Please Help Me With My First Attempt at Emperor

MPorciusCatoCivver

Chief Windbag
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Aug 14, 2023
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Hi,

So now I'm climbing the ladder to Emperor. I found out, lol, Emperor is much more difficult than I anticipated. I'm now having hurdles and need the Civfanatics' experts' help.

So I chose Egypt because of early good UU and good civ traits. I don't regret this choice. Got three settler factores runnings, tried to build Colossus but no luck with Wonders now. Found the Zulu, and now I'm at war with them. I'm affraid I'll need to tackle them piecemeal.

I want you so far, to analyze this save. I need you to tell me where exactly I need to change.

Still no luck with researching Republic, also AI maintains a "relative" (but not total) tech lead, managed to trade some techs but I'm in full war production mode, want to blitz the Zulu and steal some techs from them. It'll take some three wars to finish them, I'm affraid.

Please, could you give a look? Civ3 Complete save, btw. Please help me all the way you can, it's really my first time after a decade playing Emperor.
 

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I donnot mean to be rude, but this seems to be a collection of terrible ideas. The best approach is to restart at the beginning, because you commited to making many severe mistakes.

Early wars are generally a bad idea, but starting an early war against the Zulu with their UU is particularly bad. Out of 8 civs your portion of population is 13% which is near the average of 12.5%. The Zulu have built the pyramids and have 22%. No wonder that you are having a hard time.

Before starting your first war many prerequisites should be fullfilled.

1. Settle all freely available land. You could have founded about twice the amount of cities that you have, depending on how much area per town you desire.
2. Build about 1 worker per town. You do need workers, not military production.
3. Research writing and open embassies so you can form military alliances. Never fight a war alone when there is the chance for sharing the burden of war.
3. Research republic, switch immediately.
4. Increase the amount of workers to 2, every settlement should have properly improved tiles and they should grow relatively homogenously.
5. Build aqueducts where needed and grow to at least size 7, then grow further at a reduced pace due to city size.
6. Build the FP where sensible. In this instance Memphis could have been a good choice as it needs no aqueduct and has plenty potential.
7. Build courthouses where corruption is high and baracks in the core.
8. Start building up a military in towns with barracks. Build up to 2 spearmean or pikemen, plenty horsemen or knights and have no military else, maybe except for some naval vessels for exploration.
9. Make sure to have embassies with all known civs, by this time you should have met all or almost all of them. Exploration needs to happen long before war.
10. Declare war on the target, reduce the research slider to zero for some high gtp and use the gtp to make every every tribe join your war, then readjust the research slider to your needs.
11. Wait several turns so AIs on both sides of the war lose a reasonably amount of units.
12. Now start to actively engage in the war. Use your more than 50 knights to conquer as many settlements as you can and donnot waver. This war does not end before the end of your enemy.

With proper preparation wars can be ended reasonably soon.
 
OK thanks for the tips. I know that trying to build a Wonder was a terrible idea, still I had three settler pumps and decided to make use of the good Egyptian UU.

I still think I could win this war, but then, I think I'll restart another map using these priorities and ideas. This way I'll be able to win in just one go. lol Emperor is hard.
 
OK thanks for the tips. I know that trying to build a Wonder was a terrible idea, still I had three settler pumps and decided to make use of the good Egyptian UU.
The UU is not good at larger maps. Try the chinese or the arabs. Both have an UU based on the knight with movement 3.
I still think I could win this war,
You could. Decrease the research slider for more gtp, borrow a few gold from the hittites, create an embassy and sign an alliance.
lol Emperor is hard.
You did have some poor luck as well. 13% of population means that you performed not as bad as it may seem. But the Zulu with pyramids are a though nut to crack.
 
Egyptian city names are all wrong in this game. I mean, with Cleopatra, I mean, this "Egypt" looks like a nice late style Ptolemaic jumble, with Greek names and a Greek elite, but nothing to do with an Egypt of like 2000 years before Alexander.

I mean why nobody got this. The city names are all Greek, they're Greek styled names reported by Herodotus or Strabo, but not the actual Egyptian city names. I still think they didn't correct this in Civ6, lol.

I'm trying a new attempt and will report on it.
 
In addition to what justanick said, I need to point out a few basic mistakes:
  • Never, ever use the governor! Do you see, what he's doing to your core cities, especially the capital?
    thebes.png


    Thebes has an entertainer, even though it would be happy without! Wasting a lot of production, gold and growth! You can't be successful at emperor, if your most precious cities are managed as poorly, as the governor does...
    If necessary, use the lux slider, not entertainers!
  • Why do you irrigate grassland and sugar in Despotism? Read the civilopedia about the so-called "despotism penalty": "every tile that is producing 3 or more of something (food, shields, gold) is producing 1 less". As you can see, the irrigated and non-irrigated grassland both produce 2 food:
    irrigation.png

    That means, the irrigation is completely wasted, as is your Golden Age!! Which brings us to the next point...
  • Don't start your Golden Age in Despotism! Wait until you have switched to Republic. In Despotism, you are wasting most of the benefit of the GA, due to the penalty!
    And by the way: it is already 90 BC, and you are still in Despotism?! Read the War Academy article about the "Republic Slingshot". With a very good start position like this one, you should be a Republic before 1000 BC.
  • Your city placement is too wide. Especially Byblos: why is it one tile off the river??! Always found on a river, if you can. Gives extra commerce and you don't need to build a 100s aqueduct!
  • Early war based on a UU like the Egyptian Chariot is possible, even against a tough neighbor like the Zulus, if you take the above points into account: settle tighter (and grow bigger... why in 90 BC your first-ring towns are still size 1-2? They could be size 12 by now!), switch to Republic around 1000 BC, and only then attack the Zulus, starting your GA in Rep (and theirs in Despotism, or even better: in Anarchy...).
I'm going to play this start to 90 BC with the above tips to give you an illustration of what I mean.
 
Hi Lanzelot, thanks for the tips.

I got around a new start. I tried to beeline for Republic, still it takes way too damn long I mean. Even with 80% research, it's sitll 30 turns away and you gotta research all the stuff before it which also takes long. Not too much luck with the Philo beeline.

Zulu Impis are tough but not invincible. In my previous French Monarch game they were an easy target for my Swordsmen. A swords rush can easily take down Impis, but with 2 attack units, like horsies, war chariots, and archers, you need more and more.

Also Zulus are unusually strong. That's why I was thinking of limited war.

About irrigating grassland: yeah I know it's lost in Despotism. Still I was thinking about Republic, I was researching it by the time I posted the save and decided to abandon the game.

About city placement: yeah, generally, I stick with CxxxC as a personal rule. I also promised myself not to use settlers to increase the range of my units and artillery with artificial outposts, at least not before reaching Deity.

I got the GA by using the unit. Yeah, I shouldn't, but how would I be supposed to fight??

In the end, you're probably right. Egyptian UU, like Hittite UU, sucks. It's better to do a swords rush, or to play as civs with later, stronger and more mobile UU's.
 
About the "real" names of Egyptian cities, you know, the sort of thing Egyptians used to call Egyptian things before the Greeks came along.

Memphis - Men Nefer
Alexandria - Raqote (Middle Egyptian name)
Rosetta - Khito
Buto - Per-Wadjet
Pithom - Per Atum
Heliopolis - Iunu
Pelusium - Per Amum
Damietta - Tamiat
Bubastis - Per Bast
Tanis - Djanet
Elephantine - Abu
Hieramcopolis - Nekhen

I'm using Wiki as a fast source but I remember reading a detailed academic article about this - we know this because in the remaining hieroglyphs up to 3000 BC the names on the right are always used because they were writing in actual Egyptian (lol). Most of the Egyptian city names in history books are actually outsourced to Greek Geographers who called them the way the Hellenized late elite called them, not the actual Egyptians who didn't speak Greek. These names actually longed in up to the end of Roman domination, they were just employed by the common folk who didn't speak Greek. For most of its history they were also called that way.

I hope somebody notices and corrects this. I like this sort of flavour that added historical accuracy brings in.
 
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Lanzelot, as always, has some good tips. Additionally:

1. Don't make units in cities without barracks, unless they are artillery type units or you plan on using them for scouting (or pillaging).

2. Don't go to war until you have filled in up to the enemy borders. That land between Thebes and Hieraconpolis? That should have all gotten settled and workers started to develop the land before declaring war.

3. Also, generally speaking it's more efficient to build marketplaces and aqueducts before war than during or after. A war chariot makes a decent unit to have an early golden age, since with artillery type support it can fairly easily trigger a golden age.

4. Cities like Memphis and Thebes don't need defense. In fact, if Thebes doesn't have units in it, and you only have one opponent, any units they send on a ship will beeline towards Thebes. This way you can leave a small stack of units outside of it, preferably with artillery type unit support, and kill anything that lands (it's also possible to block off more powerful tiles from AIs landing on). This way, you don't need defensive units around there.

In general, only border cities need defended.

5. Not having all the contacts holds you back. If this is a continents map, having suicide curraghs to find the other continet and meet everyone would help.

6. As Lanzelot says, you also don't want to use the governor ever, for a variety of reasons. What works out as more powerful lies in using "emphasize production" (not commerce... production). This way, when a high food city grows, it can pick up extra shields upon growth. A city with 8 shields at size 4 about to grow and 3 or more surplus food, and an unused forest will use that forest upon growth, WITH emphasize production on, and then produce 10 shields instead of 8 shields on that turn.

7. As justanick said, you are drastically short on workers. Those plains and desert really need irrigated (not mined as I see one of your workers doing).
 
Forgot about the suicide curraghs. Really. They're neat.

And I used Governors the same way I automated workers. Laziness. I don't want to micro-manage once I'm past a certain size, though I would definitely think, early on all the micro-managing makes the difference. But Civ3 is a game that can easily drive you crazy with micro-management lol.
 
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You can't be successful at emperor, if your most precious cities are managed as poorly, as the governor does...
Actually you can. It is only emperor. But obviously it is a terrible idea to use the governor.
Hi Lanzelot, thanks for the tips.

I got around a new start. I tried to beeline for Republic, still it takes way too damn long I mean. Even with 80% research, it's sitll 30 turns away and you gotta research all the stuff before it which also takes long. Not too much luck with the Philo beeline.
This means that you should spend some thinking on the time before leaving despotism. Proper settling and using 3/3 warriors as military police go a long way and where corruption is high you may also use scientist experts.

At emperor and large maps techs cost 40 times their base cost. Alphabet(5)+Writing(8)+Code of Law(10)+Philo(6) do therefore cost 1160 beakers and if you start with Alphabet it is only 960 beakers. At an assumed average rate of 40/3=13.3333 beakers per turn this equals to turn 87 - 825 BC or turn 72 - 1200 BC.

The best tribe in my opinion are the Iroquois. They start with Alphabet and Poterry, they have the 2 best traits and they also have the best UU for early warfare, which makes waiting for knights pointless if not counterproductive.
I also promised myself not to use settlers to increase the range of my units and artillery with artificial outposts, at least not before reaching Deity.
Donnot worry about the step from Demigod to Deity. It is mild. It is the step from Emperor to Demigod that is steep.
I got the GA by using the unit. Yeah, I shouldn't, but how would I be supposed to fight?
You are not supposed to fight early, you are supposed to play nice until war is convenient. On large maps this takes more time than on tiny maps. There you may be forced to fight with bowmen or even mere warriors.
Don't make units in cities without barracks, unless they are artillery type units or you plan on using them for scouting (or pillaging).
In ultra early wars not waiting for barracks can make sense. For barracks to pay of in terms of hitpoints you need to spend 120 shields on military units after completing the barracks. In an ultra early war you may just want to spam 3/3 warriors. This does however not really apply to large maps with only 8 tribes.
 
Thanks all for the input.

So the two other things that were very important and I'm going to implement too are these:

a - suicide curraghs and galleys.
b - use Governor to emphasize production and only after later moment in game.
c - beeline to Philo then Republic.
 
a - suicide curraghs and galleys.
In the beginning you also need 2 curraghs to simply explore the coast of your own continent.
c - beeline to Philo then Republic.
For optimum effect you want Code of Law(10) first so that you can pick Republic(28) as your bonus tech. Else you delay republic by further ~30 turns. You donnot want this to happen.
 
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I'm using Wiki as a fast source but I remember reading a detailed academic article about this - we know this because in the remaining hieroglyphs up to 3000 BC the names on the right are always used because they were writing in actual Egyptian (lol). Most of the Egyptian city names in history books are actually outsourced to Greek Geographers who called them the way the Hellenized late elite called them, not the actual Egyptians who didn't speak Greek. These names actually longed in up to the end of Roman domination, they were just employed by the common folk who didn't speak Greek. For most of its history they were also called that way.

I hope somebody notices and corrects this. I like this sort of flavour that added historical accuracy brings in.
I can understand you very well. Actually, the problem is even more fubar than that: we don't only have the "Greek names of the Egyptian cities", we have the "English transliteration of the Greek names of the Egyptian cities"... :D
But I guess in a 21st century computer game, neither hieroglyphs nor Greek letters would have been practicable...

Unfortunately, we don't have to go all the way back to ancient Egyptian or Greek/Hellenistic history to find incorrectly named cities in Civ3: the names of most German cities are also incorrect, and these are names that are used even today, 2023!
For example, the cities which are known to everybody here under the names München and Nürnberg, are called Munich and Nuremberg. And then there are also misspellings like my hometown Heidelberg (which is also known in the English-speaking world under the name Heidelberg) is spelled Heidelburg in the game. A mistake that could have been easily avoided by the game programmers, if they had simply bothered to look it up in Wikipedia (or in an atlas, if Wikipedia did not yet exist in 2001...)

So I am completely with you! And I am sure that people from many countries/nations will have a valid reason to complain about the historically incorrectness (or simply bone-headed misspelling) of their city names! E.g. the French, the Dutch, the Spanish, the Italian or the Russian, and let's not even start thinking about the correct names of Indian, Japanese or Chinese cities...! :mischief:
 
Europa Barbarorum, for Rome Total War, is proof that a mod can have diehard, nearly complete historical accuracy and still be very fun. That said, I'm not saying Civ3 should have anything besides perhaps a hypothetical mod, but the developers should work on a better, more extensive name list for the next Civ iterations.
 
I'm going to perhaps attempt to post a better, historically accurate namelist for certain civs in two or three months once time allows me.

The annoying thing is that the city list in this game is really bad and short for certain civs. Germany comes to mind, but it's annoying to have "New xxx" cities all around when they could have taken just a better look at the map. lol But yeah not judging or whatever.

It is not that hard to say, for the Egyptians, to write a new file name with an extensive historical list based on the commonly accepted transliterations of hieroglyphs. I'm also not saying it should have Greek or Demotic or hieroglyphic characters lol. No, actually, just some normal transliterations.
 
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For optimum effect you want Code of Law(10) first so that you can pick Repulic(28) as your bonus tech. Else you delay republic by further ~30 turns. You donnot want this to happen.
Right! -- But exactly that happened to me, when I played MPorciusCatoCivver's start position...! :wallbash:
It looks like, this start is not as easy as I first thought?! The main problem is that the capital has no food bonus, and it takes quite a while to set up the second town as a 4-turner: it needs a temple in addition to the granary, and a worker (which also has to be provided by the capital, so takes a while before it becomes available) for improving tiles at the opposite ends of the BFC... :(
(With pre-knowledge of the map, I could have walked the initial settler 3 tiles to the spot with 2 cows, but that felt like cheating, I wanted to play the game under as close conditions to MPorciusCatoCivver game as possible, as otherwise the results cannot be compared.)

Anyway, here is what happened:
  • In the beginning, I tried to set up the core quickly and dash to Republic. When I finished Writing, Persia demanded that and, when I refused, declared war, which provided some welcome war happiness that sped up research. I also prioritized roads to the two reachable lux resources. I got an SGL for Code of Laws. At first I wanted to use it for the Pyramids, but that would have triggered a very early despotic GA (Egypt is religious and industrious, both of which are covered by the Pyramids), and I wanted to avoid that, so I took the Oracle instead.
  • Indeed I managed to reach Philosophy in 950 BC (which is actually quite close to the 1000 BC I predicted in my previous post), selected Republic and expected to revolt right that interturn... --- but nothing happened!! No free tech! Someone on the other continent must have popped Philosophy from a hut!? I can't remember ever missing the slingshot in an Emperor game with a start location as good as this one! This of course was a major blow to the initial growth phase. I hand-researched Republic and revolted around 500 BC.
  • Meanwhile I had also completed my war preparations: a road up north to Zululand, a first wave of archers and a number of chariots and horsemen. So I attacked in 470 BC, took the first town with archers (wanted to avoid the GA for as long as possible, as my core towns were still rather small, size 5 - 7), but then both spearmen that protected my stack were killed by Impi (the Zulus use Impis with an A-value of 1 as attackers??) and the next defender in the stack was a chariot (why not an archer?!), which actually defeated the Impi, so I had the GA a bit earlier than I wanted: 450 BC
  • This of course allowed for a big army to be assembled quickly, but the downside was, that I stopped building settlers & workers: during GA you want your cities as large as possible, to get the most benefit.
  • Initially, the war proceeded quickly, 3 Zulu towns taken by 330 BC, the 4th in 230 BC, but then my progress stalled, as a) I reached the well-defended capital and b) Intombe flipped back to the Zulus (they had built Artemis and acquired quite a bit of culture), and I first had to retake it to re-open the road for reinforcements.
  • Then the war dragged on longer than I wanted, with an unsuccessful assault on Zimbabwe, and war weariness started to become a problem. I had to raise the lux slider to 70%, and in the end even to 80%. But I did not want to make peace, before I had taken the two main objectives: Zimbabwe with the Temple of Artemis and their dyes resource.
  • Zimbabwe finally fell in 10 AD, flipped back in 70 AD (while I was waiting for a last missing road segment through the jungle to be completed, so that my chariots could finally pass it on the way towards the dyes town...) The dyes were then taken in 130 AD and Zimbabwe was retaken in 170 AD, at which point I made peace and got two more towns in the peace deal.
So this shows, that an early war with chariots can be successful: I acquired 8 Zulu towns, another lux resource and Artemis. The Zulus are now weakened so much, that they will not pose any threat anymore in this game. Artemis has a very nice synergy with the Oracle I got from the SGL (two free happy faces in every city!), which together with 3 lux resources will allow me now to take up fast research again. I have three turns left on Chivalry, and the fighting with the Zulus netted my two Armies, which I left empty so far in anticipation of Knight-Armies. With two Knight-Armies and lots of chariots and horsemen for upgrade, I will then be able to quickly capture the rest of my continent (Osmania and Persia). But even though the strategy was "successful", this game also clearly shows that it was not the best strategy for this map! As justanick already pointed out, on this map (with all neighbors being relatively far away), it would have been much better to first concentrate on filling and improving the available space and then engaging the Zulus much later, perhaps even with Knights against Impis.

Another noteworthy point of this game was, that I was quite lucky with my scientific friends: when I reached the Middle Age in 290 BC, I first made peace with the Persians (who gave me 2 of their towns in the process... very competent strategy by the AI: declaring war on me, then sending warriors and archers in piecemeal from the other end of the continent all the way to me, just to get them slaughtered and then giving me two towns to I would make peace again... :crazyeye:), and then gifted the last ancient age techs to them and to the Ottomans. One got Monotheism, the other one Engineering, so I researched Feudalism as fast as I could (during GA I had built a handful of libraries in my core cities), and then traded for both. Now it only remains to complete Chivalry, and this will probably be enough for a domination victory before 1000 AD (provided the Lighthouse gets built by the Osmans, who started it quite early, and provided the other continent is safely reachable by galleys + Lighthouse. Unfortunately, I have completely neglected the overseas exploration so far, something I would not do in a normal game).

So with a bit of luck, I think that domination victory can be achieved around 600 AD, despite the fact that this strategy clearly was not the best in the given circumstances. Attached is the 170 AD .sav, if you want to try your hands at it, and a 90 BC screenshot of my empire for comparison with your attempt. Note that my first-ring cities are much bigger (size 6-8 as opposed to size 1-2 in your case) and much closer to the capital and therefore much more productive, which is reflected in the overall progress: 2 turns left on Feudalism, as opposed to 3 turns left to Republic. Second ring is already started, but of course still far from complete.

Egypt_attempt.png


Egypt_original.png
 

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I'm going to perhaps attempt to post a better, historically accurate namelist for certain civs in two or three months once time allows me.
Try a search in this forum, I know that a project like this has already been completed like 15 years ago (but can't remember where I read it, perhaps in the "Creation & Customization" forum?!)

Anyway, several people from all over the planet have assembled a historically correct name list for all 32 nations in Civ3, which can be imported into the standard game (or in some mod?!) This list not only contains city names, but also names for scientific & military great leaders, which for some nations are also quite wrong, for example the MGL names for Germany include "Hengest" and "Horsa", which no one in Germany has ever heard of and which in fact are persons from Celtic/Britannic mythology I think... Einstein is listed as an SGL for the US instead of for Germany, even though he was German at the time of his famous discoveries and lived in the US only "after his retirement". (Born 1879, major publications 1905-19, Nobel Prize 1922, emigrated to the US in 1934, got US citizenship in 1940 (age 61), died in 1955. Can't really see the reason, why he should be in the US list of Scientific Great Leaders...?!)
 
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The UU seems beneficial, but you either need to quickly steamroll an opponent so you can focus on development again or hold out until you switched to republic.
If you go to war early with your UU, you will trigger a GA in despo, which is generally a bad idea. Only if it leads to a dominant position is this good for you.
For first tries, try a civ with a UU in the middle ages, or an AA one you can use after having switched to Repo.
 
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