Pacal the scientist?


Sep 20, 2004
Fresh from our (presumptive) maiden win on emperor, let's try our luck at a game where we actually have pesky neighbours.

It took a few rerolls before we find a non-isolated spawn. We are Pacal on a standard sized, standard speed, bigs n smalls map with random events and huts enabled. I remembered to save the start file this time, so you can follow along at home.

The start location is decent but not amazing, especially for poor old Pacal who doesn't know how to farm or hunt:

We move the warrior west and reveal not much, so we are more or less forced to settle in position. There was the gambling option of settling on the pigs and hoping to reveal more food, but we're not feeling that lucky. Nothing exciting is revealed after settling.

Unlike almost all my openings, we build a warrior first before the worker, because if we opened with worker we couldn't even finish hunting -> husbandry before the worker pops out. So instead we tech agriculture -> husbandry, because there are more likely to be farmable resources later, which we thought was worth the 3 extra turns. In hindsight, hunting may still have been better because the 3 turns may have been important, and also it'll be needed for holkans.

Our warrior finds a hut that reveals a map, another hut and Mecca. We beat Saladin to the other hut, which gives us 47 gold. We are certainly not alone, having met three neighbours by turn 14:

Bismarck came from the north, Ramses from the south. The immediate land looks pretty good to me, especially after labouring through the featureless islands from the Montezuma game. By a few turns later it is clear that Bismarck is not particularly close (see later screenshots). So our first preference for initial expansion is the coastal clam/wheat/ivory town.

Our worker improves the pig, cows and our three hills. We tech bronze working (no luck) -> fishing (to build a work boat for the expansion town, or if I lost out, to go find people) -> sailing (to trade with our first expansion) -> wheel

We decided to go a tiny bit greedy with the capital growth and grew to 4 while building warriors, then settler. Building the settler at 3 would have made securing the expansion spot very high probability given Saladin is a pretty slow starter, but would have left our worker pretty inefficient. He could have built a second mine but it wouldn't have been used for a while. We only have one forest so we don't necessarily want to chop it down yet. If we were beaten to the spot, there were not horrible alternatives. Building the settler at 5 would have been greedy and not even necessarily that much better than at 4 - there was no need for too many warriors given Saladin's proximity and the sea to the west, so we went with the size 4 settler build.

Saladin soon founded Buddhism. Surprisingly I don't see any expansion from him, and we found Lakamha, and begin building a monument so we can hook up the ivory asap. Hopefully the way of the Buddha spreads to us at some point so we can buddy up with him. Yes I love to skip having to build military if I can.

The capital builds a work boat, warrior, then another settler. The work boat takes a slight detour while sailing around the cape to the new town, and finds that there are landmasses to the west.

It is now 1800BC, and our second settler has just popped out, and it's time to decide where he's going to go. Here's a close up of our starting cities and improvements:

A wide shot of the northern half of the world as we know it. We're pretty sure Bismarck is just a few squares into the dark to the northwest, but don't want to risk losing that northern warrior / stop fogbusting:

And a wide shot of the southern half of the world. You'll see my warrior has just found some Egyptian and Saladin borders - lucky Saladin decided to expand away from us:

You'll see we've met Mansa and Qin Shi Huang as well now. They both seemed to have come from east of Saladin. Mansa is Qin's worst enemy, so we hold off on signing open borders with him, and we sign borders with everyone else that we can. Let's be honest though, we probably will end up signing with Mansa, we probably will trade a lot of techs with him in future, and Qin probably will hate us. That's life. That's civ.

Nobody has alphabet yet, and not a single wonder has been built yet. So we don't really know how well we're doing on the tech front, but the financial seafood tile and 47 hut gold has to mean not too badly.

Our fogbusting is in good shape, and that warrior to the south that just found Ramses and Saladin's new towns can go ahead and explore their lands and hook us up with some sweet trade routes.

So that leaves three main questions:
  • where to place that settler
  • slavery or not?
  • what's our general game plan from here?


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As for general gameplan, I don't think early war is going to work. Saladin is protective and his capital will have minimum 60% defence. We're not aggressive, and that copper town is going to be slow to get off the ground. Plotting against him seems like a quick way to throw the game. The others are too far away / not connected by sea - even if I win I'll wreck my economy and fall too far behind.

We have an ivory available for an earlyish luxury. We also have ball courts coming up to give 3 more happiness, and that wine to the north will surely be mine. As a financial guy, that's a lot of cottages and a lot of science soon. The nearby marble makes me want to go for the Library for even more beakers. I'm not too concerned about getting squeezed for land, as there are at least 4 decent spots near me, and after that I'll hopefully have islands to the west to colonise (the one on the far left in that last screenshot looks like it's size 4 at the absolute minimum). So it's all pointing to a peaceful expansion strategy to me.

So to follow that strategy, I'm inclined to do the maximum forward settle possible without annoying Saladin too much. I think that means the city almost due east of my capital, with clam/wheat/one sugar. I'd probably settle in between the wheat and clam, so both can be worked right away, while still claiming one sugar, and to be one tile away from Saladin's borders, to not annoy him too much. One south and one west of that are both legit alternatives though. To support that town, I'd build a work boat next and hopefully find Berlin for it to trade with. We'll probably actually build several boats to go map out the world and meet new people for trade / tech diffusion.

After that, I'd probably settle on top of the pig to the south, just to claim the spot. It's a slow settlement but the cottages will kick in eventually.

Then I'd settle a spot to the north. Where exactly will depend on where the iron pops, and how quickly we do so depends on how quickly Bismarck comes towards us. The marble will come within the capital's borders at some point anyway so we don't necessarily have to settle near it. If the copper is the only metal we have access to, then we'll ensure we claim it.

Carving things up this way means we'll almost certainly see Saladin settle that silk river spot just to the east of our capital, potentially contesting the marble too. I think we'll just have to live with that when it happens - we have enough happiness to give up that silk, and that location is just too slow and strategically unimportant to prioritise.

Our natural expansion spots are food rich, so it does seem like slavery's the way to go. Our first expansion can whip its monument straight away if we switch, which will cut quite a few turns off hooking up ivory. It will also help us get some military out a bit faster.

Building this many settlements and then also going for the Library also means we'll have a weak military. I'll probably lose how I always lose, to a well timed attack from the AI while I was being too greedy. Perhaps we should forego the Library, and tech to construction for ball courts and elephants? Certainly the more conservative play.

Perhaps the middle path is to give up the pigs spot to the south and get the copper earlier, so we can build axes much sooner. With slavery, our two expansion cities will be able to produce axes reasonably quickly, and building the Library behind a handful of axes will feel much safer. That spot only gives us duplicate resources anyway, and won't pay for itself for a while. Main downside is if Saladin takes both the pigs and and the silk spot, Lakamha will feel substantial cultural pressure in the mid game.

Your thoughts?
Yeah, boxing in Saladin without annoying him too much seems the best way to go. Sugar city in the location you mentioned and fish/pig after sounds good (I would have founded 1N of the pig but maybe I'm too adverse to giving up improved resources). The corn/fish to the west of your capital seems worthwhile too e.g. as a GP farm, but obviously there is no hurry to settle it. Do you plan another city near the river at the center of the continent? The coastal cities don't seem to grab all the cottage tiles.

That copper spot is... atrocious. But may be worth it to hold the choke against Bismarck alone, not to mention the Wine. That said, do you even need metal? If you don't plan to go on the offensive War Elephants and Catapults should tide you over the Middle Ages won't they? I don't think losing this spot would be the worst thing even if there's no iron elsewhere.

And Slavery seems like a no-brainer here, you have early happiness from Ivory, plus Sugar, Silk and Dye with Calendar, plus Wine and a high chance to trade for Spices from Saladin. And obviously many cities with 2+ food resources.

I'd also be tempted to go GLib. Saladin is quite close to you becoming research strong on your own terms seems like your best play to keep competing with the AIs, as you said expansion is not really an option against him. I remember Saladin as being quite the opportunistic attacker but also easy to make friends with if you share his religion, so let's hope that works out.
We're pretty sure Bismarck is just a few squares into the dark to the northwest, but don't want to risk losing that northern warrior / stop fogbusting
Is that the general direction where Bismarck's Warrior came from? I think it would be very much worth it, to take a look up there. If Bismarck is up there, he might be on a peninsula, with the only escape being through your lands.
Also, remember that in AdvCiv, you don't need to worry about fogbusting Desert, because no Barbarians can spawn on lands without at least 1 :food:. Also, fog-busting is nerfed in AdvCiv: instead of busting a 5x5 square around a unit, the only fogbusting is literally on the line of sight.

I'm inclined to do the maximum forward settle possible without annoying Saladin too much.
I agree. If you can get the Clam/Wheat/Sugar city, that'd be great. But I'm guessing that Saladin will be heading that way.
I think that it's important to secure that river land. Maybe you could settle where Qin has a unit in the First Cities picture, one north of the left Ivory. That city could share the dry Wheat from Lakamha. In the event that Saladin does start settling in that direction, then a possible city is actually one highlighted with a blue circle, 2 south of the Sheep. Not a great city by any means, but at least it would help cut off Saladin's expansion.

I'm actually not a huge fan of the Pig/Fish city because... where's the production? You would have to go with Slavery to get even basic infrastructure there. But then what? Cottages? You could only have 3, or 4 if you put one on the Dye (which... is that Jungle? I can't tell). I don't know how much use that city would have for :culture:; you could get more :culture: protection with a city by the Ivory, I think. And you also don't have Stone, so you couldn't build a bunch of Workshops to get out a Moai either within a reasonable amount of time, either. And, Workshops are weak for a long time. So you'd pretty much have to use the city just for the 3:commerce: Coast, but how would you get a Library up for that? I just don't like it.

That copper spot is... atrocious.
Is it though? I think that settling on the Hills/Plains Wine would be alright, actually. It'd be an important placement to choke the AIs. Just farm both Flood Plains for food. With the center tile, that's 6 surplus :food: that can support 3 Hills/Plains Mines. With Civil Service, you can stretch that to 8 surplus :food:, allowing for 18 base :hammers:. Not too shabby. Also, for fun, you can put a Fort on the Hills/Desert 1 south of the Copper; with that city, this would create a canal, allowing ships to travel between those two seas. That might be useful.
Copper is unnecessary for Holkans, but Axemen would be better, I think. Looking forward, an Elephant/Catapult army might be good for Bismarck.
You're right, I was too one track mind on founding with Copper in the first ring. I agree that the resource isn't that important and it becomes a decent city on the wine.
By the way, for that isthmus Copper city, the circled Hills/Desert tile would actually be pretty decent in late game with a Windmill: 1:food:/3:hammers:/4:commerce:, with a Levee, Replaceable Parts, and Electricity.
I've played from the start; screenshot after 55 turns attached, potential spoilers obscured. Not much of a contribution to this discussion because I moved the starting Warrior northeast – wasn't sure if the hills would fully block the line of sight – and spotted the Wheat. I guess your "southern" strategy will work better – assuming that Buddhism spreads soon.


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Interesting divergence already. I hadn't even considered moving onto the hill for the capital because I didn't look closely enough to see the hill 3E of the settler.

If you don't mind the debate over micro moves, can I unpick your reasoning for your opening:
  • why northeast for the warrior - isn't the wheat tile literally the only tile that he'd reveal? (Edit: I just re-read your post and saw that you weren't sure; so never mind this question). Compared to west or northwest, to give us some idea of how much land is out there. Potentially if there was a load of seafood out there, we may have even moved to settle them?
  • even after revealing the wheat, did your capital really need that much food? Not much plains or hills in the original spot at all for the +5 on the pigs/cows to feed. I think I would have also moved if I saw the wheat, especially given it would have allowed opening with a worker, but maybe the right play was to stay still and plan to use the wheat for the first town, knowing even on turn 1 that the first town would be coastal + wheat + clam at a minimum
  • you're not grabbing any of the ivory? In your game I think I would have settled Lakhamha either NE of the wheat or NE-E of it, and stolen the wheat from the capital.
  • why two settlers so quickly, what's the rush? Is it literally a rush with that copper? Are you going to make use of the marble? If I had settled Mutal how you had I still wouldn't have ended up like this at 55 turns, so keen to hear reasoning from someone who beats Emperor routinely.
  • Your teching seems a bit slower than mine - I take it you weren't as lucky with the huts?
  • Not concerned enough about barbs to leave the westernmost warrior on the peninsula and to push out the warrior in the capital?
  • Only 1 dollar in the bank - do you plan on saving up to ~20 to counter the common early negative random events, and if so when?
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If you don't mind the debate over micro moves, can I unpick your reasoning for your opening:
Happily. I hope it doesn't stop you from continuing with your game. I played quite fast, i.e. by intuition, and didn't consider much of what you've laid out (and what I'll lay out). I mainly wanted to, as you wrote, see how much of a divergence there would be.

Warrior, settler move;
I had looked at your first screenshot and thought: Mustn't give up the Pig, so settle in place or move east. Southeast looked good because of freshwater, hill defense, both Dye still onboard and still keeping one dry and one wet hill for production. (Didn't see the additional hill in the east either, and, come to think of it, hill defense in the capital is quite unimportant.) But can I justify sacrificing a turn for the rather small chance of getting another resource among 3 unrevealed tiles? Then I saw the Wheat in your next screenshot and throught I'd better stop reading if I want to play this start ... So I tried not to take that into account.

All four tiles that the Warrior can enter on turn 0 seem justifiable to me. Going northwest would've revealed Corn. Getting that instead of the Pig would also trade two hills for water though. So I think there'd have to be 2 resources revealed among ... 4 tiles to make that move worthwhile. Moving south[edit]northeast is a shot for 1 resource on 1 tile. In the east, more land for exploration is to be expected, and the (revealed) dry hill beckons for extra viewing range. Learning a little bit more about the west first sounds good, but, if we end up settling in place, then our borders will reveal two columns of tiles west of the Dye anyway.

When settling in place, the capital has just 2 improved resources until Calendar. Excess food can always (or at least in this case) be shared with another city when not growing or food-producing. After revealing the Wheat, moving onto one of the eastern hills, blindly, may have been worth considering too, keeping the Dye – all three sources – for some later city. Or even after moving the settler southeast, one could consider moving it further on the next turn after the Warrior has moved onto the dry hill, revealing Marble and 4 river tiles (2 forested) within reach of the dry hill. Hard to estimate how much a lost turn hurts.

Worker first:
The first worker has to hobble over a hill to get to the Wheat, AH is just 2 turns away then, and a Farm takes 6 turns to build. It's probably better to do the Cow Pasture first. Takes only 4 turns, and 3 production from Cow plus 1 from the city tile is enough for one extra production from Expansive trait. So the Wheat shouldn't really factor into the worker-first decision.

2nd city:
The Jungle makes it unlikely to find much else near the Clam + Wheat, especially Copper or Horse. Even the Ivory turns out to be Jungle-covered. (Though one can get the 1 happiness regardless of that.) I don't care that much for War Elephants either. K-Mod has nerfed them a bit (+10 cost), and, if I get off to a good start, I may well want to start an earlier war, and Catapult + Swords is fine too. I guess I kind of took Marble over Ivory.

I got half of Polytheism from a goody hut, so I was contemplating the Oracle. Hm. Actually, only got one third of Polytheism. So, on turn 55, I'm still 15 turns away from the Oracle prereqs. And I'm not sure if I want to delay Pottery for 15 more turns. That would be the first thing to decide if I continued. The capital should be able to build the Oracle in 7 turns with two Plains Hill Mines and Marble.

Fast expansion:
There's no particular rush. So long as BW (or AH) are still being researched, it could always be that the best spot for the 2nd city turns out to be one that the AI might settle too. That's the only point of urgency that comes to mind here ... Hm. In a quick test, Saladin settled toward me when I grew to size 3, blocking the Ivory (screenshot attached). Only slightly overlaps with my Marble spot, but, if I had settled there first, it might well have dissuaded Saladin. So perhaps it's a valid intuition in general to expand fast when there is a foreign capital nearby. I should've chopped the settler though. Would've been almost as fast as Sal then. And getting those extra tile yields earlier is also desirable.

The Marble city immediately works the Silk Forest. Together with the city tile yield, that's +1 food (2 consumed), +3 production, +2 commerce off the bat. 1 gold for maintenance. Growing the capital to size 3 instead gives me +2 food, +1 production from the Wheat Farm. Would've allowed me to build the settler faster; though I couldn't have improved all three resources by the time that settler production would've started.

I had pretty much explored all I wanted to explore by the time the second Warrior finished. Not a good reason to delay city growth; I did train two more Warriors eventually, at least one in the capital. That may have biased me toward a settler at size 2; impatience. Still, in your game, settler at size 2 would look pretty reasonable to me. Size 4 or 5 doesn't seem economically sound.

I chopped my first Settler when it was almost finished. Didn't want to sink most of the chop production into Warriors, so I produced another Settler right away. The Copper city also had a Flood Plains to work. On turn 55, I'm still catching up on worker builds.

Fogged west:
I hadn't noticed. It's just one tile though. At this time, there should still be plenty of tiles where Barbarians could appear instead. Also, AI explorers have mostly kept it revealed, a Chinese Galley is headed there, and, in 6 turns, my capital will expand its borders. The borders will then also cover the Marble, so settling near that was unnecessary at least as far as the Oracle is concerned.

Tech speed:
Probably mostly the maintenance from the early Copper city. Adds ~3 to maintenance overall. Also no trade route in the capital. (But the two other cities are connected by a river.) And you're working a 3-commerce Clam. Just Polytheism progress from huts, perhaps still to be redeemed.

A worker will be at the Marble tile next turn, so I wanted to get Masonry, my latest tech, a.s.a.p.
I could do binary research for the next tech. I don't normally bother with that, but, with random events, I really should. When a tech is somewhat urgent, then I think I'd always go to 0 gold at crunch time. The only event I had was a destroyed Pasture. I don't think there was a mitigation option.

Overall, it may also play a role that I wasn't planning on using Slavery, true to my heroic (and lazy) er... idiom.


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Oh I'll definitely continue, was just interested in the quite different moves that you're pulling.

My biggest takeaway from all that is to seriously consider slotting settler into my build earlier. It's very rare for me to be building a settler before size 3; perhaps I'm conditioned by the heavier/faster barbs in immortal k-mod.
An up and down session ahead.

We leave off having established our initial expansions into fairly good spots, and about to decide where to found our third city.

Initial successes

We settle Chichen Itza at the eastern clam/wheat/sugar spot to partially box in Saladin. Turns out it can trade with Mecca straight away, so it's not as much of an immediate drain on the economy as it could have been.

A few turns later, Saladin settles Baghdad next to our ivory, which will deny us access to it. Oh well.

We end up building two more work boats and a galley in the initial cities to explore. As suspected, Germany is up the northwest and has very limited land, making the expansion north to copper a higher priority, so we settle Uxmal at 1200BC on the wine. Two cottages go up on those flood plains and it's soon pulling in pretty nice yields.

Qin's worst enemy is no longer Mansa, so we open borders with him. We research pottery and polytheism, and make a few minor trades to the various AIs, and obtain writing, priesthood and masonry this way, and start researching aesthetics. Iron is revealed just outside of Chichen Itza's fat cross, so we will have access in due course.

We fail-build Stonehenge for a few turns and get 50 gold out of it to fuel the research. We then build oracle without any real expectations of getting it, and not too fussed if we get the fail gold, but do manage to chop it out at 775BC. We then had a tricky choice between what techs to get out of it, with the main options being metal casting (the most expensive at ~630), code of laws (~430 but would found Confucianism), maths (~350 but unlocks useful techs) and aesthetics (would have only saved ~200 beakers). We decide to found Confucianism, to get a bit of quick culture before we convert to Buddhism to appease Saladin (it had just spread to Lakamha). We trade code of laws to several AIs, and get back alphabet, monarchy, iron working and meditation.

The southern fish/pigs/dyes town is still available at this point so we also settle it.

Setbacks and a near-death experience

It's time to start on the Great Library. As these things go, two turns after I build a library in the capital, a hurricane strikes, and wiped it off the map. Our people pick up the pieces and start again. Losing those two scientist slots hurt the tech rate for Aesthetics massively.

Around the same time, a barbarian galley pops out in the eastern seas, pillages Chichen Itza's clam, and blockades it for several turns, denying me crucial income when my economy was tanking already from the new cities. I whip out a galley, and it promptly loses its defensive fight against the barb galley, allowing the barb galley to promote twice and become very inefficient to kill. Extremely inconvenient fight to have lost.

Our explorers have now mapped out a fair chunk of the main continent, as well as numerous sizeable but largely featureless islands to the west, and found a fledgling watery Babylon kingdom. He won't open borders with us, but does trade us part-Aesthetics, and later, part-Literature. My capital is finishing off its second library at this point, and its people are enjoying it so much that we get it to start its third and biggest ever. Even though Babylon obviously got literature several turns before us, we figure that he's probably not building the Library if he was willing to trade it to us.

Confucianism had been founded in Chichen Itza, and we had spread it north to Uxmal, and had stayed in neutral religion for a while to get the culture out. We notice that Saladin's military strength is creeping up to around 1.8 of ours, so as Chichen Itza's culture was about to reach its third ring, we convert to the way of the fat orange man (no, not Trump) to appease the Arabians.

Around this time, Egypt demands Monarchy from us, and we happily give it up. He also converts to Buddhism, so hopefully that fixes relations for a while.

Then, we see something that almost causes us to forfeit the match - Bismarck had moved a swordsman, horse archer and some misc troops next to our border. I was about to lose the same way I always do again, and wasn't looking forward to writing that up here. We panic-trade him code of laws for 110 gold and +1 relations, hit end turn with no expectations, and are surprised when no war sound results...

Bismarck turned around. Turns out that panic trade was enough to appease him for now. Close one!

To close off the dark chapter, we bring an exploring galley back, intending it to transport our next settler out west. A couple of barb galleys sail up from the Egyptian lands to the south, and I lose another defensive galley fight. So another double promoted barb galley and unpromoted barb galley in my waters. This happening once is tough, twice is absolutely frustrating. We now have no galleys on the western side, and it will take at least a trireme to wrestle the seas back.

Hopefully another upswing ahead

On the plus side, it's now 75AD, our core cities are well developed, and we will finish the Great Library next turn:

Even without the library, our teching is in a solid spot. We've recently researched currency, and traded for metal casting and construction. We should be reasonably comfortable tech leaders once the Library and national epic kick in:

We will get a great person in about 3 turns. ~60% chance of prophet, ~40% of scientist. Either way, I'm sure we'll get an academy up soon enough.

Germany is nice and isolated on our northern peninsula, a prime target for a medieval war:

Alternatively, perhaps we could take Saladin before he potentially build the Palace and makes a later war against him impossible:

Or, we could give our sea legs a stretch and establish a pretty substantial water empire out west:

Our military is essentially non existent (very typical for me), however our diplomatic situation is in pretty good shape, with Qin also having converted to Buddhism.

So many options for what next - how would you play it?
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The land on the islands seems not great, on the other hand Germany has some decent production from what I can tell. It's probably best to take them out asap so you can make use of it. Shift Uxmal into production and get Catapults going and then into Maces later when CS + Machinery are researched? I don't know how feasible that is to gain an advantage vs Bismarck's tech rate.

Where is the currently building settler going? Fill the silk/iron/marble gap?
I'd say to take out Germany because, if you don't, they'll be coming your way soon enough.
My biggest takeaway from all that is to seriously consider slotting settler into my build earlier. It's very rare for me to be building a settler before size 3; perhaps I'm conditioned by the heavier/faster barbs in immortal k-mod.
When building a settler at size 2, on K-Mod Emperor, I think there's still enough time for additional Warriors afterwards – or for something better if the 2nd city claims a resource. On Immortal maybe not. Player count 7 vs. 8 is also a factor, but, certainly, two settlers before a third Warrior wouldn't work. I'll try dialing the early Barbarians up a bit again. Producing Warriors while growing to size 3 shouldn't feel bad.

Double-promoted Barbarian Galleys ... Is that counting the Disorganized promotion (-10% strength) from K-Mod, or does a single successful attack, slightly against the odds, really provide two levels up? Perhaps should've picked Metal Casting with Oracle in the light of those problems. Not sure how foreseeable they were.

Fwiw, in my game, I found that the AI built the Oracle in 1000 BC (beating me by 1 turn because I forgot to get that 2nd Mine built in time).

Bismarck's mock charge: The impact of relations should be very small once war is imminent. It increases again when war has been imminent for some time – to avoid situations in which the AI attacks despite having been Pleased/ Friendly for some time. So perhaps a little nudge toward peace was enough in this case, or Bismarck had been slow to get his stack going. I'll tweak that time factor a bit. I feel that this game would've been more interesting had Bismarck declared war. As it is, with the no-military gambit fully paying off, you seem to be in a very strong position already.

I suppose Saladin will trade Ivory now that's he's taken yours.

Hurricane: Switching to Caste System could've helped maybe. (Not Spiritual this time of course.)
Short one. We trade drama to Bismarck in return for him converting to Buddhism, and we hope that means we're safe for now while we build a bit of military. Our capital finishes the Library and we settle the Great Prophet that pops. The capital is then hit by espionage that renders it useless for the short term (and I forgot to report in the last update that Uxmal suffered the same fate a handful of turns ago), so no we're not safe. A few turns later, Bismarck declares war and walks in with 3 swords, a horse archer and misc units, and we give up the game.

I did load and experiment with a slightly different line, bringing back a fogbusting warrior and building walls in Uxmal first, and still lost the city in that version. I did take down almost his entire army though so doing that does salvage the game, but I don't like playing that way. So here's the save from the end of the previous session report in case anyone wants to continue with it.

I won't be posting any new games for the immediate future, will refine my greedy play a bit and perhaps post an interesting game once I get more competitive at emperor or even immortal again.


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Playing from that AD 95 save, I see Bismarck's stack entering Cologne after 3 turns. At that point, 4 Warriors can still be moved into Uxmal, and there's enough gold going around to upgrade them. Uxmal itself can also produce an Axeman in time by running a food deficit. I guess you didn't notice the stack that early? I play with "show friendly moves." When I played for a few more turns, Bismarck actually dallied in Cologne for 4 turns before moving out with a stack of 9 units. I would have had 10 units ready in Uxmal, but he turned back immediately. Perhaps because of the uptick in my power curve, especially from upgrading the Warriors. In AD 375, he still hasn't attacked and – let me check – has given up his war plan.

My quick build-up was fueled by a Golden Age. I think that would've been the best use of the Prophet regardless of Bismarck's plans. There were two civics to change (HR, OR) and some important production orders (Trireme, Lighthouses, other buildings, Buddhist Missionaries). And two fresh specialists from the Great Library. Another day-one change was to put the full espionage weight on Bismarck (even if we see him only as a likely war target). And canceled OB with Mansa Musa the Despised, worst enemy of 3 civs.
Bismarck declares war and walks in with 3 swords, a horse archer and misc units, and we give up the game.
Doesn't sound like that game is lost. You still have an Iron source. Can't expect to recapture the city soon, but preventing Bismarck from advancing further seems doable, and there's still a decent city spot right in the middle (1W of the Silk) and any number of coastal city sites. So it shouldn't be an untenable position (one more mainland city than Bismarck) while you build up Catapults. I haven't seen that game state of course, so perhaps there's something I'm missing.
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Yes you're right, prophet for GA is probably better to shore up obvious short term weakness. Game is certainly salvageable knowing what we know now.

I'll turn on show friendly moves, it'll slow my play down at least, which will be a good thing. I frequently miss little things like the AI being willing to buy resources from me.

Re the galley comment a while back, I believe in AdvCiv, because of the -10% malus that the barb galleys get, if they do happen to win then they get enough xp for the double promotion. I'm definitely for the -10% malus, it's just devastating when you lose not once but twice.
I won't be posting any new games for the immediate future, will refine my greedy play a bit and perhaps post an interesting game once I get more competitive at emperor or even immortal again.

Oh no, that's a shame. :(
These have been very entertaining to read, even if you don't win them or if you make mistakes, or if you think that they're not "interesting" games.
Re the galley comment a while back, I believe in AdvCiv, because of the -10% malus that the barb galleys get, if they do happen to win then they get enough xp for the double promotion. I'm definitely for the -10% malus, it's just devastating when you lose not once but twice.
You're right, I've tried attacking a Combat II non-Barbarian Galley as a test and got 5 XP. I've been meaning to reduce the XP multiplier on the attack from 4 to 3 (and leave the modifier on the defense at 2). Just so that less XP is awarded overall – so that the losing side in combat is punished a little less. In theory, the +100% XP when attacking could lead to interesting decisions about forgoing defensive modifiers, especially against Animals and (other) Barbarians; but I think higher survival odds are almost always more important to players. 50% higher XP on the attack would still make attacking preferable when all other factors are essentially equal.

Another minor balance change that this game brought to mind is to make Triremes available a little earlier. It would be nice to make them available much earlier, but I think Sailing, Bronze Working and Metal Casting are the only tech requirements that really make sense – the metallurgic techs for the ram. Sailing and BW already do rather too much, so I could only see myself reduce the cost of MC a bit (currently 450). The main problem with cheaper MC is that it shortens the path to Machinery. That's already an expensive tech (700), even compared with MC, so shifting cost from MC to Machinery is undesirable. The only relevant path continuing from Machinery is arguably the path to Optics. Optics could be made a bit more expensive (is at 600). Machinery itself becoming available earlier doesn't seem like a balance problem, but Crossbowman, Watermill and Windmill may look a bit out of place if they appear too early. (Windmill comes too early anyway.) So, I'm thinking of reducing the MC cost by 50 or 100 and maybe increasing Optics by 50. Or perhaps it's not worth the stir.

Oh, and another thing I noticed in this game and in crullerdonut's game is an AdvCiv bug that causes random events of unmet civs to be announced. Seems like BtS will also do that, but only for events that involve multiple civs. I'll fix both.
Another minor balance change that this game brought to mind is to make Triremes available a little earlier. It would be nice to make them available much earlier, but I think Sailing, Bronze Working and Metal Casting are the only tech requirements that really make sense – the metallurgic techs for the ram.
I don't think that the precise time-period of when things were invented IRL is all that important; in my view, how the game element fits into gameplay is what's more important. For example, does it really make sense for wine-making to wait until the advent of Monarchy, when IRL, wine was being made c. 5000 BC? Nonetheless, I think it's good to keep the Winery unlocked at that later date, due to the Happiness incentive.

On that note, how about unlocking Triremes at Iron Working? At least with my style of play, I often don't get around to researching (or trading for) Iron Working for quite some time, unless I happen to lack Copper or if I'm in a Jungly area. But I think that the time that I end up getting Iron Working, would be a pretty reasonable time for Triremes to become available. I agree that, as it is, Triremes probably come too late to be very useful.

As for Windmills: while Machinery might get unlocked a bit early compared to the IRL development of the Windmill (c. 9th century in Iran), I think that it's important to keep them there because they're the only way to get :food: out of Hills. It's a bit of a shame that the original developers didn't make a Terrace Improvement which would give :food: but no :commerce: on Hills. Perhaps they were thinking of doing so: check out this unused icon:
zz07-04.png (or maybe it was to be used with irrigation somehow). Imagine if such Terraces, or hill-farms, came with Mathematics and gave -1 :hammers:, +1 :food:, and another +1:food: with irrigation like Farms (and being able to spread irrigation with Civil Service, and +1 :food: with Biology). If such hill-farms were available earlier, then Windmills could come in as an alternative sometime later.
But what we ended up with was the only Hill-source of :food: being the Windmill. Since it's important to give the option to players to scrape some :food: out of Hills relatively early in the case of low :food:, it's important to unlock Windmills relatively early compared to their real-life invention.
And I won't drone on about it, but since we're on the topic... :mischief: I still say that K-mod-style Lumbermills (only +1 :commerce:) should be available at Machinery like the rest of their Mill brethren, with their +1:hammers: coming with Guilds alongside the Workshop +1:hammers:, in order to make Lumbermills more useful. And if you want to talk about real-life/game correspondence, reciprocating saw-mills were in use as early as the 3rd century AD, with the Hierapolis sawmill.

Oh, and another thing I noticed in this game and in crullerdonut's game is an AdvCiv bug that causes random events of unmet civs to be announced.
Now that you mention it, I did notice that happening. I didn't think much of it, though, since it couldn't be too huge of an information leak. But still, those announcements about the most cultured/powerful/wealthiest civilizations in the world are careful not to reveal unmet civilizations, so it's probably good to keep it consistent.
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