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Prophets for Profits: Ramesses and the Chariot of Fire

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by The Oz-Man, May 22, 2012.

  1. The Oz-Man

    The Oz-Man Enter: The VAIKE!

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    Leader Discussion/Start/Initial Save
    Chapter 1: Awakening


    Two things motivated this thread:

    1. This discussion of religious games
    2. My desire to do another online game

    I feel like I've gotten about as good at the game as I feel compelled to--doing a whole lot better would require a significant investment of time and energy--so I'd like instead to take what I do know and parlay it into a different sort of game.

    In a typical game of Civ, you aspire for a variety of Great People at different points, whether it be Great Scientists for early Academies, Merchants to fuel later upgrades, or Engineers to hurry wonders along. What if, however, we restricted ourselves to only one type of Great Person? How would the game change?

    The answer is, of course, "quite a lot," and we're about to find out just how.

    The one rule for this game is that the only Great Person we may actively try to generate is a Great Prophet. What this means is that we may only assign Priest specialists, and we may only build wonders that generate GPP toward Prophets.

    If we generate any other Great Person type--whether by being first to a race or by wonders in captured cities--said Great Person must immediately be put to death. :devil: This of course lowers the immediate incentive on techs like Music, Communism, and Physics.

    Which Wonders can we build?

    Angkor Wat - A marginal wonder in a normal game, the Angkor Wat suddenly turns into a cornerstone of our strategy when it will beef up all of our Priest specialists and give us extra slots. A Philosophy beeline might be in order. Maybe we can take a risk and shoot for getting it with the Oracle? I've done it before, but it is sort of risky.
    Apostolic Palace - We may actually build this one. We're going to want a lot of Temples, and attaching extra hammers to them is helpful. Of course, there's also the option to manipulate the world to work for us by exploiting AP powers, so that's a plus as well.
    Chicken Pizza - Still pretty useless.
    Shwedagon Paya - Given that our priests could bulb us a ton and a half of religious techs, we probably won't need this one. It's the only wonder along the Aesthetics line that we'll be able to build, so that line might be given less of a priority this game, particularly without the free Music artist and the Great Library.
    Stonehenge - With the leader I have in mind, Stonehenge becomes more valuable than it usually is. Otherwise, probably not.
    Religious Shrines - By all means--for the prophet points, for the cash, and for the Priest slots. I'm going to try to de-emphasize founding religions for diplomatic purposes, though; however, if we get one or two, I won't complain!
    The Oracle - Now we're talking. I suspect getting the Oracle for a late religious tech--either Theocracy or Philosophy--might be the cornerstone of our strategy.
    The Spiral Minaret - We're going to have a lot of gold and hammers through settled Prophets already. This is an interesting one because Divine Right is actually pretty easy to get through priest bulbs if we head down that route, which may increase the priority of the tech. It dovetails nicely with needing a lot of Temples, of course.
    Moai Statues - I usually don't worry about this one anymore, but it's points, and we're not going to have rivals to get it.

    Which leader should we pick?

    We need a leader who can easily and quickly generate Great Prophet GPP, possibly one with early priest slots. A few thoughts come to mind on this front:

    1. Philosophical will, of course, get the job done. Generating a ton and a half of Great Prophets through Philosophical will be nice.
    2. Starting with Mysticism will put us on the path towards Priesthood, which--for most leaders--is the first chance to assign Priest specialists. With the Philosophical trait and Mysticism from the word go (not to mention Spiritual for cheap Temples), Gandhi of India seems like a decent shout. However...
    3. There are two leaders who can assign priest specialists through their unique buildings. Saladin of Arabia has the Madrassa, which will give us priests with Libraries--a critical piece of infrastructure that will function much, much differently this game. Both leaders of Egypt get the Obelisk, which is a Monument replacement with two Priest slots. This means that we can start running Priest specialists after one of our very first techs.
    4. Finally, Industrious will allow us to grab the religious wonders we want. With Industrious and on Monarch, Stonehenge is a fairly easy wonder to grab, and it's our first opportunity for GPP.
    5. Given 1-4, I'm inclined to punt Philosophical and go with Ramesses II of Egypt. By building Stonehenge early on, we'll get priest slots in every single city we have automatically until Astronomy, and by that point we'll have an easy time getting Temples up if we want to keep running them.

    So the four finalists for leaders are Ramesses II of Egypt, Saladin of Arabia, Gandhi of India, or Hatshepsut of Egypt. Unless someone raises significant objections, I'll get started with Ramesses soon. The perfect storm, I think, would be Gandhi of Egypt, but I'd like not to do unrestricted leaders.

    What map script?

    I think I'm through with Fractal after getting a few ridiculously kind starts (see Willem and Shaka in the sig). Hemispheres and Continents are probably my top choices just to space out the religions a bit and decrease the likelihood of an early win via AP cheese.

    What victory type?

    AP cheese is the obvious one, so I promise not to go for it (but, however, I won't disable it; I just won't propose a Religious Leader vote if I know I can win it). One option I'm seriously leaning towards is riding prophets straight into space, riding the chariot of fire to Heaven to meet the Almighty. :bowdown: I'm not going to restrict myself, however; if I can win violently, I will!

    Other thoughts?

    So unless there are further objections/discussions, I'll start a game tonight with Ramesses II on either a Hemispheres or Continent map. Settings will be Monarch/Normal speed/No huts or events/Choose Religion (because I love it). As usual, I'll try to weasel in some creative writing with our discussion of strategy.

    Thoughts? Complaints? Protests?
     
  2. VoiceOfUnreason

    VoiceOfUnreason Deity

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  3. Grimith

    Grimith Chieftain

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    I'm interested. A few thoughts:

    1. Cities will require more micromanagement to prevent their governors from derailing us through non-priest specialists. Although it would be accidental, the pollution could cause us to lose out on Great Prophets.
    2. How will we handle conquering cities which contain Great Wonders we're not allowed to build? Do we have to raze them? Honestly, I think so; it adds an additional level of challenge to the game as we cast down our enemies for wasting their time on worthless wonders. "Pyramids!? What rubbish!"
    3. I agree with your choice of Ramesses II of Egypt to lead this one, but we'll definitely be missing Philosophical. Since we also won't be allowed to build the National Epic, and we'll only be allowed a single Golden Age (can't build Taj Mahal, can only use Great Prophets), there's merit in quickly unlocking Pacifism.
     
  4. The Oz-Man

    The Oz-Man Enter: The VAIKE!

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    VoU: Interesting to see how people were able to get quite a few beakers just out of the gold from settling--lots of 100% sliders being run at a prophet, though I don't know how many of them are building wealth as well. Riding a ton of settled prophets coupled with money buildings could lead to Universal Suffrage craziness late in the game. Or, of course, we could just ride the cash to a high slider and--therefore--any victory we want.

    I think it also de-emphasizes the importance of an early religion; with enough settled prophets, we can do everything a shrine can do beyond assigning additional slots.

    Grimith: My plan is to make a point to look at every city before turn's end. That'll be a helpful habit to get into anyway. As for wonders, that's an interesting approach, and it's one I've considered. I'm worried, though, that if I do it now then it might become precedent if I do this sort of game again, particularly if a rival beats me to a wonder that produces GP points I need. With Industrious Ramesses (and Wonders mostly along the same tech path) that shouldn't be a problem, but for others it might be an issue. I'll put it to a vote when we get to it. The prospect of burning down the city with the Pyramids does put a sick little smile on my face, though. That wonder has caused me a lot of joy and a lot of heartache.

    Looks like Ramesses is the choice of champions here; I'll roll us a start. As I've alluded to in the previous paragraph, I may do this with other leaders as well, so I'm willing to hear suggestions that way as well. A few I have in mind:

    Scientists: Peter of Russia (UB gets extra scientists, plus Philosophical)
    Artists: Pericles of Greece (Philosophical plus artist slots in the Odeon)
    Spies: Frederick of Germany (Philosophical plus cheap Courthouses) or Gilgamesh of Sumeria (earliest possible Courthouses)
    Merchants: Roosevelt of America (for early GLH possibilities) or Elizabeth/Victoria of England (gold-multiplying UB, plus Philosophical with Liz)
    Engineers: Qin Shi Huang of China (Industrious for cheap Forges/Pyramids/bulb lines lead to Chu-Ko-Nu craziness)
     
  5. The Oz-Man

    The Oz-Man Enter: The VAIKE!

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    Sorry for the double-post, but I've rolled us a start!

    LEADER DETAILS:
    Ramesses II is Spiritual, which gives us all kinds of fun options. Half-priced Temples will of course come in handy, and the ability to switch seamlessly in and out of civics is a major plus and will help defer having fewer Golden Ages at our disposal. Industrious offers better wonder production and cheap Forges. Since grabbing certain wonders is a key part of our strategy in this game, we'll get a major boost here.

    Egypt's unique unit is the War Chariot. What's there to say? It's a beefier chariot with a strength bonus and immunity to first strikes. War Chariot rushes can be monstrously effective, and we'll have most of the techs to get one right off the bat if we want. That said, our early builds--and getting Stonehenge--might mean we want to avoid one.

    Egypt's unique building, the Obelisk, is a Monument with two priest slots. It's the reason why we're Ramesses and not somebody else.

    Finally, we start with Agriculture and The Wheel, meaning building a worker first will immediately give him something to do.

    I re-rolled a start to get us one with some farmland. Have a look. The map script is Hemispheres with 2 normal continents, which should assure us some neighbors.

    Spoiler :


    Not bad, eh? Arable land, wet corn, freshwater-adjacent, and some hills. I'm tempted to head 1E to try to get those green cows into the capital's BFC, but I'm sort of leery--there's coast visible to the northeast in the fog. Maybe send our warrior that way to see what he can find?

    Save's attached. Let's have some fun!
     
  6. lymond

    lymond Rise Up! (Phoenix Style!) Hall of Fame Staff

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    Just my thought on non-Great Prophet GPs. The execute the GP rule I think is a bit harsh for a very important reason - Golden Ages. I think the rule should be that any other GP can only be use for the purpose of generating Golden Ages. (No non-prophet citizens can be run in a city unless all 20 BFC tiles have been worked and all prophet slots filled. All temples and/or prophet slot enabling buildings must be built in a city if available)

    Also, since religion was such a big to-do, I think another rule should be something like "you must found 5 of 7 religions and at least 1 of them is early (hindu/bud/mono). Likewise, each religion must have a shrine by the end of the game.

    I think Gandhi would have been better for that variant though. Anyway, it's monarch so it should be pretty easy.
     
  7. Grimith

    Grimith Chieftain

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    I think moving the Settler 1E is for the best; looking at the edges of the fog to the west shows nothing but forests, so you won't be losing a food resource unless it's deer. If anything, there's probably a calendar resource there - certainly less important than grass cow in the BFC. We won't lose out on any hills, although we won't gain the 2H bonus from settling on a plains hill, and we'll expend a turn by moving 1E. I reckon you can confirm this move by sending the Warrior 1NE just to make sure there's enough room to settle another city if, say, there's seafood out there.

    Also, considering the extensive forests, the empty grass tile 1S of the Settler is suspicious and probably contains a strategic resource.
     
  8. The Oz-Man

    The Oz-Man Enter: The VAIKE!

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    Not so sure I like that. The point of the exercise is to leverage prophets/priests as best we can to win, and bulbing a ton of religions doesn't necessarily facilitate that (not to mention the fact that I'm not a fan of a restriction in which I can lose in the first 100 turns). Industrious Ramesses loaded to the hilt with priest specialists can indeed bulb a ton of religious techs for us, but what he's even better at doing is leveraging his state religion and building things like the AP and the Minaret.

    That said, I won't shy away from founding religions if the opportunity presents itself. In fact, getting the Oracle to pick up one of Theology, Philosophy, or Code of Laws is part of my early strategy.

    I decided to play the first round given that tasty start, but I'm sort of tired, so I'll write it up tomorrow. Preview will come in the spoilers:

    Spoiler :
    Settled 1E, and yes, it's a pretty insane site. The empty green spot is Copper! We also have a second city to grab horses. Stonehenge is due pretty quickly if we want it thanks to chopping out a garrison for Thebes. We have a very, very nasty neighbor right at our doorstep who founded an early religion, too. And no, it's not the one you probably think it is.
     
  9. Killroyan

    Killroyan Deity

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    I love priest economies. Bring out the tale Oz-man. Too bad you are not allowed to make the sixtine and sankore because that makes simple temples powerhouses. Waiting for the screenies to show up. That capital looks insane already and if copper pops up :) Bring out yer wonders!
     
  10. WelshGandalf

    WelshGandalf King

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    Yeah, Sankore and Pyramids for even better religious buildings and specialists would be ace.

    There was a GOTM recently where I was high on food and short on hammers. Building temples in the AP religion and Angor Wat definately made an appreciable difference there... the temples giving 2 hammers and the priest + engineer giving another 4 between them. The city with the Angor Wat in it had 3 seafood I think, it loaded up on priests and turned into something of a GP/production monster.
     
  11. Teoes

    Teoes Chieftain

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    I shall watch this game with interest. Oz, you do good write-ups and this'll be a fun spin on things. I'm purely a Marathon player but might just have a wee look at that save too.

    What of Generals? Are they too considered unclean and to be burned righteously, or are you allowing yourself some super-units?
     
  12. soundjata

    soundjata Be like water

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  13. Handel

    Handel Prince

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    Don't know how about your governors but mine always try to put only spy specialists:mad:
     
  14. vranasm

    vranasm Deity

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    didn't watch, but my pure guess tells me he will abuse Mids, an option OP doesn't have available.
     
  15. pigswill

    pigswill fly (one day)

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    National Wonders are also out afaik.
     
  16. soundjata

    soundjata Be like water

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    Spoiler :
    ^_^ then you don't know KaF as he mostly doesn't build any wonder :lol:


    sorry for derailing the thread. Go Ozman! :cool:
     
  17. The Oz-Man

    The Oz-Man Enter: The VAIKE!

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    Chapter 1
    Awakening

    The sons of the chiefs of the Egyptian tribe were, in those days, marked at birth with a scar on their forehead--a designation known as "the third eye." The third eye was not merely a bearing of distinction and strength; it was a sign of wisdom. One who could see from the third eye could foresee the dangers the tribe would encounter, and he could deal with them appropriately.

    Ramesses was different. In the third eye upon his forehead, he saw not merely a mark of respect, but a connection to... something. He knew not what.

    It was under his leadership that the tribes of Egypt struck east, into the nearby forests, where they did make camp and begin the trappings of civilization.

    Spoiler :


    (I decided to go with the 1E spot when the warrior struck that way and didn't find any coast. What he revealed was some crappy brown land, but I think getting the cows in the capital's BFC was worth it. Tech path for the round was AH -> Mining -> BW -> Mysticism; pretty straightforward, I think. While I could've skipped AH, I really wanted to see if we had horseys. I still think it was the right move, as you'll see.)

    The early explorers of Thebes were not trained woodsman but rather hardened warriors with fierce clubs. They circled around south of the encampment, then headed west. Suddenly, they were set upon--seemingly in ambush--by a party of warriors brandishing crude bows and arrows! The warriors waved their club threateningly, but the archers had no quarrel. They returned to their hunting lodge and introduced their leader, a paranoid chief with a suspicious glint in his eye.

    Spoiler :


    (Well hello to you, Mr. Personality. This particular charm school dropout turned up on turn 10, so I'm inclined to force the issue. Toku's going to be about as useful in diplomacy as teats on a boar hog, and we're not isolated with him.)

    Not long after this encounter, another band of archers appeared outside of Thebes; another hunting party on the prowl. Unlike the Japanese, however, this group seemed more amenable to diplomacy. The leader of the hunting party was a gruff but plain-spoken man; of the English tribe, his name was Winston Churchill, "The Bulldog."

    Spoiler :


    (Not gonna lie: I haven't come across Churchill a lot in my online games somehow. One game as the Vikings did see him shuffled off the mortal coil pretty quickly, but that was hardly much of a chance to get to know him. Protective and Charismatic, though, suggests that Churchill might be trouble, but anyone's better than Tokugawa. Except maybe Shaka. Or Monty. Or Catherine. Or Sury.)

    With the secrets of the herd discovered, Ramesses discovered a bounty not far from Thebes that could make him mighty indeed:

    Spoiler :


    (Yay!)

    As Thebes' scholars sought to teach the Egyptian people the nature of primitive stonework, one of the exploring warriors discovered the Japanese camp.

    Spoiler :


    (Wet corn and rice... Kyoto looks to be a fine city. And it's close. Hmmm.)

    The discovery of Kyoto led Ramesses to a singular conclusion: the horses outside of the city were threatened. While Ramesses longed to build a monument to his might in Thebes, it would be necessary to expand. The Egyptian tribe would have to transform from primitive city-state to empire. A bold band of settlers were recruited in the city, eager to strike out to new lands.

    (Build order in Thebes, by the way, was Worker -> Warriors to size 4 [I think we built two, and two were eaten by animals, so we've got one left] -> Worker -> Settler -> garrison for Thebes [which was about to go over the happy cap].)

    Suddenly, in the West, Tokugawa gloated from his primitive palace. His wise men had sought the secrets of the spirits, and they had been successful. Deep in the forests outside of Kyoto, a new faith was born of the learned class, one built around stoically looking inward.

    (Yes, ladies and gentlemen, though I forgot to screenshot it, you read it here first: Tokugawa has founded Buddhism. With Choose Religions, we don't know what that means he researched, but both of the earliest religions are gone now. I suspect that this means we have only one civ on the board who starts with Mysticism, but not necessarily a heavy religious techer. Pacal, Huayna, and Wang Kon immediately spring to mind as possibilities.)

    Moving from stone to metals, the Egyptian people found even Thebes itself in possession of a bounty:

    Spoiler :


    (Well... well... well!)

    But the race was on. While a vicious panther slowed the construction of a road outside Thebes, the settling party was nonetheless outfitted. In no time at all, the branch clan struck to the southwest, and it was not long at all before they touched down in the land of the delta blues and were, indeed, walking in Memphis.

    Spoiler :


    (1S is probably a stronger city long-term, but I like what this grabs in the first ring: two floodplains, a horse, and a couple of hills. This should still be a monster site, and we don't have to wait for Iron Working or Calendar for it to become one, nor do we have to wait for an Obelisk for it to be able to feed itself.)

    Finally, the secrets of Mysticism were unearthed in Thebes... and Ramesses's eyes were opened. The third eye upon his forehead was no mere mark of importance to the tribe; it was an appendage by which he could see into the heavens. In the dirt outside of Thebes, Ramesses began drawing up an intricate hierarchy of the heavens, in which unknown spirits pulled the sun and the moon on the backs of mystical chariots. Slowly, his eyes turned westward. Tokugawa had found his own hierarchy. Was this a blessing... or a dangerous heresy?

    (I figured this was a good place to stop since we're now at an important decision point. First of all, research:

    Spoiler :


    We're teching a little slowly now; Thebes is a great production site, but there's not much in the way of commerce just yet. Memphis looks like it can do the job in that respect, but we'll need Pottery to get it online. Without the ability to run early scientists, Pottery--combined with a high slider that we can afford from settled/shrined priests--may be a priority.

    On the other hand, the Ramesses in me wants to continue down the religious path, going towards Priesthood and the Oracle. The obvious route that was is down the Polytheism path towards Monotheism, with an eye towards picking up Theocracy from the Oracle. If you guys think CoL or Philosophy would be smarter, though, we'll probably want to tech Meditation instead just because it's so much cheaper.

    The practical solution, the more I think about it, is to aim for picking up either CoL or Philosophy from the Oracle, relying on our priests to bulb Theology for us. Angkor Wat is more powerful in our strategy than the AP is, and CoL is a critical economic tech. What do you guys think?

    We're at another critical juncture, too, and I'll let the screenshots explain. Thebes can have Stonehenge in fewer than six turns:

    Spoiler :


    Getting an earlier Great Prophet can be very helpful, I think, and those GPP will build over time as we start running some priests.

    On the other hand...

    Spoiler :


    ...Kyoto is tantalizingly close. And it's an early holy city, something we probably won't be able to get unless we head for Monotheism, which is sounding less inviting. We could also expend our resources on Barracks and War Chariots, take care of Tokugawa, and buddy up close to Churchill for a good long while. Hopefully, somebody else will be on the continent with us to ameliorate being isolated with the Brits.

    On the other other hand, I'll bet we can do both. Fewer than six turns for Stonehenge [we have a worker ready to chop] is not long at all, and we might be able to crack the whip, building a Barracks on the overflow. Then we move straight from building wonders to building War Chariots, make a quick strike, and take Tokugawa out of the game. On a higher difficulty, this might not be possible, but on Monarch we should be safe, and WC's have a pretty long window of usefulness.

    What do you guys think? Save is attached.)


    EDIT ABOUT GENERALS:
    Great Generals are, to me, an exception to the rule since they don't follow the same rules as other GPs. We can generate them and use them as we see fit. And besides, we're already giving ourselves enough of a handicap by avoiding Scientists; we should at least be allowed to wage a competent war, I think.
     
  18. pigswill

    pigswill fly (one day)

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    Nice write up.

    I'm playing a shadow so I'll have to be careful about what I say. You do have a dilemma. If you rush Toku you'll be delaying Oracle (its going to be delayed a bit if you want a flash tech anyway) and stand a chance of losing it. If you prioritise Oracle then Toku will be tougher to eliminate.
     
  19. Fibonacci1123

    Fibonacci1123 Chieftain

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    You are Egypt, you have horses and a target. Clearly the gods (God? I'm not sure about your religion) WANT you to rush.

    Also, Toku has a holy city and you don't. I believe that a Crusade is necessary. Are you really willing to let Toku of all people be the leader of the Buddhist world?

    Don't allow yourself to be distracted by worldly things (like SH and the Oracle), take him out.
     
  20. coanda

    coanda Emperor

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    ... Toku founded Buddhism?! I can't recall the last time I saw that (not sure I ever have).
     

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