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Ramses the cage fighter

Discussion in 'Civ 4 - Advanced Civ' started by Lanstro, Nov 2, 2020.

  1. Lanstro

    Lanstro Prince

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    Hi everyone, long time no see. I got sucked into the world of path of exile for the past few months, and am just re-emerging now.

    While waiting for the next AdvCiv update, I figured I'd give winning an emperor game while on the main continent on another go. As always, standard size, speed, all random civs, all win cons, random events on, goody huts on, bigs & smalls.

    We roll as Ramses on a decent corner of the world. Two good food sources, three hills, a river and the coast - can't complain:


    We settle in position and the hut gives us a map showing the oceans to the northeast, and fairly rich islands of gold and silver. A future goal:


    We choose to open with animal husbandry, as it will be much faster to open worker and pigs and mines than fishing boat, and also gives us the option of fast war chariots. Alternatively, Ramses is industrious, well suited to building the Great Lighthouse, and this is a pretty good capital for that. So that's the our default plan. Our warrior sets off southwest.

    On turn 3, our warrior meets an Ottoman scout. That's close.

    On turn 7, our warrior finds Carthage. Already obvious that we're going to be cramped:


    Animal husbandry finishes and we discover nearby horse:


    The capital builds worker, warrior, settler. The worker improves the pigs and a hill. By then, Carthage and the Ottomans had gobbled up the gems area, cornering us. Ramses is just a scrawny architect, but if you back a man into a corner, you leave him with no choice. So the worker then starts roading towards the horse, we settle Memphis south of the horse, and start building the pasture right away.

    After this, Ramses forgot to take screenshots for a long time as the red mist descended. A few fleeting memories of the carnage:
    * Thebes and Memphis built barracks and then war chariots non stop for the next ~3000 years. The sole worker improved mines and roads, and we made no pretense of infrastructure or cultural development
    * both Instanbul and Carthage had copper, so Ramses had to move fast before the straw cage around him turned bronze
    * the first 4 chariots were enough to capture Instanbul, which was defended by an axe and an archer, losing 1 chariot. Somehow they had created a great scientist before this, and so Istanbul came with an academy
    * the Ottomans only had one other city, which had no hope against the ~5 chariots we had at that point. It auto-razed and Ramses scored his debut career win at 1480BC
    * we found the Zulu on the other side of Instanbul, the Celts on the other side of Carthage, then Rome and the Khmer further back. This was a cramped map!
    * once the chariots healed up, we then took Carthage with ~6, losing 2. It was defended by two archers and a spear, so we got pretty lucky there
    * we lost 2 chariots on ~80% attacks on Carthaginian archers in the jungle, which set us back a bit and evened out the luck, but the endless onslaught of war chariots destroyed his empire at 850BC. We kept the three well-placed cities and burned the rest. 2-0 Ramses
    * we ended the war with about 8 chariots left over, and at that point they had their hands more than full putting down rebellions and fogbusting.
    * The Zulus looked weak (0.9 of our military), but we did not seem to be in any shape to push on. Our economy was in shambles - running a deficit of about 4 gpt even at 0% science. Wouldn't have been that much point in razing his empire, only to let barbs and the Celts take the land.
    * We invest the ~400 gold we had left over from pillaging into researching mathematics, and switch production to workers to start cottaging our lands, and started hitting the books
    * Instanbul runs two priests for a while (got some uses out of the obelisk!) and we settle the great priest there, which was the first step towards economic recovery. A while later Thebes pops a great scientist, which we also settle
    * Rome started a war with the Khmer. We sided with Caesar, cancelling trade relations with the Khmer. Rome took a city straight away but then eventually lost it and they peaced. Rome started liking me from here, and was the only one who would trade techs with me.
    * Hinduism (founded by the Celts) started spreading everywhere, so we found our spiritual side and converted.

    At 25AD, the unrest had mostly resolved, and our empire looked like this:

    The tech situation was not as bad as you might expect:

    And the rest of the world:

    You will see from those shots that Ramses had mostly retired from the ring at that point, planning to live off the riches of his fighting career and purchasing those tropical islands in due course. We had found our spiritual side, and our neighbour Shaka seemed not too threatening. We fill out our libraries and granaries, build some boats to explore, and start building barracks so we can stay in shape.

    We should have known that there wasn't enough space for everyone in this little cage. At 225AD, Brennus knocked on our door, and it wasn't a social call:

    We were not well prepared. Thankfully, he didn't have metal, our veteran war chariots were fast and could respond from all corners of the empire, and together with a couple of hastily upgraded spears, they made short work of Brennus' delegation.

    A turn after Brennus attacks, he bribed the Zulus into jumping me too. The Zulus don't make an immediate move, and Brennus came with another, smaller stack with a similar composition. It met a similar fate.

    Shaka then shows up to Istanbul with a stack of ~8 catapults, axes and archers. It met a similar fate.

    It is now 425AD, and Ramses the retired cage fighter is Not Happy. Here he was, trying to enjoy retirement and grow himself intellectually and spiritually, but these clowns had to come defecate all over his yard. They shall pay. They shall pay in blood. Our non-garrison army stands at 8 chariots (4 of which are combat III or better) and two axes. Our cities almost all have library/barracks/granary, and are pumping out more troops at good speed. The only question is - who dies first?

    If you want to play along, the 4000BC save is attached.
     

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    Last edited: Nov 2, 2020
  2. Lanstro

    Lanstro Prince

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    Seems to me to be a close call. Arguments for snuffing out Brennus first:
    • is a bigger long term threat
    • closer and easier to attack
    • has no metal it seems so shouldn't be too hard
    • if we do really well, we could eventually capture the Hindu holy city
    On the other hand, the Zulus have a smaller empire - take the two closest cities and he's already out of the game. But we can see swordsmen so he's got metal, we can see his capital has walls, and it could be quite a bloody battle to take it. If we left him alone, any attacks he launched against us would be on the flat lands north of Istanbul, which should be fairly easy to defend.

    Or we could go the hybrid approach, and take both the closest Celtic and Zulu cities, and reassess from there. That will get us 2-3 new luxuries, deny Shaka's copper, and make sure we don't get isolated from our main trade partners Rome. That's where I'm leaning.

    Your thoughts?
     
  3. Leoreth

    Leoreth Friend Next Door Moderator

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    I always forget how to parse BUG attitude icons, it seems Brennus is cautious and Shaka is annoyed? Regardless, Shaka will probably be impossible to keep happy and Brennus will always be a strong competitor. In my experience, if Shaka fails to get big quickly, he usually falls behind. So I would focus on Brennus instead. If he really has no metal, taking three cities should be feasible?
     
  4. Lanstro

    Lanstro Prince

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    Yes that's right on the attitudes.

    Taking 3 Brennus towns should be feasible, though noting he does have Duns up in one of the border towns already.

    I wonder if the Zulus will peace out if I take or raze just that first city, that'd probably be the ideal situation.
     
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  5. f1rpo

    f1rpo plastics

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    That's still with the latest stable release as far as I can tell. v0.98 wouldn't cramp players together like that I should hope. War Chariots really suggested themselves here. I guess they're a bit too powerful (but so are e.g. Immortals, and I'm not going to derail this thread with that kind of discussion). Gotta respect Brennus for keeping the game interesting after you had taken out two neighbors. I kind of doubt that Shaka will want to make peace so long as Brennus is still in the war and unscathed. Taking Verlamion and maybe Gergovia, both unwalled, could later allow you to support Rome against the Khmer or vice versa, depending on which of the two looks more dangerous. That said, those Celtic cities will be expensive in terms of distane maintenance. By the way, I don't suppose Rome could be hired to attack the Celts? Oh, Brennus could soon get to Feudalism; the AI generally prioritizes that tech. So my instinct would be to take a bite out of him while he's vulnerable.
     
  6. Lanstro

    Lanstro Prince

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    Busy couple of weeks - only got to have a short session today.

    Re what version the game's on, yes it should be the last stable release.

    Re war chariots and immortals being too powerful - would agree. 5-10 more hammer cost might be enough to bring them back into 'powerful but not -too- powerful'. Anyway...

    We left off having crushed some pretty pathetic Celtic and Zulu stacks, and out for blood. We decided to try to take a bite out of Brennus because he didn't seem to have metal, and start gathering our strength at Hadremetum.

    We had a chariot off to the west exploring the Roman and Khmer lands. Bringing it back east, we spot that Brennus is actually more dangerous than we thought. A couple of war elephants, a few celtic warriors, several catapults. Someone must be feeding him ivory and iron. This was not going to be as simple as we thought. In fact, those elephants would slaughter everything we had.

    The Zulus also start massing another stack at the border - around 7 assorted iron age units - nothing that scary, but also could not be ignored.

    Then, it happened - Brennus was willing to talk. And all he wanted for peace was 10 dollars. It was a tough call, but we decide to take it. We remember that prior to the war, we were selling him a handful of resources for around 12 gpt, and this would also allow us to concentrate our forces against the Zulu and hopefully cripple him. We sign a testy peace, sell Brennus our resources again, and swing our forces north. The Zulu town was ours without much trouble shortly afterwards. Meantime, we eye Brennus' border city warily, for he was surely coming again soon:


    We push on to Ulundi (now with four catapults), and are met by walls and around 10 assorted units. It takes us four turns to knock down the walls, during which time he even snuck around and retook his city with Impis, but we promptly take it back. By the time the walls were down, he had 17 units. We had no realistic prospect of taking Ulundi, we pick off a few stray units he had around the capital, and peace out.

    While this was all happening, we notice that Brennus was willing to be bribed to war Khmer. Of course, we had nothing to offer him given our abysmal tech rate, so we try asking him nicely and... it worked?! He moved his ominous stack at the border away, and so began a lengthy and seemingly fruitless war. Even with Rome joining the war later, not much seemed to happen.

    So the challenge now was to patch up our terrible economy. There wasn't a whole lot we could do, but half price forges, markets that were quite effective given we were at 30% science, a few trades for luxuries and improving the incense and later wine in our territory helped. Brennus and Shaka opened borders a little later too, helping a little more. By 1080AD, we were still well behind Brennus and Caesar, but had more or less caught up to the Zulu, and were teching at around 80 beakers/turn:


    Our cities are reasonably large, with four cities at size 9+, and a reasonable mix of cottages and hills. Brennus is now +7 with us, after having used our resources and opened borders for many years. Our military is roughly on par with everyone else. Perhaps it's time for another crack at the Zulus, who probably have no more than this stack:


    Our own army is no bigger than that, but with four good cities, it would not take long to build something to take him out. It seems the obvious next move from here.

    More broadly, I am a little concerned that the Khmer probably won't be able to hold out much longer. They don't seem to have lost anything so far, but they're falling behind on the tech, and Caesar and Brennus are both getting large. Fingers crossed they can keep up the fight for a few more centuries - we're not in any real position to contest Brennus right now.
     
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  7. Lanstro

    Lanstro Prince

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    Another short session, but a potentially important one. We leave off scheming against the Zulu.

    Our concerns from last session are realised almost immediately. Brennus takes a Khmer city. He invites us to join the war - sure, why not. Then he takes another city, and peaces.

    In the meantime, we manage to complete compass first, and trade it to Rome and the Celts for monotheism, horseback riding and about 500 gold. We adopt organised religion, which is Brennus' favourite civic, and he now loves us. By the end of the session, he's +14 with us. The gold fuels our research into code of laws, which again we are relatively early to, and we part-trade it for civil service. Courthouses and harbours were just too juicy to ignore, so we build them instead of further military - doesn't take long with organised religion. Our tech rate isn't good by any means, but it's not terrible any more.

    We then tech optics so we can have a better look at the treasure islands. Our caravel almost immediately finds what should be the last civ in the game and our new favourite tech trading partner, Gilgamesh:


    A quickfire series of trades over the next turns with Gilgamesh and others nets us Aesthetics, Engineering, Drama, Meditation, Feudalism and Brennus' world map. We're still several techs behind the leaders, but solidly in front of the Zulus and hugely in front of the Khmer.

    Speaking of whom, are now tiny:


    Note that Caesar has converted to Taoism like the heathen that he is. A religious dust-up with Brennus is surely on the horizon.

    We've got a caravel headed east and another west. We should have no problems getting the circumnavigation bonus, and should spot any worthwhile islands to settle first.

    Shaka now have almost 30 units in his capital - similar size to our offensive stack. Taking it will be messy and expensive. But a devious scheme is forming, one that looks something like this:


    If this succeeds, we will waltz in and take his capital and our people will hail me as a genius. But will he actually fall for it, or will he just thank me for my techs while mocking me from his throne?
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2020
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  8. f1rpo

    f1rpo plastics

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    Selecting Brennus on the Foreign Advisor should reveal such deals. Well, in screenshot 14, Caesar has two Iron and a lot of Ivory, so he was probably the supplier – and probably wouldn't have agreed to an embargo.
    I don't suppose it's worth trying to debug that AI decision. I'm guessing that your increased unit production (uptick in power curve) convinced the AI that the war was deadlocked. Unfortunately the projected course of a war tends to tilt rather abruptly. An expectation of taking just Hadrumetum is already very different from a stalemate.
    My best bet is that Brennus already had a war plan against Sury. Seeing that he was Pleased with you and perhaps Cautious, more likely Annoyed, toward Sury, this seems fair enough. Starting a war that the human player isn't involved in is a strange thing to ask for as a gift. Maybe the AI shouldn't ever agree to that, but, then, securing the 10-turn peace treaty with you (and hurting your relations with Sury) actually seems helpful for Brennus.
    This really doesn't reflect positively on the AI though.

    Good choice I think. Didn't look like it was worth the invested production and diplo penalties from the other Hindus. And you'll grow soon enough through Galleons.
    Confucianism, from Sury. Proselytization by getting conquered.™
    Will result in a peace treaty, but could still be worth a try. Will have to give his units time to move away anyway. He still has Open Borders with Caesar I suppose.
     
  9. Lanstro

    Lanstro Prince

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    A busy session that has left things delicately poised.

    We left off plotting against Shaka. Bit of a theme here. But this time, we actually execute.

    We hedge our bets on the devious scheme. Instead of bribing him with 3 techs for war, we instead give him his old city back. The city wasn't doing a whole lot for us anyway, and this ensures he's still in the stone age in case the plan backfires.

    As we hoped, this sets off a hive of activity for old Shaka. He moves 5 units to his returned city, and a stack of 15 heads off towards the Khmer. We escort his invasion force with a chariot... to um... guide him. Around 8 turns later, the chariot reports that the stack disappeared over the dark blue border to the far southwest.

    In the meantime, we see that our newest friend does not respect our 4000BC territorial claims to the treasure islands. So much for our overseas expansion. We secure the circumnavigation bonus, get Gilgamesh's map, and see that he's actually got quite a well-developed naval empire:


    The leaders start pulling away from us on tech. While we're teching paper, Rome is already on Education. While we're on Printing Press, he's on Liberalism. While we're on Education, Brennus is on Replaceable Parts. It's not pretty. At least Printing Press got us Astronomy, Guilds and Philosophy from Gilgamesh and Brennus. The only thing that's kind of keeping us in the tech race is building the University of Sankore, which is probably worth close around 40 beakers for us. Oh - and we discovered that Ulundi actually had the Pyramids, so representation is also a huge help.

    On the turn the peace treaty with Zulu expires, Brennus declares war on the Khmer again. We don't think he would have declared war on us in any case, but that makes us feel even safer. We strike. The capital falls within three turns, the border town changes hands for the fifth time. In typical Shaka fashion, he refuses to capitulate. We spend the next couple of dozen turns slowly taking his cities one by one. Most have walls so it is not fast. At some point, the ragtag remains of his invasion force to the Khmer return (being around 3 catapults and a horse archer), and we put it out of its misery with our veteran war chariots from the ancient wars. Quite satisfying.

    Then, at 1560AD, around 25 turns into the session, what we foresaw came to pass - Caesar declared holy war on Brennus. At the start of the war, Caesar's strength was around 1.9 of mine and Brennus around 1.5, and Caesar had a tech lead but it wasn't huge. We hope that Brennus can hold on for a bit while we clean up the Zulus. That's how it plays out for a few turns - the two of them trade towns and squabble over the old Khmer lands. A few turns later, our spies spot the terrifying Roman stack, and it's apparent that the status quo will not be holding much longer:


    Brennus asks us to stop trading with Rome. We're too scared (and too greedy about all the resource trades with Caesar) to agree. Next turn, Caesar cancels his open borders with us anyway. Brennus is now only +7 with us, but I suppose we don't really care at this point. Caesar is -5.

    It is now 1600AD, and we pause to catch our breath. Shaka was serious when he said 'over my dead body' in relation to vassalisation, so Ramses claims his third career win.

    We hadn't really been keeping up with the military, and what's left of our forces will be mostly busy pacifying the former Zulu territories:


    Despite our army dwindling through the war, Caesar's army ratio is still at a manageable 2.0 and Brennus at 1.6. Our cities have solid production capabilities, so we could crank out a respectable army reasonably quickly if required.

    We had also sent a few settlers out to contest the islands and slow Gilgamesh down, and have settled these in the south:


    Brennus is clearly on the back foot. The Roman offensive stack is not much smaller than what was in the last screenshot, pushing into the Celts' southern borders. The nearby Celtic stack is less than half the size of the Romans':


    If he loses that, all he has left it seems are smallish garrison stacks. Rome is currently teching chemistry (well before anyone else), and will probably get to rifling well before Brennus (albeit that's still some time away):

     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2020
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  10. Lanstro

    Lanstro Prince

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    So that leaves us in a tight spot. Even though we've taken out 3 civs, we're still easily last in all respects. Caesar looks about to run away with the game, but that doesn't necessarily mean that helping Brennus out is the right play. We still don't share any borders with Caesar, and so it would be difficult to take and keep any of his towns. Brennus is on the back foot, but at the same time, a little tip of the scales the other way and he could well become the runaway. It's tough.

    On the other hand, perhaps we can just spend 20 turns watching what develops, getting the unrest in the Zulu regions under control, and look to suck up a few scraps of Brennus when it's opportune. This is certainly the easier short term option. Runs the giant risk though of him capitulating to Caesar, which if it happens will probably be game over on the spot. Even if that doesn't happen, what do we do after Brennus goes down? Caesar will probably come after me shortly afterwards, and it would be difficult to hold our ground in that sort of war.

    A third option is to sail out aggressively and take all the barbarian island cities, which you can see in the previous island screenshots. This would require investment in another 3-4 galleons, leave very little on the mainland, and be quite a financial hit in the short term. It would however keep a lid on Gilgamesh, and maximises chances of access to coal and oil later.

    It's a tough one. I'm leaning towards at least taking the two barb cities near my islands, while seeing how the war develops over the next 5 turns. If they more or less break even, we will plot against Brennus and take his holy cities in another devious scheme. We are after all, not just a cage fighter but also a cagey fighter. If Caesar starts running rampant though, unfortunately it may be time to intervene. We still have a handful of catapults left over, and if we ambush his main stack at the right moment it should be a pretty efficient win. After that, I suppose if we took some of Caesar's former Khmer lands, it won't be too difficult to hold them as nobody will be particularly dominant culturally there.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2020
  11. f1rpo

    f1rpo plastics

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    Tech situation: Caesar might do Military Science after Chemistry, and then Steel. I guess going for Rifling is your best bet (seeing that you already have Printing Press and won't be able to trade for Chemistry anytime soon), and perhaps Military Tradition for Cavalry – if Caesar indeed focuses on Grenadiers and Cannons.

    If the Barbarian cities are only defended by piles of Archers (and no Walls), then two or three Maces could be enough to whittle them away.

    Perhaps a small commitment of troops would suffice to somewhat stabilize Brennus. It seems that Crossbowmen could be effective at reinforcing Brennus' garrisons against that stack of Roman Macemen; though Rome has some mounted units too. (I hope, for the sake of the AI, that Caesar wouldn't immediately make peace with Brennus if you declared war on Caesar, but I'm not sure.) If you can simply keep the war in the balance, with Brennus as your meat shield, you could probably eventually out-tech Caesar (by virtue of having more civs to trade with). Gilgamesh could go for a Space victory, but, given that he has only 5 (6?) cities on his main continent, it should be feasible to take out his capital in the nick of time.

    Well, hopefully the path forward will become clearer over the next few turns.

    Regarding Shaka's non-capitulation: The "take it from our cold, dead hands" reply means that too few of your units were inside his borders. I've added that condition in order to make sure that the AI doesn't capitulate in situations when the would-be master has, at least for the moment, run out of steam. Come to think of it, the "cold, dead" part is pretty misleading. "Come and get it"? "Make me"? Difficult to hint at the condition in a flavorful way.
     
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  12. Lanstro

    Lanstro Prince

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    Re Shaka, this was me with pretty decent ~10-25 unit stacks knocking down his walls. Eg see screenshot 16 above. Would've been very happy to vassalise him at any point after I took Ulundi, but at no point was he willing to bend the knee.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2020
  13. Lanstro

    Lanstro Prince

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    Another short session. We left off worrying about Brennus' ability to hold off Caesar, while deciding to go take a couple of barb island towns.

    We move around 8 veterans from the Zulu lands back to our capital, and pack them off to ships. Unfortunately, it turns out that Kazakh actually has some metal, and it moves out with a sword, a spear and an axe on Alexandria. We have no hope of holding with 1 war chariot, and Alexandria is razed well before our veterans can arrive.

    Meanwhile, somehow Brennus hangs in there against Caesar. Caesar takes Neapolis back, but appears to lose the vast majority of his forces soon afterwards. A dozen bloody turns later, Brennus takes Neapolis back. Their army ratios sit at 1.6 and 1.4 at this point - they've fought each other to a standstill, thank goodness. We take the opportunity to greedily build some more infrastructure - observatories, unis and grocers. By the end of the session, our best cities have completed these buildings and are back building settlers and military.

    In the Zulu regions, our ragtag and outdated army has a lot of trouble keeping the natives under control. At any given time, one of the ex Zulu cities is in rebellion, but theatres and temples are going up slowly. In another couple of dozen turns, we might be able to move some of these units out.

    On the tech front, we finish education and notice nobody has economics yet or appear to be researching it, so we go for it. We settle the free merchant, trade economics to Gilgamesh for liberalism, and research gunpowder. We start researching scientific method - it'll hurt a lot losing our Sankore-fueled monasteries, but it has to be done sooner or later, and we don't urgently need military techs any more. We'll be able to trade it to Gilgamesh for replaceable parts and maybe something misc other techs too, and as long as we execute that trade as late as possible, we should be able to nab one if not both the free great people at physics/communism. We can always stop at 1 turn before finishing it too in case something more pressing comes up.

    By 1670, we have taken Kazakh and have a replacement settler ready to sail down to resettle Alexandria. We also notice that the barbs took Sumeria's Gursu, and we are now racing him to take it back first (the circumnavigation bonus is coming in handy!):

    If we win that race, which we should, we will have a lock on all the southern islands. Once all the Zulu and island cities come online properly, we will be in a strong economic position.

    The Caesar v Brennus war has simmered down a bit, and the borders are basically the same as at the start of the conflict. We haven't seen any Roman stacks for quite a few turns now, and as far as we can tell, Brennus' stacks are just garrisons:


    Of course, note that the Romans have started on rifling, and that will turn the war.

    So why did we stop at this fairly uninteresting point? It seems we've run into a bug - despite having open borders with both Gilgamesh and the Celts, and being in free markets, our cities are all only running internal trade routes as if we were in mercantilism. We've only just noticed this, and this is costing us a heap of gpt and eliminating our main advantage over Rome. Could someone have a look and see if I'm missing something?
     

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    Last edited: Nov 18, 2020
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  14. f1rpo

    f1rpo plastics

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    They're both in Mercantilism. :whew:
    Kazakh has apparently been supplying the nearby Barbarian cities with Iron – via coastal tiles. Kind of interesting, but also unexpected. Barbarian workers don't connect cities with roads in AdvCiv, so, normally, they can't share strategic resources. Maybe I'll disable the Sailing/ Astronomy ability for Barbarians.
    I guess it's the known issue with the gap (a.k.a. Musketman) between Medieval units and Rifleman/ Grandier; and you having paused your military research and unit production and upgrades for a while. Still, pretty high culture pressure in those Zulu cities.
    That's a righteous stack. If you happen to have a savegame ...
     
  15. Lanstro

    Lanstro Prince

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    Thanks for checking re the trade routes. Gilgamesh doesn't like me enough to be persuaded to go into free markets. In that case, I suppose we may as well jump into Mercantilism for now too.

    In this save, you can move a 22-unit stack next to Shaka's second last city, and he won't entertain a capitulation.
     

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  16. f1rpo

    f1rpo plastics

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    Um... that's from AD 1655. Shaka was defeated in 1600.
     
  17. Lanstro

    Lanstro Prince

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    Sorry here's the right one.
     

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  18. f1rpo

    f1rpo plastics

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    Location:
    Germany
    Thanks. There's a numeric overflow. I think it wouldn't have occurred at that point if Shaka wasn't far less powerful than everyone else. So, in a way, he was too ripe for capitulation. I'm guessing that you've upgraded to v0.98 because this bug doesn't exist in v0.97c (and I can't even load the save with v0.97c). Will be fixed in v0.98b. (I'll hurry up with that if someone else gets close to capitulation.)
     
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  19. Lanstro

    Lanstro Prince

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2004
    Messages:
    325
    Eventful session ahead. We leave off a little concerned about Brennus' ability to hold off Caesar's upcoming rifles, and racing to capture Sumeria's Gursu from the barbarians. We adopt mercantilism because it's kind of pointless being a free marketeer in this world.

    Gursu poses no problems. Gilgamesh is right nearby with a galleon, so we have to assault amphibiously, but this is easily achieved by our veteran macemen. We ship more units around the islands, and by the end of the session have secured all the southern islands as well as Ainu far to the northwest.

    We are relieved to see that Brennus starts researching rifling too - he'll get there only a few turns after Caesar, so it shouldn't change the balance of the war much. We notice that Brennus had moved into free religion at some point, dropping his relationship with us to -3 or so. Bit of a concern, but not really a problem while he's at war with Caesar. In good news for us, their war drags on for another 100 years, with no real progress, allowing us to pacify the Zulu regions, disband some of the worst outdated units, and fire up our economy.

    A scientist pops, we use it for a golden age, and we decide to take a detour from scientific method, working instead on chemistry, spare parts and steam power. However, halfway through steam power, we notice that Gilgamesh has made a start on scientific method, so we have to finish it. Upon completion, we that Gursu has not just one but two oils - ha!


    And looking around, guess who doesn't have oil? This will be great later on:


    In 1765, our neighbours declare peace. Oh no. We start shipping back some of our macemen who were roleplaying vikings. Rome asks for open borders, and we accept.

    We then tech towards communism. Gilgamesh races us, but our head start is too much. The great spy together with another scientist that had popped starts another golden age. State property is fantastic for us given the size of our empire, and we shoot up to just under 1000 beakers/turn during this golden age - finally feeling good about our relative tech rate.

    Then Brennus converts back to Hinduism. Hooray! We're back to +10 with him, life is good. Due to the attitude change, he's also willing to trade techs again - we trade him half of scientific method for nationalism, then communism for rifling and misc techs like music and theology. We are now only 1-2 inconsequential techs behind the others, with what feels like a much faster tech rate. We make a start on physics, and see that nobody else seems to be going for it. Life is good.

    But wait, what do we see here?


    He can't declare war at +10 relations right? When we talk to him and ask whether he's willing to declare war on Gilgamesh, he says he's already too busy. Oh no. This is terrible timing for us - the strength ratio is 2.0, half our army is overseas, we don't quite have airships for aerial superiority yet, and we don't have any riflemen yet. We pay him 300 bucks to adopt organised religion, and get relations to +11. But the stack keeps growing. We have never been backstabbed by a 'friendly' AI before, but this sure looks like what's happening...

    We cease all research and pump all funds into upgrading our veterans into riflemen. But it's too late. Brennus declares war a few turns later, moving in with a stack of 22, half of which were rifles. Our stack at the time was about 8 rifles and 10 trebuchets/catapults, and we are forced to abandon Hadrumetum.

    Of course, our veterans were mostly double promoted city raider maces, and now get to apply that bonus on the forces now sitting in Hadrumetum. Over the next two turns, we kill about 15 of his units with the loss of only about 3 rifles and 4 trebuchets. Both sides are now battered, but our stack in the area is now larger, at 18 to 11:


    At the same time, Brennus moved a small stack of around 7 rifles towards Ulundi. We have nothing of substance in the area, and fall back. We have a few fresh off the boat mace/rifles on the way, but taking it back won't be a quick process.

    Before ending the turn though, we notice that Brennus is willing to make this trade:


    Certainly tempting. We're about to lose Ulundi anyway, and that city is worse. We are also surely teching faster than him now, and with more macemen returning from overseas and a few airships out, could return in 10 turns to repay him, with interest. Perhaps we can even pull our trademark move, and bribe him to war with Caesar first. If all goes to plan, by the time Brennus goes down, the first oil-fuelled units will be arriving on the battlefield, and some poor person as I recall doesn't have any...
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2020
  20. f1rpo

    f1rpo plastics

    Joined:
    May 22, 2014
    Messages:
    941
    Location:
    Germany
    Regarding Brennus' DoW: My guess is that it didn't take Brennus long to commence and conclude war preparations against you after the Romano-Celtic peace, and that war was already imminent when he switched back into Hinduism. At that point, attitude gets reduced to a minor consideration – unless the war remains imminent for a long time. (In BtS, war is already -essentially- inevitable once preparations have begun.) What was the timeline here? There were "a few turns" (3 or more?) in between switching the Celts into Org. Religion and the DoW. The Celtic switch out of Free Religion (into Theocracy presumably) must've happened at least 5 turns before that. If war became imminent before relations became Friendly, then war must've been imminent for at least 8 turns. That's ... quite some time. The current formula for the affection weight is
    std::min(1.0, 0.08 * std::max(1, iWarPlanStateCounter - 4));
    That would be 32% after 8 turns of imminent war, 48% after 10 turns. (100% during and before war preparations, which, I like to think, would've been enough to stay Brennus' hand, at least as you were increasing your military build-up.) As usually, I'm undecided if that's fair enough. Canceling a war at the last minute can be pretty wasteful for the AI ...
     

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