[BTS] Ramses Immortal Fractal: Bad Lands

BornInCantaloup

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I love a Sushi powered culture win (never actually did that). This is free form and an achievement on its own !
You need nothing but to be proud of yourself, Gwaja !

I don't know about your question. I know I don't play 100 turns in a row anymore. For other people, I won't pretend to speculate.
For the shy ones, they don't need to be so shy.
 
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Gwaja

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Sid's Sushi can be overpowering if used right. In the near future, I would like to try playing on a map with no seafood, such as Lakes or Oasis, and try for another culture win using Cereal Mills, the poor man's Sushi. That would mean no Mining, Inc, as Civilized Jewelers and/or Creative Constructions have to be run domestically.

Even more challenging may be to play a map where there is no oil or aluminum, and the only way to obtain them is via Standard Ethanol and Aluminum Co.

You should try playing a game in its entirety in one setting. ^_^
 

TheMeInTeam

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I can set up hotkeys for him so he gets his APM right. TMIT can rest assured, nobody ever doubted he could micro if he took the time. People just play the game different.

I think that either oversells me, or undersells players who micro well. The latter is more important. I can play more carefully, think about each micromanagement choice in advance and try to optimize them for some goal in near-future, and perform better than I do when I don't do those things. But it's a shadow of what proper micromanagement looks like, where the experience of doing micro optimizations/planning in a way that gets maximum benefit from the tradeoffs in the game's systems comes to mind.

Or to put it another way: if I knew how to micro like someone like you/Rusten/Usun/etc have done, I could probably manage something like 80% of top level deity performance playing at the speeds I play at now. But that's kind of like saying "if I could already run a sub-4 minute mile, running one in 4:30 would be relatively easy". It's true, but it doesn't capture why the former is so challenging for most people to achieve, and assumes the hardest part of the mastering the task is done already.

The problem is that I don't see the game that way top deity players past/present see it, have never micro'd at that level, and thus even at my peak in Civ 4 didn't have the knowledge/experience/practices wrt micromanagement that allow the more impressive feats available in the game. I "can micro". Hell, if you compare me to someone who was/is stuck on noble-monarch, my micromanagement choices will look superior, consistently. But it's not deity player micro, and deity player micro isn't something I can just "turn on" just by using patience/will any more than a noble player can just will themselves to immortal and win. I would need to go through an extensive process to learn it, starting with identifying where I'm losing the most value somehow.

Since I lack the talent to just "see" those shortcomings as I play and correct for those mistakes, I suspect I would have no choice but to grind a starting position or five over and over again, trying to match what a top level player did, and try to extrapolate why the choices that got me there were good in that context. If I did that enough times, I could probably generalize better micro choices than I make now to games where I don't have a top player to reference. I still wouldn't be as good as them, but I'd be substantially closer/more odds on to win deity. I'm not sure I want to pay these costs for Civ 4 at this point, though. But this paragraph is an example of the insight I have learned through other games/experiences since I was a regular in Civ 4 S&T.

I have nevertheless won some games on deity in the past of course, just by playing around the AI's limitations or cooking the map with favorable settings lol.

You can play on Monarch for all I care, TMIT, but then you have to archer rush and promise you'll automove that stack.

I played a couple games in past two years, one with a friend. It seems I won't fall below emperor until I go senile or something, since I can still win that. Immortal probably too, though lower %.
 

BornInCantaloup

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I think that either oversells me, or undersells players who micro well.
My pick ! I oversold you ! Do you hate me now ? :D:lol:
You're quite right. I should have written something along the line of "if you took the time to learn". But this is incompatible with streaming and playing with APM.
What I mostly meant is we never held that against you.
I tend to think that some things can only be learnt in Succession Games. And I don't mean tricks, I mean mechanics (e.g. if you're going to whip and regrow in two turns, wait a turn and regrow in one). And, once you have a good hold of them, you can speed up and what you will lose will be marginal.
I agree that good micro does give insight that looms. It's probably not the right word. I mean there are ties, some implications from micro to strategy and a deeper understanding of micro can give wider insight. That said, I think this is also marginal as far as game understanding goes.
Kossin used to say that microing has a 5% impact on the game. Sure, the number is sketch and he said that from the perspective of someone who already knows what good micro is (so has a very high floor without micro).
What's the impact of macroing, though ? It's probably sketch to say 20%, right ? Maybe it's more like the remaining 95 or 80%. This is what you had.

I'm all the more sensitive to this that I am confident in my micro. I hate to brag, right ? I was taught well.
I like pipe dreams, though. I know I'm gonna die. I know I'm gonna screw up. I don't need to play on Deity to screw things up.
People are way too obsessed with that difficulty level. Zoom in, go Barracks first and play with Ice Archers (or Sushi),. Easy game.
And, you know... the "Deity Players" - I never claimed to be one -, I don't really know their micro skills but, low key, I don't think they're really good. I do think they're persistent, though, and have good strategic sense - at least better than mine. I'll give them that, I am that generous :lol:

Hell, if you compare me to someone who was/is stuck on noble-monarch, my micromanagement choices will look superior, consistently.
To me, you're the NukeTheStars of Civilization. You're certainly the one (streamer) I learnt the most from. You came just at the right time. So, yes, and up your claim some difficulty levels to Immortal.

You should try playing a game in its entirety in one setting. ^_^
Yes, I'll take that advice, at least to 1AD. That, I know I can do :hug:
On Sushi, my favourite thing is using it for border control with Friendly neighbours. Also powering a Diplo win is kinda cool.

Now I'll remove my bragging crown and just leave that here.
Spoiler :
 
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Gwaja

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@TheMeInTeam

Glad I got your attention to at least be back on this forum at least. It was a certainly a pleasant surprise!

Your influence, nevertheless, cannot be understated, on me at least personally. Since this is a game and not a class or work, learning while having fun is the most important thing. I personally hate overcomplicated things, and that surely means such things aren't welcome when I am playing a game. I can say, with confidence, that you showed that I can actually enjoy this kind of game while having fun. Mr, Phil... that is the biggest compliment I can throw at anyone. Now you owe us and all you need to do is to make an "official" return. ^_^

@BornInCantaloup

Managing the AI in diplomacy is a skill very underappreciated. I tend to think that most, even myself included, just straight out prefer Domination or Conquest. Culture even less so.

1 AD? But.... we can't even run corporations that early. :( :(
 

BornInCantaloup

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Yeah, very true ! Your typical Deity Player will rely heavily on Diplo. Which is a fair part of a strong macro game
I'm not a deity player, I don't do diplo, to the point where I scorn it.

I also die by 2000 BC or just a few turns after I complete a critical wonder ! I don't mind, at that point :salute:
 

TheMeInTeam

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And, you know... the "Deity Players" - I never claimed to be one -, I don't really know their micro skills but, low key, I don't think they're really good. I do think they're persistent, though, and have good strategic sense - at least better than mine. I'll give them that, I am that generous

It varies person to person, but players like Rusten have some distribution of talent + learned ability + capability that tracks between games...both Civ and other games, and between formats within games. He more or less didn't touch HoF for a long time, then decided to just turn in a first place submission there one time, from a below-par start position relative to other players in HoF at the time.

Everyone has some level of things that are obvious or natural to them in a particular game, based on a combination of reasoning skill/talent for that game and prior knowledge. My "baseline" for FTL was high enough that I won my 2nd attempt, on normal difficulty (I consider myself pretty good at it now, with high winrate on hard and many double digit streaks). I didn't realize how many choices I knew to make routinely even as a beginner, until I tried to coach some other players. What I see as immediate misplays/obvious choices every couple seconds...they didn't even notice or stop to think about. That's about where I am in Civ, in some micro aspects, despite my play time.

Now, I also don't remember who declares at pleased and such, haha.

I don't think the distinction between "macro" and "micro" is so black and white. It reminds me of the "reads vs mechanics" discussion in Rocket League a bit. You can improve to a greater degree in one or the other, but sooner or later you get gated by your weaker one. In order to beat the opponent to the ball, you not only have to predict its location where you can reach fast enough, you have to also be able to reach that spot reliably, which is influenced by your mechanics/control! Similarly in Civ, good micro leads to opportunities that don't exist when you don't have it. The choice to attack at a particular timing vs not (example: ABCF winning a Toku game on deity that I lost on immortal using medieval warfare timed properly to wipe out Mansa Musa, and yes I still remember this somehow), having techs to trade around, having the ability to push an AI to pleased fast enough, solving happiness problems fast enough to still claim land and get economy in order with more territory. I simply could not attack Mansa in the same situation; my econ would not have allowed for me to produce so many units and sustain them + win fast enough before he got rifles, despite the lower difficulty. It was a macro line of play that was not available to me; my micro sealed that door shut before the choice was worth considering.

It's also notable that specifically trying to find your deficiencies and improve will take you far past not only baseline, but also far past where you'd get just by putting more hours in otherwise. People reach their "perpetual intermediacy" at different points, but there tends to be a point at which someone reliably stops improving, unless they made a dedicated effort to alter their approach constantly based on feedback from the task (this holds in real tasks too, not just games). I've paid this cost for a few games now, which I had not done yet 10 years ago.

Anyway, the top players I think would be running tanks by at least ~1200-1400 AD if they wanted on a map like this at first glance. Likely sooner, this start is nicer than say BOTM 10 was. That's more than mere persistence. There's a combination of skill/knowledge gap that separates a good/winnable performance vs that kind of outcome.

Part of me wonders how I would fare if I translated experiences back into Civ 4, put myself on deity, grabbed a few reference points, and did some grinding into micro choices. Could I do it now, what I couldn't do back then? But then I will probably be invited into MP modded Rimworld, Fortnite or Rocket League, and have to finish MP Dominions turns before either of those in a few hours. I call this process of improvement "paying a cost" for a reason...in practical terms, people can't reach "better than perpetual intermediacy" across the board...you have to prioritize. If I get in a mood where I think I'd enjoy it, I might try, but likely not otherwise.

People are way too obsessed with that difficulty level.

That's normal, across games. People want the highest difficulty. Civ 4 is a bit exceptional, in that the highest difficulty is much more challenging to master than most. Not just than other games in the Civ franchise, but in most other SP games period. Thus, it means more, to the extent these things have meaning.

To me, you're the NukeTheStars of Civilization. You're certainly the one (streamer) I learnt the most from. You came just at the right time.

That is why I got into it, originally. The only other Civ content creator back then was playing on settler. What I offered was decently high percentile play w/o long hours. That's hardly special these days though :p.

In picking just in terms of bringing something new/useful to video, I'd probably do DCSS (there are a few strong streamers, but not many, and while I don't compete for speedrun records I am quite fast in casual terms which probably sounds familiar...though notably I am much, much better relative to the field in DCSS than I was in Civ 4) or Dominions 5 (there are so many play styles, and my knowledge there now is like it used to be with Civ 4...I can rattle more facts off-hand than Lucid/General Confusion, even though at least Lucid is still better at actually playing against people). If I did a Civ 4 video now...it would be worse version of a random video of mine from 2011, other than possibly the video quality or humor potential from blunder reeling.

Managing the AI in diplomacy is a skill very underappreciated. I tend to think that most, even myself included, just straight out prefer Domination or Conquest. Culture even less so.

It is useful even in the context of these victory conditions. It limits the resources you need to spend defending other fronts, can be used to set up islandtarget checks and secure a vassal (taking care not to create a vassal for the AI though), and can be used to manipulate the AI into voting you for UN and saving some time in a won position (or at minimum, giving you control of it so they don't take away your nuke production...). It also lets you make up for shortcomings otherwise...as long as you have competitive land % and aren't being killed, you can make up a lot of ground.

Spoiler :

The most entertaining game I ever played is lost to history, because I streamed it and it wasn't on YouTube. I skirmisher rushed with Mansa Musa on immortal. It didn't go well. I killed the target, and picked up writing...in 1000AD. From there, I got declared on by an AI with rifles (think it was Alex, which says a lot about my tech rate) while I had medieval tech, stole a huge % of the tech tree from a different AI (Victoria), retook my land, barely intercepted an AI culture attempt (America), then stopped another AI's space win only a turn or two before it won (China), getting just enough ICBMs through SDI to take the cap after launch. All of this was possible because I had good diplo with Vicky/most AIs, kept her from declaring on me while I culture enveloped a city I gave her to stack all the espionage modifiers.

I went on to get revenge on Alex and win the game after that. It was not a well-played game. I was staying in a place temporarily between houses at the time. I had so many objectively stronger games, but what a ride as a player/for the viewers. Up there with some of my best HOMM moments. I'm still partial to the time I had an all-powerful Sandro, late in one of the last few campaigns I did on HOMM 3, having gradually built up skill from being pretty bad at first to being a reasonable player, mopping every AI fight left before me...and then I used up my mana casting dimension door and trapped myself for ~in-game week lol. Derp!


1 AD? But.... we can't even run corporations that early.

Some players aren't too far off from it at that point though!
 

BornInCantaloup

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Sorry for the late response, TMIT. This was a very long post and you approach many points.
I should probably get organized.
I don't think the distinction between "macro" and "micro" is so black and white. It reminds me of the "reads vs mechanics" discussion in Rocket League a bit. You can improve to a greater degree in one or the other, but sooner or later you get gated by your weaker one. In order to beat the opponent to the ball, you not only have to predict its location where you can reach fast enough, you have to also be able to reach that spot reliably, which is influenced by your mechanics/control! Similarly in Civ, good micro leads to opportunities that don't exist when you don't have it.
Yes, very true. Which is more, "micro" only makes sense in the frame of a greater "macro". It is possible to optimize a micro that will be counter-productive in the context of the macro. Examples that come to mind include min/max whip overflow.
As a reverse example, a macro plan can lead one to willingly sacrifice some micro gain. People love to whip their cities to size 4 when building units (I don't). Tech trading, liberal vs conservative is another case of that. I'll often be very liberal with my tech trades to gain some short term advantages that could help my micro but those will not necessarily increase my advantage relative to the AIs. Some other players will hold monopoly techs for a long time (starting with Aesthetics) and those will provide them with delayed but increased opportunities down the line.

You mention Rusten. I don't consider Rusten to be a Deity Player, I don't recall him ever making any sort of claim as to his playing level.
I consider Rusten to be an S class player or close, at least A++. He was a Revolutionist and became extremely well-rounded, both in his strategic understanding and in his management (those are better terms than micro/macro, relative to Civ). He also played all sorts of games, from SGs to BOTMs, to HoF, to PEBM and more.

It's also notable that specifically trying to find your deficiencies and improve will take you far past not only baseline, but also far past where you'd get just by putting more hours in otherwise. People reach their "perpetual intermediacy" at different points, but there tends to be a point at which someone reliably stops improving, unless they made a dedicated effort to alter their approach constantly based on feedback from the task (this holds in real tasks too, not just games).
Again, very true. See ? This is exactly what I mean when I say "we always thought you could..." Because you can make those sorts of points, nobody ever doubted your game understanding or your ability to improve, including the top players that have ever graced this forum. Have you sometimes been frustrated by your plays ? Yes, sure, but that comes with the Format you played (streaming). You scouted, built units, knew your diplo, had generally sound plans, had a varied gameplay. This is what matters.
It's a rare breed of players that can be self-reflexive enough and critically to improve by themselves. More often, improvement is a collective effort. Intelligence is collective.

That's normal, across games. People want the highest difficulty. Civ 4 is a bit exceptional, in that the highest difficulty is much more challenging to master than most. Not just than other games in the Civ franchise, but in most other SP games period. Thus, it means more, to the extent these things have meaning.
I understand what you mean, heren and agree to an extent. Still, there's fun to be had with poor play, catastrophies, lower difficulties, limited plans, trainwrecks, role-playing, or even an optimized Settler Space Race.
I like to try to optimize, don't get me wrong, but it bothers me if/when it prevents people to have their fun and share cool stories about it.
Just because the game is played on Prince and nobody was Warrior rushed doesn't mean the game was any less intense and fullfilling emotionnally. You know, immersion. We wouldn't want to lose that entirely, now, would we ? All I want to do is complete the Hanging Gardens with Babylon.

:hug:
 

TheMeInTeam

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Did not go as planned, but I did a run:

Spoiler :


Did great wall/glh/mids. No rush to settle things to west, but Augustus was really far. Mostly just built farms and coasted off GLH income. Victoria was starting to get ahead of the field in tech, but still not close to rifles. I got circumnavigation and realized I could settle a cramped city on Vicky's island. I also realized she only had one source of iron, so I shuttled a bunch of medieval crap onto her island and then dropped 2x knight + pike onto the iron, pillaged next turn. Turned out she didn't tech for cuirs but you never know. She also was the AI that founded a bunch of religions and had sistine, so doing this ended culture win threat.

This phase went reasonably well. She didn't put up castles, and I could have blown those up easily enough anyway, had heroic epic from farming barbs.



From there I just farmed everything up and coasted. I was hoping to just get AC to vote for me in UN using biology pop. I could have cheesed TAP but opted not. I think it would have easily work if he sat still like the usually peaceful AC. Instead he conquered into #1 land and diplovassaled the AI who build UN. Lincoln peace vassal, Bismark and Stalin both capped to him. Sigh, plan B. Crush HRE, kill SB since he wouldn't peace out before dying (...), give SB land to Stalin so he breaks free from AC. Lincoln does too, and diplovassals to me. That just left doing something about the space ship AC was working on.





Only other noteworthy thing is that I deliberately left a spot open for Lincoln on home island, then culture pressed it and stole techs at about half the base steal cost. Good value, never really had to worry about dated units in this one.

UN banned nukes so those were out of the field. Arty + mech + SAM had no issues, eventually upgraded the arty and SAM too.
 

Fish Man

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Did not go as planned, but I did a run:

Spoiler :


Did great wall/glh/mids. No rush to settle things to west, but Augustus was really far. Mostly just built farms and coasted off GLH income. Victoria was starting to get ahead of the field in tech, but still not close to rifles. I got circumnavigation and realized I could settle a cramped city on Vicky's island. I also realized she only had one source of iron, so I shuttled a bunch of medieval crap onto her island and then dropped 2x knight + pike onto the iron, pillaged next turn. Turned out she didn't tech for cuirs but you never know. She also was the AI that founded a bunch of religions and had sistine, so doing this ended culture win threat.

This phase went reasonably well. She didn't put up castles, and I could have blown those up easily enough anyway, had heroic epic from farming barbs.



From there I just farmed everything up and coasted. I was hoping to just get AC to vote for me in UN using biology pop. I could have cheesed TAP but opted not. I think it would have easily work if he sat still like the usually peaceful AC. Instead he conquered into #1 land and diplovassaled the AI who build UN. Lincoln peace vassal, Bismark and Stalin both capped to him. Sigh, plan B. Crush HRE, kill SB since he wouldn't peace out before dying (...), give SB land to Stalin so he breaks free from AC. Lincoln does too, and diplovassals to me. That just left doing something about the space ship AC was working on.





Only other noteworthy thing is that I deliberately left a spot open for Lincoln on home island, then culture pressed it and stole techs at about half the base steal cost. Good value, never really had to worry about dated units in this one.

UN banned nukes so those were out of the field. Arty + mech + SAM had no issues, eventually upgraded the arty and SAM too.

Nice game! What's interesting here is that you used mechs, which are a unit pretty much everyone here has dismissed and overlooked. I myself have a soft spot for all the lategame units...but others prefer to get the job done with the far earlier tanks + spies. Alternatively, and it's been a while so you may not be aware, but @Henrik75 sorta popularized the mobile artillery meta that I myself had independently developed a few years prior. I'm glad you had fun with the modern era toys, though!
 

TheMeInTeam

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I used mechs because the game went that late. First attacks after industrializing (which was very fast, I didn't abandon slavery until UN forced it and whipped factories and such with kremlin lol) were just usual infantry/arty with some SAM support quickly added.

The main issue with mobile arty is that you have to actually tech like a functional nation to get to them. Big, lumbering stacks of infantry/arty are barely a diversion after factory/power, and on some maps not too slow if you have enough boats.

Nukes are fun but UN gets in the way sometimes.

The main thing I don't like about spies is that more spies in one spot = more chances a spy is caught. If you do one spy/city they might still be caught, but can also fail the mission. Thus if you want reliability on city revolt, you have to use disproportionate investments to get it. I still use them, though. Both for stealing tech and sometimes for city revolt. They are proportionately even better in medieval conflicts, because even the strongest castle/chichen itza defenses will disappear while the city is in revolt. Also, gifting AI a newly settled trash city that is already under culture pressure is great, it pretty much will never get security bureau and in many cases even income from just having espionage buildings is enough to steal tech/5 turns for the rest of the game until target has nothing to steal.

I don't like medieval wars unless I can tip odds in favor using some combination of resource denial, promotion advantage (I built units at 5xp, they have 3), offensive trait, them not having defensive trait. However, the nice thing about them is that you really don't need a lot of economy other than maybe a bulb or two for trades and production. If you're attacking 3 xp units with 5xp units and target isn't defensive, the casualty trades you can manage with CR2 treb + mace work well. The one in this game was extremely easy, I'm out of practice and overbuilt units for it.
 

BornInCantaloup

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I think it was an excellent decision to go Macemen, here. Ideally, the war plunders would carry you to State Property in the process but you didn't fall that far off :thumbsup:
Did you overbuild units ? Well, better have a won war than not ! It's hard to argue with a won war.
 

TheMeInTeam

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I think it was an excellent decision to go Macemen, here. Ideally, the war plunders would carry you to State Property in the process but you didn't fall that far off :thumbsup:
Did you overbuild units ? Well, better have a won war than not ! It's hard to argue with a won war.

The reason I say I overbuilt units is in context of information that was available. I'm fine with what I had in the war at time I declared. My criticism of own play is that I a) had vision of all of her cities (espionage) and b) kept producing units after it was clear they wouldn't be needed. Some didn't even make it to the front before the target was dead, so that's definitely overbuilding haha.

Other than target of war, everyone else was teching badly due to a combination of AI being slow to clear settled land + wars + hating and thus not trading with each other. I had techs to trade away this entire conflict, and AIs were unwilling because not enough other AI had them yet. I only had to shut down space because I went full farming to try to pick up a UN win from friendly AIs...the other nations I attacked were backwards.

State property helped once I got it, but I wasn't in a rush for it. Colonial maintenance is capped at 2x distance modifier IIRC, and forbidden palace had most of the captured cities at < 5 maintenance after courthouse. I was already planning around that before I declared, figured I would only need SP for 3rd continent, and would have no trouble picking it up by then.

This map reminds me how much I miss stacking/transports in newer Civs. With circumnavigation bonus, even shuttling troops with galleys between islands is barely less efficient than moving over roads. Galleons/transports could operate unescorted, moving city to city (load troops, move to other city, unload, skip turn, then move back next turn). War ships do help though, keeping crap off fishing boats and allowing you to pick up a stack of troops and dump them next to cities to save movement time. Even before frigates which can also bombard before moving back.
 

BornInCantaloup

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The reason I say I overbuilt units is in context of information that was available. I'm fine with what I had in the war at time I declared. My criticism of own play is that I a) had vision of all of her cities (espionage) and b) kept producing units after it was clear they wouldn't be needed. Some didn't even make it to the front before the target was dead, so that's definitely overbuilding haha.
A classic case of tunnel vision, innocuous in the end. Some people 100% disregard their eco when at war. It could be worse. And you point out the mistake, so you're less likely to repeat it.

State property helped once I got it, but I wasn't in a rush for it. Colonial maintenance is capped at 2x distance modifier IIRC, and forbidden palace had most of the captured cities at < 5 maintenance after courthouse. I was already planning around that before I declared, figured I would only need SP for 3rd continent, and would have no trouble picking it up by then.
This is pretty slick !
 

Gwaja

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Whoa! And I was gone for a few days of vacation and I actually made @TheMeInTeam play Civ4! ^_^ Nicely done! You had a similar opening to mine, in terms of going wonder crazy :p I like how you took care of that little space ship problem. ^_^

So now... that you have a game under your belt... perhaps you may consider a permanent return? ^_^
 

TheMeInTeam

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I'm not really an on/off switch type of person that way. I don't announce that I'm leaving a game for a bit, and I can't promise I'll do lots more Civ 4. Lots of commitments and distractions.
 

Gwaja

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I'm not really an on/off switch type of person that way. I don't announce that I'm leaving a game for a bit, and I can't promise I'll do lots more Civ 4. Lots of commitments and distractions.

Still taking in your input as I always have done. It is so good to see a familiar name from the yester years. Even if you don't think you'd play this game much, many people including myself and BiC, would appreciate your popping in here once in a while instead of total disappearance.... not that I am not guilty of doing that myself... ^_^
 

Gwaja

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@Henrik75

Just got back from vacation and finished watching the rest of the YT video. Very efficient as always. I have never seen an AI plotting war against a human player for THAT LONG in any of my plays. But I think the Burger King map has this one beat by a mile. Almost to the level of Tokugawa map that Lain played while back.
 
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