RBD9 SG - Five Russian Cities

Jaffa Tamarin

Monkey Cult
Dec 5, 2001
RBD five-city-challenge game.

Civ: Russians.
Difficulty: Emperor.
Opponents: 6 (random).
Map: Standard.
Landform: Continents.

Other settings random (unless people have requests :) ).

Victory conditions: Space Race, Conquest, Domination (aim to win by space race, the others are for the AI).



We have six players -- I was thinking five, which would allow for each player to found one city. Six is okay, if somebody doesn't mind not getting to choose a city site/name.

For the first round, first four players should each establish a city and play up to the point where they have a settler ready to go for the next player. Player five plays 10-or-so turns to bring the game up to a nice round year number. After that, 10 turns each.

This is intended to be a lower priority game until some of the other ongoing RBD games are finished. Turns should be short, though.

I'll likely start the game on Saturday.
Sounds good Jaffa.

Russia... Scientific and Expansionist. Interesting on the latter - you're right, the scout should help a LOT in recon to decide the best locations for our cities. Also should help us run the wind after goodie huts. You didn't mention Barbarians, but top aggressive would probably work well - give us some mil experience, and hurt the non-Expansionist AI's a little more.

Russians start with Bronze Working and Pottery. With only 5 cities and less expanding to do, 5CC usually can afford to go for more wonders, and earlier. This is offset by the fact we're at emperor diff. Half-GA wonders include Colossus, useless Lighthouse, Great Library and the science wonders. Also good later are Sistine, and ToE. Leos, SunTzu, Pyramids would be more to deny. Bard's theatre would benefit 20% of our nation! The Great Lib would be nice to get, as always, since our science output will be low, and since it would let us save up a nice bankroll.

The other thing to keep in mind is that we won't be able to found a city later to 'grab a resource'. The wheel for horses and Iron Working to see where iron is... the earlier the better!! Depending on Geography too, having a solid 'choke point' is really of great value in 'low #city' challenges.

I think there are going to be a few wonders that are going to be absolutely crucial, others are going to be downright useless.

Pyramids and lighthouse I don't think will be worth it. Denial is wonderful, if we can manage it, but I'm not sure that we'll have the surplus to fight for denial. If we can, though, pyramids wouldn't be bad.

Oracle might even be good for us from a utility perspective. Happy people are working people, and our cities are going to be much larger than most people's. Ditto hanging gardens. I think these will be prioritiy wonders.

Great wall is worthless. Great library is kinda iffy. We're going to be running heavy trade, which makes it both unnecessary and very desirable. We could profit by it, but we also don't need it. Hopefully we'll manage it, though.

Edit: Colossus! I knew I'd missed something. This is a definite must have, if we get a coastal city. It's usually not very heavily contested, it keeps our science up, and it improves with big cities, which we will certainly have.

Sun Tzu wouldn't be very helpful, denial only. Barracks are cheap as dirt, and easy to make for only 5 cities. Leo's, I think, would be fairly useful. We're going to keep most of our units for a LONG time, so cheap upgrades are a good thing. But not if it costs us...

The Sistine Chapel. THE wonder, IMHO. We need every happy person we can squeeze, and this will do a lot of squeezing. JS Bach's Cathedral and Shakespeare's Theatre are much the same way, to a lesser extent.

Newton's and Copernicus' strike me as must haves as well. They'll be essential to tech parity with so few cities, if we go for a space race victory. Put these two in our highest tech city, and we've got ourselves a powerhouse.

Past that, I don't think it will be much of a problem. We'll be outproducing them by a fair margin (if everything goes to plan), so whatever we want is ours. But, just for good measure, Hoover and ToE are the critical ones in the industrial era. We're not going to be very war weary, are we? SETI is a must for the modern era tech push; the other wonders are barely worth looking at, let alone getting.

So, rundown: (* maybe not necessary?)

Hanging Gardens
*Great Library

Sistine Chapel
*Leonardo's Workshop
*J.S. Bach's Cathedral
Shakespeare's Theatre
Copernicus' Observatory
Newton's University

Theory of Evolution
Hoover Dam

SETI Program

This seems a lot of wonders to get in the middle ages. We're going to have to either push a tech lead, which means likely not coasting with the GL, or we're going to have to get leaders. Or just massively, massively outproduce everyone else.

Any thoughts? Have I missed anything crucial? Ideas for wonders to include/throw out?
- Colossus would probably be more useful to us as an early wonder than Oracle... on a small map 1CC game, Colossus + Copernicus + Newton is enough to keep tech parity until ToE becomes available, even without trading much, so it should be just as viable in a 5CC. Plus Colossus doesn't expire until Flight -- shortly before Computers. :) We also start out with the tech needed to build it as a small added bonus. Of course if we gan get both Colossus and Oracle, so much the better.

- If we deliberately skip the Great Library we will not trigger a GA until we get near the end of the Renaissance era with Newton's (or Cossacks) which is probably a good thing. If we get the Colossus there's no reason we ought to need the Great Library.

- Universal Suffrage is good to get because we can. The cascade will be over by then, and the AI will not prebuild, while we will. End of story. :) We will probably be doing a lot of wonder building because we will be able to get all our core cities' improvements done much quicker than the AI can -- we won't be wasting time pumping out hordes of workers or settlers, and we won't have corruption problems, so we may be able to grab the majority of the Renaissance-era wonders without too much difficulty.

EDIT: Don't underestimate the value of denying the AI a civ-wide wonder like Pyramids or Sun Tzu. Delaying our opponents by forcing them to build granaries and barracks at every corrupt little town that needs them is a good way to slow down their unit buildups and expansion, as well as hurting them when they want to wage war. It's definately on a "if it doesn't hurt our ability to build a wonder we really want" basis however. In fact, I'd rate grabbing Pyramids over grabbing Oracle on that basis.
I liked both preceeding comments except for one small detail...

... we're on Emperor.

We won't be outproducing, and in fact if what we've seen is what we get for area, we're toast for wonders. Getting one, two max, wonders in combined ancient and middle ages seems about par for emperor. They'll out produce us, out sciece us, out military us.
Our **only** advantage is the ability to prebuild. Also, we'll need to make key city improvments in our cities and don't have many to 'spare' for extra duties. I would call the Sistine as top 'must get' wonder, and the Great Libary and Colossus as "well, if we can, great, but we won't lose sleep if we don't get. The Oracle and hanging gardens just plain don't last and aren't worth the shields.

I'll take your word for it, you've had much more emperor experience than I have.

If we can't get that many, then yes, the Sistine Chapel is the must have. Hopefully we can get THAT, at least.

But if we're not able to get many wonders, we're going to either have a LOT of military hanging around, or we're going to be using the "wealth" option a fair bit. That would not be good.

Infrastructure is going to go up at record speed, and we've only got 5 cities to defend. Plus, all of our tiles are going to be at maximum production for nearly the entire game. I mean, we've only got 85 tiles, total. How long could it take to get them all roaded and mined/irrigated?

So, I hope you're being pessimistic, Charis. Wonders are just about all we'll have to build. If the AI outbuilds us, even with such a concentrated empire, so be it, but it's more or less the only thing we have to try.
Actually, I agree with the idea of going for, and getting, more wonders. Charis sees "Emperor" but may be locked into patterns of expansionism in his thinking and foresight. I know he's tried the OCC, though. So it should occur to him that the usual need to continue building more and more settlers and units will vanish, leaving us the option to build more wonders.

A lot is going to depend on our land, our neighbors, and the lay of resources. With cultural victory disabled, our goal here is wholly the space race. If we get food bonuses at our capital, expansion to our five cities will happen more quickly. We could afford to build two settlers and then still grab an early wonder, if the land is strong.

Golden age may be overrated, but then again, the idea of passing on the Great Library for the sake of a later GA may be cutting off our nose to spite our face. Since the patch, early-years tech trading has become a TOTAL farce. Things still seem cozy in the later years, but from a cold start, it is now nothing short of Player vs The World. The AI's trade freely with one another but now shun the player. Why? I do not know. It may be related to government, as they seem "normal" with later-game games that have been ongoing, but sure are giving me the business in every new game I start. Thus Charis does have one point there: we're going to be climbing out of a hole.

I'm personally VERY disappointed with the new AI trading scheme. Sure, it makes the game harder, and harder is a good thing, but THIS kind of harder totally destroys my suspension of disbelief. I had more than enough of that crap of Me vs The Rest of the World in Civ2. That's one reason that game had such a short shelf life for me, the game was always the same no matter what happened. The AI's had no real feel to them, no diversity, and no depth, just a bunch of wholly interchangeable parts in a big conspiracy to combine to defeat the human player.

I'm not the only one noticing this new "Human vs AI Team" feel the game has taken on. There are a number of people growling about it in various threads. Moving AWAY from that nonsense was one of the biggest achievements of Civ III, one of the most vital improvements that brought me back to Civ, after I had sat out for several installments, waiting for a better AI to come along.

I have found myself losing interest in the ancient game now, since the new patch. I mean wholesale, like "what am I bothering wasting my time on this for" kind of disinterest. This is not a good sign. Whatever else has to be done to beef the AI's, it can't go down the road of giving them cheats, as opposed to advantages, or it's going to lose me. And this new "odd man out" trading system for the human player in the ancient era feels like that.

As such, the Great Library may now be the most urgent item in the game at high difficulty, to catch the player up to the AI's and get out of Despotism, wherein they seem entirely unwilling to sell the player RoP's or anything else. In fact, beelining to Monarchy may now become a vital strategy, IF in fact this new penalty is tied to the player being in despotism. I can't get a RoP any more, nor even trade techs three for one, while the AI's "combine" all their knowledge the moment they make contact. I-- don't know what to think of these changes, but I am not excited about them, rather the opposite, quite concerned.

At first, I thought the Right of Passage was totally FUBAR, but it seems to be working "normally" in all our ongoing RBD games. Just that I can't get one going in any of my new Emperor starts, and I haven't figured it out yet as I've abandoned all four of them now, before getting to the middle age. I start feeling "Civ 2 deja vu" all over again, it stops being fun, and I'm out of there. Even at LAST-CIV costs, they want an arm and a leg now in the ancient age for tech, and so they end up combining as a team amongst themselves, but the human player isn't invited to the party and has to research everything himself, one way or another (paying outrageous prices is just as bad).

The game is NOT weak in the ancient age, just closing the poprush loopholes takes care of that. Where the game breaks down completely is at rails. Rails convey such a massive strategic military advantage to the player, the AI's have no hope, because they can't recognize the scope of the threat, nor use artillery worth snot, nor defend themselves against the human's ability to mass his whole army at a point of attack or defense. The game balance is out of whack now because the AI's have to be given a MASSIVE head start to be able to win. If they player can get to rails at all, the game is pretty much over then, once you know what you're doing. Yet if the head start is too massive, it's no fun that way either. You pretty much get pushed into all the cheap and nasty tricks you can find to get an edge any way you can. I'm not turned on by that, either. I guess this is another example of overkill? They tried to fix poprushing not only with negative happiness, but also increased penalty durations? And they fix trading problems by changing the AI's to where they simply won't make fair deals with the player any more? Hmm. My excitement for this patch was quite high, but I do not find that translating to more fun in the games, just more frustration. I'm no longer sure this was a step in the right direction, though clearly some things are better now.

Am I just that hard to please, as a gamer??? As much as I want to thrive on this game, the latest patch promised much but is delivering some confusion. I don't think it was such a good idea for them to "include surprises" in with the things they did. I could be misinterpreting some of this, but just the idea of NOT KNOWING, of playing in the dark and trying to piece it out from my experiences, smacks of Diablo II to me, and reminding me about that game is a distinctly BAD idea. You know? :)

I'm losing some faith in their judgement here. These are the first changes I've seen where I'm scratching my head wondering what are they thinking with this?

So what are we left with? Play normally at Regent/Monarch, then cruise to easy victory in the industrial age? Or scratch, claw, and pray for survival in Emperor/Deity, climbing out of a huge hole in which, if you can just somehow survive until the industrial age, you then have the means to compete? One way, the early game is fun, then the late game is a hassle. The other way, the early game is the big hassle, then the late game MIGHT be fun, or at least a little less certain. Blah. It may be asking for a lot, but it sure would be nice if the game could be played fun in both parts, and if fixes to make it harder left the well-balanced ancient and middle ages alone, and focused on improving the impoverished AI performance in the late stages.


With 5cc, and once our cities are all founded, what else will they have to be doing while we wait for tech to come online BUT to be building some wonders?

I guess we'll just have to see when we get in there.

- Sirian
By the by... how's this for ironic? The changes to the tech trading in ancient times now makes ancient war FAR more appealing/rewarding than peace. (Oh yeah, JUST what the game needs, more leaning/rewards/incentives to push the players into ancient warfare. :rolleyes: ). Bully one or two of the AI's in on the Good Ole Boys tech trading network and work them over for techs in the peace negotiations -- most rapid way to advance, now that peaceful builder players are getting thumbscrewed by the new trading "options". Back to the "Vassal State" method from the first version, as the way to get ahead.

One alternative to building wonders is building barracks and cranking units, and go pick on somebody. We wouldn't be allowed to capture their cities and may not want to raze (or we might) but we could perhaps round up some workers, pillage their lands to all get out, and harass them for a bit, then do it again 20 turns later, over and over. Unless we start alone on our landmass, that is.

I wonder how much pillaging and raping adds to war weariness? Hmm. I honestly have no idea, as I never mess around. I either leave a civ alone or go for the jugular, never done much of that highbrowed bullying thing, rattling sabers and terrorizing but not conquering. Still, you get the point. The player is now severely disadvantaged, as even having contact with everybody is pretty much like being isolated right from the start. They don't offer you acceptable deals, so it's the same as not even knowing them. :(

- Sirian
Charis, bear in mind what horrible Wonder-builders the AIs really are. Yes, if we're on Emperor they will have a significant production advantage, but remember:

1) The AIs are rabidly expansionistic, and their best cities will be an order of magnitude less developed than ours for a long time because of it. They will have other priorities besides wonder-building, at least until the Middle Ages. Ours will build all our needed infrastructure much more quickly and will thus be in a much better position to build wonders.

2) The AI is not known for its intelligence or speed in land development. Thus again their best cities will be significantly less productive (aside from their Emperor bonus) than ours, and ours will be fully developed much sooner. They also have corruption to deal with, while we won't.

3) The AI is often stupid in terms of selecting which cities to build wonders in. Some little size 3 corrputed hole in the middle of nowhere is not a threat.

4) We will have 5 cities capable of building wonders, with little else to do besides build military. We can have more than one prebuilding at a time! The only way the AI *ever* prebuilds wonders is accidentally by cascade. If we can build wonders fast enough relative to the pace of tech discovery, we can cause the cascade to end prematurely and further enhance our pre-build advantage relative to the AIs.

The big question is not IMHO whether we can keep up with wonders in terms of production, but whether we can keep up in terms of tech. I was't worried about this until Sirian mentioned the tech-trading changes in the last patch, but I'm still not hugely concerned unless we get a bad starting position or really aggressive neighbors. We'll manage somehow. :) If we can't avoid being a tech laggard in the ancient age, it's not a critical problem so long as we can catch up by the time everyone starts entering the Middle Ages wonder-building era. That's the part of the game that will be the most important for us. I think we'll be up to the challenge. :hammer:

Great Library: It may become necessary to build it if we find we are having problems maintaining tech parity. We could easily start it as a placeholder and then see if we ought to switch away to something else potentially more useful, or just finish it. Certainly if we do get a GA out of it, it will come late enough that it will not go to waste, since there are good governments and city improvements available around that time. So, if we need the GL, we should definately get it; it's just a question of whether we will find that we need it or not.
Well, this was a much shorter opening turn than I expected :D

0) 4000BC We start on the square due north of the (northern) cattle. Okay, so there's a river right there. Settler goes to build city amidst the lush grasslands (don't want to build on the shield-bonus square, so need to move twice before we can settle). Worker goes to irrigate cattle (overlooking that it won't be immediately within city radius, but city will expand soon enough, and I already moved him, so...)

1) 3950BC Settler moves again. The river delta is right ahead. Hmmm. Do I make the capital a coastal city? I don't really want to build just off the coast, where we have coastal squares in city radius, but can't build a harbor to get maximum benefit from them. I can't go to coast and keep the cattle unless I move off the river. Decisions, decisions...

Scout crosses river to hit a goody hut. We get a skilled warrior! Yay!

2) 3900BC I see no other bonus food squares other than the cow. Decide to go with the coast instead of the river. Settler moves again.

Scout moves to head of river in mountains. Seems like we have this one patch of grassland surrounded by plains. Another river is visible.

3) 3850BC Tamaringrad founded. Scout spies incense in hills beside the second river.

4) 3800BC Our warrior has 9 turns before being required to pacify the citizens. He goes exploring along the coast. Scout finds a desert area with bountiful incense. It seems our citizens will smell nice, if nothing else :)

5) 3750BC Worker finishes irrigating cows for future use.

6) 3700BC Scout hits a second goody hut and gets .. a settler! Woot!

Seeing as how the settler is right there on the river, with game in forest, shield bonus squares and incense all in range, we might want to found our second city right where he is standing. The ideal place for the palace city would then be between Tamaringrad and this second city. Hmmm. How practical is it to move the palace very early in the game? Or will corruption with just 5 cities be sufficiently negligible that having a non-central palace doesn't matter?

Zed, you want to go next since we're in weekend-time?
The World :)


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Settler from a hut? Oh goodness, that should be interesting. If we get one of those after we have five cities, I'll guess we'll just have to fold him into one of them.

Jaffa, you didn't check the starting tiles for gold bonus, I see. That would have told you we started next to a river. Not founding on the river is going to haunt us. This also looks like a very poor land configuration for 5CC. We won't be able to build an FP, so... with our capital on the end and all our cities in one direction, our corruption is actually going to be kinda bad. I'd have much preferred poorer quality land, but a more amiable landform, to rich lands with an unkind shape to them.

Maybe the early start on second city will counter some of that, and maybe we'll move the capital (costs will be high, but doable, since we won't have many cities).

Go ahead and move me to the back of the rotation. That will let everyone else found the cities. :)

- Sirian
Ummm. I saw the river. Read my notes :)

My thinking was that, since I had already committed to moving in this direction which turned out to be where the coast was, I should go ahead and make a coastal city, and I wanted to keep the cattle in range for the food bonus.

Are there secret additional benefits to rivers other than being able to grow past six without an aqueduct? If most of our other cities are on rivers (which looks possible), we can use Tamaringrad as our early settler/worker production center, and it shouldn't matter that it won't be able to grow past six for a while.

Hmmm, perhaps I was being overpessimistic. I just saw visions
of Hanging Gardens AND Oracle AND this and that was wildly unrealistic
for Emperor. I fired up my old OCC game and saw that I built the following:

Colossus, Great Library, Copernicus, Newton's, ToE, SETI. Also Apollo
and CIA. This was only Monarch!

It's a good set for One City. Almost ideal, actually. I think my
response was colored by how few I got here. With five cities, each
in a mode of "What else am I going to do?!" We should snag rather
quite a few more!

As far as initial placement, UGH, so many almost good spots, but
each one somehow flawed. Two inland lakes for natural water and yet
not next to coast (hmmm, you can build harbor if on internal lake,
no?) One square NE of where you founded is on river and coast but
loses the nice cattle square. That forest square a knight's move from,
and catching both cattle is interesting, and also with fresh water.

Actually, it's plain and simple a curse. Ever coop Emperor team game
for Sirian ends up with someone founding capitol by moving OFF a river! :hammer:

Tamarindgrad looks like our Colossus builder and perhaps science city.
It will lack true shield power for the production powerhouse. With
the river in city radius, Hoover CAN be built (as we confirmed in rbd7).
For a high food city building a wonder, the lack of need for aqueduct
is nice in that it can go from sub-6 to 7+ while cranking on a wonder.

Wow, from what I see I love the site the settler is standing on!
Zedville has river, decent shields, three luxuries, and the new-and-improved
game. The other lux's there will need be "colonies" unless it also happens
to be ideal to found a city there.

Geographically, a spot between the two is perfect, but on opening the
game file, the best spot posisitionally is NOT on the river. If it goes
around there, two left, off to one side or one on each side. Glad we have
a scout.

Good luck founders!
Originally posted by Charis

Actually, it's plain and simple a curse. Ever coop Emperor team game
for Sirian ends up with someone founding capitol by moving OFF a river! :hammer:

*cough* not EVERY Emperor game. :rolleyes:
Rah Rah Rah! Go Delphi Go! Yay Carbon! :D [party]

Jaffa: You chose that spot knowingly? OK no problemo. I did read your notes but didn't catch the full meaning. Although... leaving the cattle for a city behind us on that side wouldn't have been so bad. Still, a settler/worker farm is good. Rapid improvement of all cities.

Charis: inland lakes do not a harbor make. Remember Bangalore in RBD1? I thought that would be the case, but didn't work out that way. A flaw in my dot map! :eek: :lol:

As for colonies... not necessary. Just get the city to 100 culture, it will expand out an extra square... so long as the AI's don't crowd us. We might have to run some blockades, depending on how it all breaks down.

- Sirian
3700 BC (0): I guess our turns are going until we are ready to found another city, that being why Jaffa stopped short. I'll stop after 10 unless I get a settler first. Tamaringrad is building a Granary -- that won't do; we will need happiness factors long before that gets done. That means we need a couple warriors. After checking that there is a way to get another city between Tamaringrad and where our bonus settler is standing, we found Zedropolis, which starts a scout.

3600 BC (2): We build a warrior in Tamaringrad and start another warrior. Our new warrior goes east scouting the local neighborhood.

3450 BC (5): Zedropolis completes scout, starts warrior.

3350 BC (7): Tamaringrad completes warrior, starts settler. It will be done a bit early; I alter production slightly to time it so that our settler will be done the same turn we grow.

3300 BC (8): We get the Wheel out of a goody hut.

3250 BC (9): We get another settler out of a goody hut popped by Tamaringrad's scouting warrior! Ah, the joys of being expansionistic post-patch... :) Since we have another settler I stop.

There's a ton of jungle north of us to provide a natural barrier to our expansion (and the AI's expansion, at least temporarily...)
Here's a pic of our land. Blue square is a possible non-overlap city between Zedropolis & Tamaringrad, though you could go one square south if you wanted wheat in exchange for overlap. Red square in the east is a good long-term city site, though you could go north to yellow instead.
For the sake of the goddess and the team's sanity--be sure and found all the cities before my turn comes up!

I normally use the dartboard method for determining city placement...

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