he thinks about beeing stuck with Ragnar.. :p quite a big difference if you change the roles here.

Right now I'm debating with either killing ghandi and staying iso and save him for later. The latter probably best

I want to kill him.. but its probabaly best to buddy up wait and go for a quicker astro date.

Will need more exploration fast.


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Spoiler :
Identical tech path (I assume you went agri first of course). I'm at T64 (spent time at 0% to wait for 2*library) and choosing between myst and sailing. AH wouldn't be my first choice, gives very little unless you want to attack with HAs or something.

I got buddhism from him and I think friendly AI >> dead AI in semi-iso.

Spoiler :
yeah you are probably right. I only have 1 library. Focusing a bit more on working cottages in cap. After AH i will go 0% for a while. Hoping buddism spread will minimize need for monuments

So how to do this? I got writing before ghandi.. so maybe go alpha? Maybe get monarchy trade?

I can se putting a couple 100% spypoints turns into ghandi might be smart.. or you can do the demo trick to figure out what he is teching
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Spoiler :
What I did was wait for him to get either monarchy or alpha, then tech the one he didn't have. Maybe it's a bit risky if he goes for them consecutively. Didn't think of spy-slider, makes sense and is probably safer.

At least for me this is a super-capital game, so went academy. I think I'm not gifting a city as should get to friendly in the BCs anyway.
T115 (1AD) demigod

Spoiler :
Early tech path just like Implo: agri-min-BW-wheel-pot-writ. Actually only got AH 2T ago. Supercapital-strategy so went for the academy. Size 14 quite disappointing honestly but no way to get :health: (zero trades). Otherwise haven't worked on :gp:, because I intend to switch to caste+paci for which I have the techs (didn't win Taoism which was probably a good thing). Decided to whip AP monasteries, soon ready to switch. 3 workers which is enough, I think.

Didn't settle the blocker to the SE for some reason. Hate cultural fights against deity AI but at least I'm winning it (got the pigs). Oh decided to city gift to get some tech trades faster (+17 now :crazyeye:).

I'm trying to piggyback Gandhi a bit on optics-line (he just got MC), as my dream is to lib astro. I don't think things can go horribly from here, I mean he is such a soft target 6 cities should always be enough.


on map difficulty
Spoiler :
Certainly on the easier side. I encourage people to try deity, can't be that bad.
Spoiler :
Yeah. went similar route. Went for Alpha and traded for monarcy.
Early academy was great here. 173 Beakers @ turn 101.

Doing som minor optimaziations for astro bulb. Not sure if ill get it in the most optimal way but.. lets se :)

Not so optimal after all.. astro date 325 AD. Turn 129. Glad i kept Gandhi around.. he helped a great deal and now have a couple of wonders.. he even built the AP. So going ot be nice to grab his land :)
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astro date spoiler
Spoiler :
Botched :gp:-generation (didn't take the 1st one from the weaker spot!) but still lib astro 540AD. I think at least 4T earlier was possible in my game (with 2 GS, double edu bulb).

T101 I made "only" 162:science: without building :science:.
For the record,
Spoiler :
"Keep literally Gandhi alive when playing as Ragnar" was not a (relative) trick solution I had planned with this map, but I'll happily take what the map gen RNG gave me :goodjob:.
Crazy that this game out a day after a really similar map I played that I was going to post.

Spoiler :
i play monarch. im at t96 and I went the war route mostly because I wanted to practice an early rush, and because this start is never going to yank my economy. I settled 1e and cottaged everything on a river asap.

I went warrior first because there was really nothing for the worker to based on my tech path of agri>wheel>pottery>mining>bw>ah>writing>iron until I got to pottery. I went warrior>worker>worker>warrior>settler>axe>settler.

City 2 was 1N of the pig to get that sweet spot going, and then city 3 settler came out a turn before revealed iron, so I settled 1N of that hill to get clam and iron in first ring.

After that I started chopping out swords and I’ve demolished Gandhi, he only has a 1 pop cap on a hill left. He gave me Buddhism, and I got to code of laws first. I’m about 10 turns from civil service, and then I’m planning to go backwards towards the optics/Astro route with this sweet capital.
Spoiler :
No no. You should start with a worker and go agri. You have lots to farm, like a wet corn which is 6:food:! After that you wait for BW and farm calendar resources.
Spoiler :
yeah, i see that. what im trying to communicate is i had lots of dead turns in the middle for the worker, even with wheel tech. I immediately wanted to cottage everything, so I went with the cottage strategy and built my opening around that...

I jumped from 96 beakers to 167 beakers when I got to civil service/ended my conquest of Gahndi at 125 BCish, so that was cool. There's some sick spots on the other side of the Island, so I'm anticipating blowing up even more. I just turned on Scientist attack about 10 turns ago, so we're about to bulb some stuff. Calendar made for 2 free happiness since I settled cities on the resources, so looking forward to this mid game. [/spoilter]
Spoiler :
Hmm. Both me and Implo went agri-mining-BW and the timing was good, no wasted worker turns at all!
Spoiler :
I think that's because you farmed the calendar resources, but I cottaged them
I don't think discussion of what's visible from the start needs to be in spoilers.

With either Agri or The Wheel as starting techs, I think going early pottery would be more competitive than in this particular case. I still probably wouldn't do it at high difficulty levels because the lack of production hurts in term of getting settlers out early, and in getting warriors out for fogbusting. This makes BW more urgent.

A useful heuristic for me, that I learned from more experienced deity players, is that you need some balance of production and commerce in the early game. So in a commerce rich, hammer poor map you're more likely to prioritize BW fast or you're stuck with slow expansion and no protection from barbarians. In a hammer rich, commerce poor map (bare hills to mine, cows/horses/etc.) you need to make sure to fit in some way to grow commerce (typically fishing, wheel for trade routes or early pottery) early in the game, or the way to pottery / writing / other economic techs is going to be really slow.

After learning pottery you can always replace some farms with cottages if you have worker turns to spare. I usually cottage sugar/bananas especially if they are not the primary food source, and I don't need the resource specifically. The rationale is that 3 food tiles with commerce are really strong (just like a floodplain city can eventually sustain its growth without any food resources), and going from 3 to 4 food is less of a big deal than from food neutral to some surplus.

For that same reason, in the case of riverside dye specifically I think the 3/3 FIN farm is really good and not worth replacing until Calendar.
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Cottaging the sugar and farming the dye actually makes a lot of sense. That kinda allows each one to give the most long term.
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