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Nobles' Club 356: Isabella of Spain


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 Isabella of Spain, whom we last played in NC 306. The Spanish start with Fishing and Mysticism.
  • Traits: Isabella is Expansive and Spiritual. 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:). Spiritual allows you to swap state religion/civics without suffering Anarchy, and gives a +100%:hammers: bonus to all Temples.
  • The UB: The Citadel, a Castle with +5 xp for Siege units build in that city. An extremely powerful UB that should not be underestimated. Level 4 Cannons, put to proper use, aren't a military unit so much as a cylindrical force of nature on wheels clad in steel. These buildings will allow you to fight armies an era ahead in tech, given enough numbers, just keep in mind that they will get obsoleted by Economics.
  • The UU: The Conquistador, a Cuirassier with +50% vs. Melee units and able to benefit from defensive bonuses. Cuirs are a classic military breakout unit as is given their 2:move:, ability to ignore walls/castles, and 12:strength: allowing them to punch through fortified defenders (given enough bodies). Add to that the ability to abuse defensive terrain and a build-in counter to their early counter unit and you've got a rock-solid unit on offence or defence.
And the start:

Spoiler map details :
Pangaea, Temperate Climate, Medium sealevel.
Spoiler edits :
A few strategic resource swaps, and an impossible to work Fish was moved somewhere workable.
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 356 Isabella 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 356 Isabella.zip
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Kind of an awkward start. Forests everywhere, bad starting techs, no immediately obvious way to leverage EXP (I may have completely forgotten Isabella is EXP/SPI instead of CHA/SPI until posting this NC :mischief:), Warrior is not in the best position to do the scouting I'd want to do T0 and no obvious settling spot that I can see.

All told I think Warrior 1SE to see if there's anything along those river tiles. If there's like Gems settle the grass hill or something - I can deal with farmed Banana as a food resource if there's Gems around. If there's no gems or something else sufficiently enticing...I'unno. SIP and keep the mystery tiles, as well as remove the plains tile below the settler? Move 1NE or 2N or 2N1E or 1E to grab more river and mystery tiles, at the cost of fewer mystery tiles to the south? No clue what the optimal choice here is.

Any experts wish to weigh in :)?
One option for sure is to settle on the bananas. So I’d probably send the warrior north to check that one out.
Had not considered that possibility :think:. Settling closer to Jungle and "ruining" an early farmable 4:food: tile isn't the best, but than again, 3:food: capitol and a guarantee no jungle grows over the bananas to ruin that whole "build a farm" idea...
Spoiler turn 100 ish :
why don't you make it an always war while you are at it? no way I'll reach construction and horseback riding in time for jumbos to save me
Spoiler :
The last Isabella map had a, shall we say, much squishier neighbour, so I decided to crank up the difficulty a bit for this one. The map RNG evidently agreed this was the correct direction, and I have learned to trust the Civ IV map generation RNG to know what it's doing moreso than I do, so...

Spoiler turn 100 ish :
why don't you make it an always war while you are at it? no way I'll reach construction and horseback riding in time for jumbos to save me
Haha yes, this map is crazy. I lost the pig/gold city on turn 18 to Monty (on immortal!!). The bastard. Also missed out on gold spot north, but at least got elephants/banana. Rushing to try get the horse/corn before hannibal.
SIP seems best. There are 2 unforested tiles you lose by moving on banana, and they could be a good resource. I would not move to banana unless I first checked those tiles but that is going to waste a lot of turns.
Deity T50
Spoiler :
Yes, from what I see T0 SIP is best. Moved warrior SW and can see you claim a forested plains hill for EXP bonus after border pop.

Went agri-mining-BW-wheel-pot. Lost the copper-spot, because went for ivory first. Maybe that will cost me the game. It looks horrible with only 3pop T50, but will grow super fast with EXP granary gaming. If I can somehow claim horse (well, it's NC :mischief:) I think there is a chance.


Yep I think moving the warrior on the hill could be worth it for visibility. With Isa's techs and assuming you want BW early, you're looking at a T34 BW or so. Even with 2 farms worker will have some downtime unless there is another farmable or mineable tile here.
the end
Spoiler :
T73 Monty attacks and nothing I can do. Was hoping he is going for someone else though it seemed obvious... Not getting the copper spot cost the game.
Spoiler :
Reason I made sure the copper is very close to the player's capitol, though I did consider the possibility that Monty would plant a second holy city right in the player's face and steal it anyway. Every time prior I tested where the Deity AIs would send their second settler it ended up being completely different for most people in practice, though, so I've kinda given up on trying to predict the AI's movements at all :crazyeye:.
Just started this game on emperor difficulty.
Spoiler :

It looks like this could be quite fun and challenging. The AIs are expanding aggressively towards me (lost the gold site to Monty and the Carthaginians are expanding south, very near my borders.

I plan to spam settlers and grab what I can. I have elephants and although my capital doesn't have great production potential, at least it's on a river and once pottery is in should provide adequate income.
Once initial settling is done, I'm going to ele-pult someone, probably Monty.
Deity T60
Spoiler :

This is one of those rare cases when you can consider something other than worker-first.
This is because we have:
  • EXP
  • Poor worker techs and not much for a worker to do before BW
  • A 3F1C tile to grow on.
My build was 8 turns of warrior, then a 10-turn worker at size 2, then warrior->Settler->Settler at size 3.
At the end of turn 22 you're even on food, and ahead by 3 hammers and 8 commerce, at the cost of 5 worker turns.

Tech path: Agriculture->AH->Mining->BW->Wheel->Pottery

Monty got the gold with his second city, and I hemmed and hawed about which northern spot to take first... but since I had AH I went with the cow spot and was duly rewarded when Copper was revealed.


T66 Monarch
Spoiler :

These are my five cities that I settled prior to stopping working on workers. SIP, worker first, settled second city at 36. After writing pops here I go to aesthetics. My plan is to pop borders in Barcelona and go elepults on Monty. I join the buddhist bloc for good relations with most.


Spoiler through 17th cent
Spoiler :

I played peacefully after vassaling Monty, getting nationalism around 1000AD and building the Taj Mahal with that Marble. In the 17th century Hannibal ends up pulling ahead of me really far and I lose my tech advantage even against Gilgamesh. I start a war with Gilgamesh that I don't win very handily. When people move into freedom of religion we lose our buddhist bloc. Alexander declares and I quit.

I think that my issue was too long of a period of peace with only 7 cities just couldn't generate enough research or an army to be so quiet for a thousand years. I always hit a midgame slump unless I continue to roll through any viable rivals. I'm going to restart from a 925 AD save and see what works.

the end
Spoiler :
T73 Monty attacks and nothing I can do. Was hoping he is going for someone else though it seemed obvious... Not getting the copper spot cost the game.

Spoiler :

In my game he got that spot a few turns before BW even, and I figured this was not going to work.

A pretty good prepare to die or AI survivor map though.
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