Overreaching with the Ottomans (Immortal)


Mar 17, 2010
It's a Small World After All.
Whether the size is big or small, round or flat, the world is a wondrous, varied place -- and everyone wants to rule the world (am I going for song lyrics now?). Everyone has had their day, including the Ottomans, who started small but got really really big...

They Might Be Giants owes a lot to the Ottomans.

But you know who doesn't get any respect around these forums? The Ottoman Empire. Suleiman is terrible. Suleiman is pointless. Suleiman doesn't have a UB and has a completely useless UA (I somehow got his UA achievement for during my Bollywood game). Man, people sure like to trash Suleiman. Not everyone's a hater, but he must stink, right?

Wrong. Civs don't suck, but players do! Prepare to witness and critique the journey of a relatively poor player as he takes the Suleiman all the way to glory, to conquest, or to laughable, embarrassing defeat.

Game Settings:
Spoiler :

A few things to note:

1) I went with a small world to help my computer's performance, as it really struggled in the large game I played last time.
2) Lots of random, but I've heard some good things about the small continents setup. I thought I'd give it a whirl.
3) The highest difficulty I've ever won or played is King. I felt like jumping two levels to Immortal just to see how much more challenging the game is.

Lets Get it Started
I upgraded my graphics settings slightly (to not have black hexes) but did I upgrade my starting location in the process?

Apparently it's cold in Istanbul. No sign of Ice or Grassland anywhere, but at least we have marble and plenty of fur. There's also some fish nearby, and we're on a river and on the coast. The start has a lot going for it. Just the same, I'm interested to see what else is around. I decide to start with masonry since the Marble is within my immediate border, and our warrior continues to scout east and south.

To the southeast? The edge of the world and...

Riches from the ruins! But how does the currency convert? Oh well, there's also a friendly neighborhood barb camp on the end of the peninsula, so...

Apparently I didn't like taking pictures of the over-world as I was exploring, only when I got text boxes early. Oops. But the barb threat is gone. Hooray! My warrior almost died, but fortunately my scout finished and I could send him to the northeast.

Where I find more text boxes! Who cares about shiny new graphics when you're on the lookout for pop ups! Speaking of pop, apparently we found some people who liked to eat crumbling buildings or stale food or something (or do they know the secrets of refrigeration? Regardless, I welcome them into my borders and then discover some more borders. And you know what that means...

More black boxes! (I don't know what I was thinking with my early photos, but I'll be better in the future).

So, who do we meet?

A local maritime city state. I'll probably want to take advantage of them. They're not terribly close to me, but they are on a peninsula to the northeast.

So we have a peninsula to the southeast. A peninsula to the northeast.

And to the west our wounded warrior finds land that is tantalizingly close, and a ruin sitting there for the taking. Unfortunately, our little stone age brains have no idea how to swim across the channel.

So on Turn 11
There are continents, there are small continents, and there is exploring the whole world by turn 11:

I think we're gonna need a boat. Not a bigger boat, just a boat. Any boat at all. Looks like I'm going straight for techs to let me cross the channel, because our island is small and cold, and we can see a bigger world out there from our city walls.

I wonder what mysteries lie on the other side. My goal is to rapidly expand to get a good base of cities fast, but as of right now I can't see having more than 3 cities on this rock.

Looking at one spot, probably where the marsh is, and another spot on the southern peninsula. I've parked the scout that is suddenly obsolete in order to make sure no surprise barb camps pop.

I've read a few places that people really like to take advantage of starting off on a continent by themselves and teching like crazy. I don't think this is what they had in mind.

More to come!

Lord Monkey

Sep 30, 2010
So are you going to try to take advantage of Sillyman's UA at all, or just hulk-smash everyone with jannisaries?


Mar 17, 2010
Meanwhile, in the Land Down Under (Part 1)
Looking back at these turns, you're going to see that I made some mistakes. Some pretty glaring errors actually, some just LTP moments. Watch, learn, and don't repeat.

From the way the game has been going so far, I'm starting to like immortal difficulty. I'm not sure if all of the AI problems have been solved or anything, but at least the opponents are more interesting than I'm used to.

As for me? I'm starting to think I have a slightly gimped start. Being surrounded by Tundra and mountains tends to have that effect -- but if we can just nail some strong starting resources we should be okay. To that effect, I decide to adopt:

Yes, Liberty. Two reasons: 1) I haven't used it before in any game I've played and 2) I want faster settlers eventually, I want faster worker production, and once I hook up some trade routes I want happier people.

Turn 30: Stepping Out

By this turn I'm just about done researching sailing so I can start scouting the world. However, by taking my not normal tech line my worker has little to do to improve any of the tiles around him. The marble is hooked up (hooray!) but all he can do now is mine the trundra hills. I'm not sure whether to keep them mined or switch them to trading posts later. I'll figure it out -- for now Istanbul does not seem to be a terrible production city -- at least for the options I have.

The settler finishes, and the planted scout ensures no barbarian pop ups and a safe passage to found a second city is ensured. I chose the marsh location because it was a good middle point between Cape Town and Istanbul. Feel free to critique though.

The World Gets a Little Bigger
Out tiny work boat finishes! Hooray! Instead of shooting for optics immediately for embarkment (which would take awhile to research) to explore the northwest land mass, I instead opt for animal husbandry --> trapping so I can improve my tiles at home. For once, I'm happy to see some food resources surrounding my city -- my growth is already pathetically slow as is.

I sent my ship west around the perimeter of the island AND...

We are NOT alone.

Oh Wu, you seem to be my neighbor a lot lately. And it's kind of interesting that I'm isolated on a tiny land mass from her -- so at least I won't be pulled into an early land war with her until one of us finishes optics. Maybe I'm an offshoot onto a larger continent, and she's on the southern end of that continent? I don't know.

But she does seem mighty busy in Beijing. And holy cow, are those Immortal production bonuses or is she just in some kind of golden age? That diamond mine is pumping out a looot of gold.

I'm six turns from Optics. I'm pumping out another settler. I'm hoping to become a little closer to her soon by settling just across the river a little bit and not be so isolated from the world. Hopefully that won't cause a diplomatic mess! At least I won't settle directly next to Beijing, right?

I guess the plan for now is to make nice to Xu until I figure out what's going on with the rest of the world and see where I can go from there.

More to come (including how some innocuous early game decisions could be my undoing)!


Mar 17, 2010
So are you going to try to take advantage of Sillyman's UA at all, or just hulk-smash everyone with jannisaries?

It depends on the flow of the game. If I end up mounting a huge navy -- sure, why not. I'll hunt some barbs. Otherwise? Just UUs I guess

Just because I'm hoping I won't need to be such a war-mongerer this game doesn't mean it isn't going to be out of the question.


Mar 17, 2010
Meanwhile, in the Land Down Under (Part 2)
So, when we last left off I was starting for trapping but opted to switch to Optics after getting animal husbandry.

You notice the icon that says 0 horses? Sure, I just finished researching the tech -- but there are also no horses in my lands anywhere! Nooo!!!

So with China being next door I decide to forego trapping at the moment and switch straight top Optics in order to get across the bay, scout inland, and set up a home on China's land mass. I'll probably need a strong beach-head in place if I need to elbow China out of the way.

Classic Era baby! And we're not the last people to enter it (next to last, but whatever!). So how does the classic era greet me?

First off, screen cap fail. Secondly, tech fail. As I'm getting my stuff together I seemed to have forgotten my fast-expand plan. Meanwhile, China is just now founding its second city -- and for whatever reason it wants to found it within arrow distance of my landmass and within a few tiles of Istanbul.

Talk about getting beaten to the punch. Now I'm going to have to get dragged into some kind of land battle with China whether I like it or not. Obviously, I'm not ready for that. Fortunately, I do have some cash around to buy some key tiles I'm sure China would have snapped up at the first opportunity:

So I'm in a predicament. For lack of a better word, I'm caught with my pants down and the best course of action right now seems to be trying to make nice with China for the moment and explore the world a bit with my work boat and scout.

Making Nice With the World

See, citizenship! I'm trying to teach my people to be kind to others. Oh, you mean that's not the kind of citizenship the game's talking about? Hmm...

I meet two other nations exploring a continent to the north:

Ramses, who as usual has nothing better to do than deifying himself while waving around his little stick.

Washing...who seems to like his globe a LITTLE too much. Kind of creepy, did I interrupt something? It looks like he's touching Florida.

As for China? I make nice for the moment. Keep my enemies closer? Like I have a choice?

Also? Get open borders just to see what's going on inland and get some preliminary scouting for a future invasion and I'm not wholly pleased with what I see. Lots of hills right around Beijing, but I knew that already. Horses on the island. Bummer. A army far larger than what I have going on already. Bummer 2x, and it's headed my way...

Am I in trouble or what?

We Interrupt This Report To Show You The Most UBER Island EVER

One day I hope to make these fertile lands mine.

I Guess It Rains Down in Africa
Well, I'm not surprised really. It's Immortal and already I'm playing behind because I hadn't totally thought through my early moves.

The World as I Know It

But I'm not out of the picture yet. Especially when a few world events help me breathe some relief and terrify me a little bit:

Hooray! China is committing its forces to Brussels! I'm relatively safe for now. But...

Although I have yet to see city states actively attack other players/nations, I'd really rather keep China from getting aligned with the only city state on my island. But I don't want to fight China to get save Brussels. Oh, things to consider.

Meanwhile, I make another technological advance that has the potential to totally turn the tables on China:

Woo hoo! And look at all the Iron on mini-continent!

Oh, wait. You mean imaginary iron. The iron that is not there. But fortunately I find a small source of iron nearby (2 units) but grabbing it will probably have some diplomatic repercussions. Beijing is right next door? Well, we do have open borders.

Here we go!


Mar 17, 2010
Turn 88 and Waiting
Well, we successfully made our desperate land grab for a paltry amount of Iron. Worth it? To get an edge on China, absolutely. The question is whether or not I can get it hooked up and my forces in place in time to catch China before it pops out it's UU (which it must be close to by now).

At this moment, the Ottoman Empire stretches across two landmasses with a small blight in the middle:

Istanbul is building a coliseum because, finally, happiness is becoming an issue. Otherwise, after my initial builds I'll be headed for a more militaristic approach.

And for reasons I'm not exactly sure of now, I took Representation as a policy instead of the one that grants happiness for trade route connection.

Oh well, I'll figure out this game eventually. Representation isn't awful, but it isn't awfully useful to me at the moment except that I don't have to worry about building culture buildings.

Meanwhile, Ramses doesn't seem to know what to do with his stick.

For a god, that is a very moronic look on your face. Sure, I'll help you figure it out.

But, as I said before, I am behind early in the game for my various bungles/etc. Fortunately, the game is by no means out of reach, although at this point I'm not exactly sure what kind of victory I should be trying to shoot for.

Edit: Available Food -- starting in the tundra has its perks, no?

At least we're beating China at a few things? I wonder how much my station will improve once I add their lands to mine (insert cackle here).

Meanwhile, at least for the four nations I know of (2 remain), I am at least a non-player at the moment.

Looks like a war is brewing. What does my scout see as he goes into the north to explore Washington's lands?

Hmm, that can't be good.

Hey, now that just isn't right! Well, it will be interesting to see who wins, because I've been far nicer to Washington than Egypt but Egypt has a far larger military than anybody.

The Non War for Brussels
My advisers come running to me from time to time to give token, canned advice.

The Foreign adviser strikes me as a little odd, as there are only two scouts and a boat sitting on my borders. Imminent attack? Then bring it I guess...

Of course, there is a conflict on the home front. China has gotten a number of GGs from throwing unit after unit at Brussels. But, because of 1) the AI's naval incompetence and 2) The fact that Brussels actually has a good enough defense to nullify the damage from any boat China could build anyway, you can see a true in game meat-grinder.

The archer in the city + bombardment is enough to stop anything China can throw at Brussels.

But then I see an opportunity, and I order my warrior to make what could easily be classified as a "dick move." Or maybe an exploit of 1UPT? I don't know, or maybe I do but I refuse to believe it. In order to aid Brussels so it won't fall to the Chinese, I decide to do the right thing with my warrior:

Yes, I could have done a full blockade with my warrior, but in my mind that is straight cheese (even if allowable). But by setting the warrior on a hill it creates a funnel that melee units must pass through to get to Brussels. And if it looks like the city is about to fall, I can swoop in. China went turn after turn after turn throwing units at the city with little to no effect. I'd like to say I helped.

However, China does get a little worried about my troop placement:

And I tell her the truth. At this point there's no sense for me to go to war. I'm still trying to build up my military and trying to make some use out of my iron...

How to Fail at Civ V
You've heard a number of people, myself included say Civ V is a lot easier than Civ IV. I still think that, and an AI improvement would help things greatly. But I'm also not someone to try out a difficulty a few times to avoid the embarrassment of posting a story of "poor play" on the forums when I try a new difficulty.

Well, what's coming up as another example of "poor play."

I reach a new era by getting Compass so I can hook up my cities via harbors instead of roads.

I get philosophy from my Egypt research agreement shortly thereafter.

Hooray I say, it all looks kind of decent. I'm going to shoot for longswordmen so I can attack China as I work my way up to Janissaries for whatever the future may hold.

Yes, there is a lot of backfill tech to grab. As a result, my nation is pretty backwards.

At least, in the game's eyes. My specialists are going. I have a GS almost complete to get me my UU the moment I can start researching it.

And as I train my swordmen (longswordmen to be) and other units, at least one nation is impressed.

And unfortunately, while my military adviser is screaming things at me like "You can do it!" and "GOGOGOGO" I realize that my window of opportunity has passed when I spot something ominous across the channel.

Hmm, I'm going to really have to rethink what I'm doing with China. Maybe the best bet will be to wait a bit, stay peaceful, don't entangle myself in deals with them, and build up my forces so I can strike. That seems like pretty sound reasoning, especially when their UU can hit me twice, hit me hard, and comes in bunches.


I don't do anything terribly exciting with it except rake in the cash a little bit and pump out some units. Still, I'm pleasantly surprised at the amount of happiness I have. I guess the slow growth plus the two extra luxuries from my westernmost city really helped me out.

The Real War with Brussels
My warrior funneling has done the trick and has kept Brussels alive. However, with their UU being able to shoot twice it's only a matter of time before the city walls get knocked down by the Chinese...unless I do it first.

Of course, it isn't MUCH of a war.

My longsword attacks Brussels, then lets China do the aerial work for me. After healing up a turn or two the time is right to strike and Brussels is ours!

Bucharest AND Cape Town both jump lovingly into our arms. What did Brussels do to get all that hate? Oh well, not my loss. Rather, my gain.

We're no longer as behind as we used to be. Then again, that could have something to do with America blasting Egypt down city by city. I allied with Washington, and even though I sent no troops up north hopefully that will further cement our relationship. Looks like I picked the right war horse that time around. Things are looking up.

With Brussels out of the picture, it appears China is looking for another neighbor to pay attention to.

Have I just made a(nother) terrible mistake?


Jul 3, 2008
I am huge fan of the ottomans..people just arnt smart enough to appreciate the economic/influence power of their UA. And I like TMBG..but the Istanbul song is a bit too jingly for my tastes heh. Keep writ'n! And you know he's touching florida heh


Mar 17, 2010
The Rest of the World is Waiting
First, the score situation:

You'll see why I'm at war with Egypt shortly.

So with China's attention now focused towards me, my world has also suddenly gotten just a little bit bigger as the last two world powers have revealed themselves:

Caesar, as inscrutable as ever

I was able to make a pretty good deal with them early on:

Ooooh! So Caesar's throne is ALSO a toilet! I get it.

I also met Ghandi. From the looks of it, Ghandi is are dissapoint?

And while I am behind in tech, I finally joined the renaissance (for real this time!)

Meanwhile a world power left the building:

Looks like America finished the job and their whole continent is theirs. Looks like I backed the right horse in that conflict -- now I have a powerful ally to the North. Then again, I only joined Washington in a war dec in order to keep the peace with him. With my position in the world, I'd rather be shielded by someone on my side at this point. I'm also still not sure about what victory condition I want to shoot for right now, but I know I need to eliminate China or find new lands to settle. And since the lands available are far to the north and not that great...

Turn 181, the China Situation

An interesting development happened. China had pushed a bunch of forces onto my border and then dispersed them. It was weird -- almost like it was trying to attack then had second thoughts.

I took advantage and got my own forces in position. And before China could try and hit my mainland...I decide to look for allies.

Amazingly, he's actually willing to join me in a war declaration. Hooray! He'll declare war first, and hopefully the rest of the world doesn't call me a warmonger (that seems to happen every game -- boo hoo guys).

Well, getting onto the mainland won't be hard -- but fighting China's UU while getting in position will be. Just the same, at least I won't have to worry about other nations getting upset since I convinced America to declare war on China first. Sooo...

Really? So Rah Rah! Of course it's going great, we just declared war.

Notice what I have up my sleeve next to Shanghai?

I don't have a super huge army, but I am very confident in my ability to wear down China's forces. Honestly, the biggest problem I'm facing is their UU + UA -- where China got a ton of GGs from me letting them funnel and kill troops instead of me blocking the entire path to Brussels.

Meanwhile, the western front is going to be interesting as well.

My poor fleet has yet to find any barb camps that spawn boats, and at the same time are no longer able to do damage to enemy units if they're on a hill or in a forest -- completely obsolete. So I get to defend the west with a Pikeman, a Crossbow, and Bursa.

And now? It's war time!
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