RBTS4 - Divine Charlemagne


Patrician Roman Dictator
Feb 9, 2002
Baltimore MD
The next RB succession game tackling one of the Beyond the Sword scenarios, this time we focus on Charlemagne - on Deity! :eek:

Charlemagne Scenario
Difficulty: Deity
Speed: Normal

Wish us luck! First turnset immediately follows this post. :)
I start out by opening up the Charlemagne scenario from the Beyond the Sword Content menu. We are presented with a list of leaders to choose from, consisting of these options:

Charlemagne (yellow): Imperialistic/Protective
Eleanor (red): Aggressive/Financial
Alboin (purple): Charismatic/Expansive
Gundobad (orange): Organized/Spiritual
Chilperic (blue): Creative/Philosophical

I am also prompted to select a difficulty and game speed. Since we have already decided that we'll be playing Charlemagne on Deity, I pick these options and the game gets underway!

Here is the first screen that appears, cut-and-pasted to fit in all of the text:

The second paragraph talks about the different victory conditions you can win in this scenario. Obviously you can win by Conquest (by killing everyone else), or you can win via Domination. Both are definitely difficult to do, and not something we're likely to try here. You can also win by Culture, at least in theory, but given the extreme paucity of cultural buildings (especially cathedrals) in this scenario, it's a practical impossibility. If one of you really wants a challenge, maybe you can try playing this scenario and winning by Culture! Because that's emphatically NOT what we're going to do. :lol:

The other way to win the game is by accruing something called "Papal Favor", which is similar in a lot of ways to the "victory point" (VP) scoring system used in the Civ3 Conquests scenarios, for those of you who can remember that. Each of the 5 playable civs (you and your four AI opponents) begin with 30 points of papal favor, and if you can increase it to 150 points, you win the game. This is the way that you are intended to play the scenario, and it's the easiest way to win, so we'll largely be pursuing that in this game.

You can acquire papal favor in a couple of different ways:

- Each city you own with Christianity present is worth 5 points. This scenario isn't too picky about how you acquire them either. :mischief:

- Each Christian temple (1 point), monastery (2 points), and cathedral (3 points) that you build also scores papal favor. Thus you can really think of each city as being worth 8 points, with religion present and a temple/monastery combo. Since you only need 120 points in addition to the 30 with which you begin, you can win the game if you can control roughly 15 cities. Quite doable.

- The pope begins the game at war with the Islamic infidels, and he will quickly ask you to join in the conflict. This will also score points (and poses virtually nil threat, since the Arabs don't seem to do much in this scenario).

- Occasionally a relic will appear somewhere on the map, which can be carted back to Rome and donated for major points.

- Finally, you can donate units to the pope in exchange for papal favor. This is TOTALLY BROKEN, as you can build a bunch of cr@ppy units and gift them away, winning the scenario with ease, so note that this is OFF LIMITS for this succession game. No one do this, OK? :nono: We'll win or lose the game on our own merits here.

Papal favor is critical not just for winning the game, but because your own cities start out with a -3 unhappiness penalty. This is VERY bad - even more so on Deity! As your papal favor increases, this unhappiness disappears, allowing your cities to grow to larger sizes. (Here on Deity, we won't be able to grow at ALL until we start removing the penalty or connect some happiness resources.) Furthermore, the pope donates a strong "Papal Pikeman" unit periodically to the civ that's leading in papal favor. You want that to be YOUR civ, as you can practically defend your entire civ just with papal pikemen in the early going if you play your cards right. Our gameplan will strongly emphasize getting the early lead in papal favor, and riding the major rewards that accrue from that to offset the substantial Deity penalties.

Charlemagne uses the new "Advanced Start" feature in Beyond the Sword, where you are given a set number of points and allowed to place cities, units, buildings, and tile improvements directly on the map - all at a cost, of course! How you spend your points is critical to success, so this deserves some careful thought. For starters, let me show you the map and the starting locations for the five playable civs:

The colors for each are listed above; our leader in this game (Charlemage) is in yellow. Now what I've indicated here is the area in which each leader is allowed to place cities. Note that Charlemagne has more territory and more resources available to him than anyone else; looks like the designers wanted him to be the big dog in this scenario. (Poor Gundobad and Chilperic really have some rough starting spots.) As Charlemagne, we can place a city on any of the tiles inside the yellow, subject to the rule that all cities must be at least 3 tiles apart. Knowing where we can place the cities allows me to plan out which locations I want to settle ahead of time, rather than just guessing and hoping I get lucky. (You don't have to go through this level of detail to enjoy the scenario, I'm just showing you what CAN be done!)

Since we're playing Charlemage, here's a closeup focus on our territory:

The yellow "X" is the center of our territory; the game suggests that we place our capital in this location. The truly important data I've marked with red and blue dots; red dots for food resources, blue dots for happiness ones. Food resources are THE most important thing to consider when selecting city locations. A city without a food bonus grows at a fraction of the rate of those that have them; with three food bonuses here, I can get three strong cities out of this terrain. They will be the biggest factor dictating my city placement.

The happiness resources are almost as large of a concern. Here on Deity, happiness will be in very short supply; we'll need those resources to get our cities up to a decent size. Fortunately Charlemagne is blessed with a really good start position here in that regard: we can have four different happiness resources connected almost immediately! Even better, all three mining resources are present (gold, silver, gems) which will give another +3 happiness with a forge. Now compare that to the other leaders in this scenario; Eleanor, Alboin, and Gundobad all have only a single happiness resource each, and Chilperic's two are on a disputed border. NONE of them are resources that double with forges either. So for practical effect, Charlemagne has +7 happiness in immediate range compared to +1 or +2 for all the other leaders. That's simply enormous! :D

Now, on to the actual dotmap:

The original yellow line border is still present, but now it's being overlaid by my four planned city locations. Let's start with red dot, which will be our capital city. Right in the center of our territory, this will grab two food bonuses (wheat + corn) and two happiness resources (silver + wines) and be a really good spot overall, with a strong mixture of river and hill tiles. We'll want to pass the corn resource back and forth between the capital and blue dot city, depending on the needs of the moment, which will provide nice flexibility. Blue dot will eventually take permanent possession of that corn, and will be a mixed city with good commerce (tons of grassland river tiles) and decent production too (three hills as well as copper and stone). Green dot looks a lot like blue dot, with cows for food and more sickeningly fertile terrain. I expect to plant a lot of cottages there, plus the iron/coal hills will give good production. Purple dot is the weakest city, with no food bonuses, but it does have the very important task of pulling gold and gems into range. At purple, we should IGNORE commerce completely, farm all the grasslands and mine all the hill tiles, turning it into one of my patented all-military, all-the-time pumps. It's a bit of a shame to waste the gold and gems tiles that way, but there's no better way to use the terrain. Honest! :)

This dotmap has a lot of crowding, BUT since this is a relatively short scenario, cities won't get beyond size 15 or so, which means crowding isn't as big of a deal. Furthermore, remember that I am constrained by the Advanced Start mechanisms - I *CAN'T* put the cities any further apart! :crazyeye: We should eventually place a city on brown dot in the southwest and use it as military pump #2, a la purple dot, but I won't have enough points to add a fifth city at the start. Three white dot locations in the north are possibilities for later expansion. All would make fabulous fishing villages, plus pull in the three seafood resources.
Well, that was a lot to say and I haven't even done anything yet! Let's begin in earnest. On Deity, I get 675 points to start out; you get more if you start on the lower difficulties, by the way. I'm sharply limited on what I can do with those points, so they have to be spent wisely. Cities cost 100 points each - probably cheaper than they should be, in all honesty. I have enough points to buy four of them, which will go on the dots indicated in the last post. You should spend the bulk of your points in this scenario on cities, because the oldest rule in the book in Civ is that more cities = more power! (On Monarch or below, you should definitely build 5 cities if at all possible. You have the points to do it, and you won't get as good of a return on anything else.) Building the max possible number of cities is even more important in this scenario because settlers are DOUBLED in cost! That's right, they cost 200 shields instead of 100. Since you can't pump out settlers with any kind of rapidity, better to fill your territory to the brim with cities right away.

There goes 400 points, leaving me with 275 remaining. The next thing that I need are some units. Not for defense (if the AIs come after us right out of the gate, we're dead meat regardless), but to provide military police in our cities. Here on Deity, our cities won't be able to grow past size 1 without a unit on MP duty, and since this is a Medieval start, we'll be able to revolt into Hereditary Rule right off the bat - which would make not starting with a couple of military units pretty silly. Any warm body will do for this task, which allows us to skimp on defense and grab the cheaper warriors over the better archers. (If playing on lower difficulty, you could easily take archers here - I'm just really short on points!) Each warrior costs 15 points, for 60 total.

We still have 215 points left. The next thing we want are some workers. These are also surprisingly cheap at only 60p; considering that a catapult costs 50p, that's some very weird math taking place. Workers are unbelievably important in terms of accelerating the growth curve - just look at how much slower the Monarch AI is out of the gate in BTS compared to non-expansion Civ4. That's mostly due to the fact that it no longer starts with a free worker (although the AI is smarter, so it eventually "catches up" to the previous performance, but the early growth curve is WAY slower). If you don't know what to spend your points on, buy more workers. You really can't have too many of them. I'm buying two of them for this game, although I'd like to have three in all honesty. But the remaining points are needed for some other things. Our starting workers will improve the capital first, then move out to our secondary ringing cities after that.

95 points to go. Now I'm going to add one of the other things most useful for improving early growth curve: a granary in the capital. This will let the capital grow much faster, and (even more importantly) recover from whipping at a better rate. You'll see on my turn that I intend to whip the capital almost immediately, which is why getting the granary into place before the game begins will help so much. None of the other city improvements give you anywhere near as good of a return as a granary (a mere 60p, relatively cheap).

With the final 35 points, I have just enough to add another population point to the capital (33p) to take it to size 2. Again, this will allow us to whip the city faster, but mostly I'm doing this because I have points to kill and not enough to buy another worker. Buying population points is an OK expenditure, but cities grow pretty fast at lower sizes, so there are better things to do with them.

In any case, here's what NOT to spend points on in this scenario:

- Tile improvements. They cost FORTY points!!! :eek: You can get a worker for only 60 points. Would you rather start with three mines, or two workers? Yeah, that's what I thought. I like Paul Murphy (the designer of this scenario), and I worked with him on writing the Civ4 instruction booklet, but he screwed up bigtime on this one! Anyone spending their money on tile improvements is smoking some fine weed. :smoke:

- Technologies. Way too expensive. Even the cheapest cost about 600 points. Would you rather have ONE additional technology, or four cities and three workers? That's what I thought!

- Culture. Not as bad as the other two, but still rather pointless. You'll want to spread Christianity to all of your cities ASAP for favor points, which will expand the borders automatically, so there's no real need to waste points here. If you have points left over, maybe, but there are better ways to spend it.

That should just about cover it. (I'm assuming no one is stupid enough to spend 150 points on a supply train at the start!) Now the main reason why is this scenario is winnable is because the AI is a total idiot about handling the Advanced Start. Take a look at a typical AI start:

The AI never builds more than two cities at the outset (utter stupidity), wastes all kinds of points on tile improvements yet builds NO WORKERS (!!!), and pumps up the population of its cities to unsustainable happiness levels, where they immediately begin starving. Yikes. :smoke: Painful to watch when you open up the Worldbuilder. (I'm not doing that as I play, mind you, this is from some tests I was running earlier!) It's this disastrous start, plus the AI's lack of understanding how the papal favor system works, that will allow us to win on Deity.

So (finally) the game gets underway. Say hello to the Kingdom of Austrasia!

Note that every city starts out by working on a granary, except the capital of Metz (which already has one). I immediately pull a triple revolt on the first turn (2 turns of anarchy), taking us into Hereditary Rule, Slavery, and Organized Religion. The last of these allows me to swap Metz over to what I actually want to build: a Christian missionary. Our first task will be to get the religion spread to all four of our cities. This will catapult us into the lead in papal favor, start the gravy train of papal pikemen appearing in our capital, and expand the borders of our three non-capital cities to boot. Win-win situation all the way around! :cool:

I also signed Open Borders with the pope, since we may as well start improving relations with him right away. I picked Civil Service as our research project; it's a tech the AIs tend to ignore, we should get major trade value from it, we want Bureaucracy civic bigtime, and we don't NEED any of the cheaper techs at the moment anyway. The only really valuable early tech other than Civil Service is Feudalism, and the AIs *ALWAYS* go for that one, so we should be able to trade for it.

Incidentally, this game begins on Turn 46 (592AD). Why it does this, I have no idea. I guess something with the way the dating system is constructed (?) I'll play 14 to get us to an even number of Turn 60, then we'll be on the usual 10 turns per player after that. Not trying to hog things, just avoid confusion - honest! :lol:

594AD (T47) The first thing to do is get our resources at the capital connected. One nice thing about revolting to anarchy on the first turn is that we can get a jump start on hooking up the wheat tile before even getting out of the revolt. First connect the food resources, then the happy ones; first at the capital, then the other cities.

598AD (T49) Let me show you what I mean about the unhappiness penalty in this scenario:

The "AAAARRRRRGHHHH!" unhappiness is from not having enough papal favor points. As we go up in papal favor, this disappears completely. Notice that without Hereditary Rule military police, we wouldn't even be able to grow to size 2 without causing unhappy citizens! (You have more leeway on levels below Emperor, of course.) The next job for our workers is to connect the silver at Metz, which will grant another happiness level to our cities. That will let them at least reach size 3, pretty decent for the moment. Spreading Christianity (our state religion) to each city will take that to size 4, even better. (Yet another reason why spreading the religion around early is priority numero uno!)

600AD (T50) Between turns we meet a unit from Lombardy (Alboin). Even better, we can swing a deal!

The playable civs start with different techs in this scenario. (Also a bad idea, because the player can do exactly what we're going to do: tech broker and reap the rewards.) Pretty much any deals you can swing on Deity, you should do so. The longer you can keep up in the tech race, the better! We don't really need Drama, but better to get it now for free than have to research it later. Cha-ching!

604AD (T52) Metz's borders expand. This is actually a big deal, as it pulls the corn tile into range. One worker is en route to connect the resource, the other is still mining our silver.

606AD (T53) We meet Justinian, a powerful non-playable civ that resides on the eastern side of the map. As with the pope and Alboin, I sign Open Borders right away to start improving relations. No tech trades available, unfortunately, but they may be eventually. Keep an eye on him, because Justinian usually becomes a very dangerous customer in this scenario.

Metz is now able to whip a Christian missionary, so I do so.

608AD (T54) Metz builds a missionary, and starts another. The unit is heading to Cologne, where I'll immediately swap production to a missionary there as well and whip it. That along with Metz's second missionary will allow us to convert all 4 cities within the next dozen turns - skyrocketing us past the other civs in papal favor. Just trust me on this - that's a big deal.

610AD (T55) The Holy Faith spreads for the first time!

Note that our papal favor has gone up to 38. When we top 40 points, we should reach a higher status with the pope and possibly be granted a papal pikeman. We can then use that unit to defend the capital, and send our military police warrior out on a scouting mission. Finding more civs and opening up more tech trades is also an important early goal.

618AD (T59) Cologne is ready to provide its missionary contribution to the kingdom, hurried along by some "encouragement" via the whip. :whipped:

620AD (T60) And that's it, nothing of interest happened on the final turn. Just make sure next turn that our eastern worker finishes the road before moving the missionary, which will let us convert Mainz on the next turn.
First the map:

We're off to a good start. Metz is almost done the fourth missionary for Herstal, then is open for new projects. Maybe another worker there? (Make sure to steal back the corn tile from Mainz if building a worker in the capital!) We could certainly use a couple more. We also need to connect a road to Herstal soon (otherwise it won't be able to grow, lacking resources) and connect our wines/gold resources in the area. Our cities are good on health, because they're all on fresh water and we've got the very nice corn/wheat combo, but happiness will need some finessing. I'd probably finish connecting our resources, and after that starting laying down some major cottages. Absolutely perfect terrain for cottages, yum. :)

Short term, I see our gameplan as simply building up for a while, roughly the first 100 turns or so. We should be able to expand with some more cities to the north, and if we can peacefully add new cities, why attack someone? Most of the tech tree is pretty useless, but the knights at the end of it are extremely good, so... my gameplan the first time I played this scenario was to build/tech to the end of the tree while expanding peacefully, then crank the knights and start knocking heads. I crushed the Emperor AIs decisively with that strategy, so I think we should give it a try here as well. Feedback is welcome, as always.

Bede <<< UP NOW
Zeviz <<< on deck
Swiss Pauli

Good luck to all players! I think we're going to enjoy this one. :king:

- Each city you own with Christianity present is worth 5 points. This scenario isn't too picky about how you acquire them either. :mischief:

Maybe I have a different version, but I think you'll find it's actually 3 points for each city you control with Christianity present, and 2 points for the act of using your Christian missionary to spread it. It's 2 points for using a missionary in someone else's city too. The initial 33 points you start out with is made up of 30 points for having Christianity as a state religion and 3 points for having it present in your capital.

- Finally, you can donate units to the pope in exchange for papal favor. This is TOTALLY BROKEN, as you can build a bunch of cr@ppy units and gift them away, winning the scenario with ease, so note that this is OFF LIMITS for this succession game. No one do this, OK? :nono: We'll win or lose the game on our own merits here.

Yes, that's the one thing in the game that is completely broken - just makes it a walkover. It's 1 point for every accumulated 40 hammers worth of random units which you send to the crusades. Although the blurb specifies military units, the pope also seems to like his civilian pilgrims (workers=60, settlers=100 not 200, missionaries=40 etc.) just as much. [Even more efficient than temples, hammer-wise!!!] You're definitely right to ban this one (as I predicted you would in my post on RB ;) ) - much fairer and balanced, and still reasonably winnable for both warmongers and peacemongers...

Here is a summary of the papal favour point mechanics, at least as far as I could gather:

Having Christianity as a state religion = 30 points
Having Islam as a state religion = -10 points
Each city which you control with Christianity = 3 points
Each city which you control with Islam = -3 points
Being at war with Saladin = 15 points
Being at war with any other nation which has Islam as a state religion = 5 points
Every accumulated 40 hammers-worth of units donated to the pope = 1 point
Returning the holy relic to the pope = 15 points
Spreading Christianity to any city (yours or foreign) using a missionary = 2 points [or +3 points if the city already happens to have Islam]
Using an inquisitor to remove Islam = 0 points (but this does remove the -3 penalty for Islam in that city)
Each Christian monastery = 2 points
Each Christian temple = 1 point
Each Christian Cathedral = 3 points [4 temples required per cathedral]
Islamic buildings = 0 points [despite what it says in the initial blurb, there appears to be no penalty for building/owning these]
Spreading Islam to any city (yours or foreign) using a missionary = -2 points (irrespective of whether Christianity is present in this city)

BTW can you move me up on the roster so I can play today or tommorow as I will be gone from sat-mon?
Nicely thought out start and well spoken as always.

I'll offer my slot to Civman123 if he wants to play it tonight, as I wouldn't be able to report until tomorrow night in any case.
Very nice start. Sulla managed to get us into a very strong position before the game even started.

So the strategy for the next few turns is to finish spreading Christianity, then train a couple workers, and construct Forges for production and massive happiness, and Monasteries for science, culture, and Papa Favor? Or should we start expanding before finishing even these infra builds? (I guess the land would be gone pretty quickly, so fast expansion is also a priority.)

For city specialization, Herstal is going to be our top commerce city for the foreseeable future, because Gems+Gold give more cash than several villages. So should we use Mainz with its Qarry, metal mine, regular mine, and several forests for troop production instead?

PS Newbie1, thank you for the explanation of the way Papal Favor works.
Got it for tonight and a little papal tuft hunting
Either that Bede or skip me if I come up (along the weekend), but that wouldn't be any fun would it?
Based on what I see in the rotation you should be able to pop in on Monday/Tuesday, no problem, no skip needed, as there at least three players ahead of you in any case.
Progress is clearly being made. The granary is in at Cologne and she is working on a forge, while the other towns are just getting close to finishing their grain stores. Metz trained out one last missionary who brought Herstal the One True, trained a worker, grew a pop point while putting a turn on a forge and started another worker as she is at her happiness limit for the moment.

The productivity shapes up this way

Cologne is clearly hammer leader at this point and for the near term future and shiould probably take on the troop training duties as soon as the forge finishes. Needs a barracks.

Metz needs that next worker to improve her surroundings and is a good candidate for the church/monastery complex as the added happiness, culture and science will all do good things for the realm. After the church goes up would be a good time to send a settler out to claim the last of the marked sites to the south of the coal (or iron, I forgotten which). After that Metz could train up missionaries to explore and possibly bring a few foreigners to the Faith.

The conversion of Mainz and Herstalt brought us to a relationship breakpoint with the pope (tuft hunting was never so easy)

and a couple of churches or a monastery will bring us to the next logical one at 50 points, and churches in all the towns and a cathedral at Metz will bring us to the next one at 60.

Met a new neighbor who appeared from the Northeast

His scout is now waltzing around a barbarian warrior up there.

He proved to be just plain ignorant, poor as well, unconverted and probably unwashed! A good candidate for missionary work!

And the current leader is Charlie Maine and his Coon Cats

The workers are all on station, one each at Mainz, Cologne and Herstal. Most of the hammer resources are connected up, the worker at Mainz is poised to bring us sacramental wines, the worker at Cologne can get to work either cottaging for cash or farming to support the hammer output, and the worker at Herstal is digging the gems hill.

So, what me worry? I have no feeling for just how growly the neighbors can be. That is my biggest concern at the moment.


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So far, so good. :goodjob: Let's keep the focus on cautious expansion for now, mixing in some "real units" with more settler/worker combos. Protective archers are probably the best bet on the defensive side of things (until we can trade for Feudalism for longbows... which could be a while!) and hopefully the pope will start sending some pikemen our way soon.

Building a scout to meet our neighbors to the west might not be a bad idea either, if a pikeman doesn't pop up soon. (I'm assuming that we'd use one of our MP warriors for scouting if that would happen.)

I'd recommend working on forges/libraries/temples/monasteries over trying to convert the Bavarians at this point. Infrastructure and playing for the long term is probably better than grabbing a few early scenario points. As far as settlers go, they're double the expense in this scenario, but we are Imperialistic, which for once makes a huge difference! :D Still probably about 10-15 turns away from being in a position to build any settlers, but worth keeping an eye on.

I've only tried this scenario once, and the AIs largely left me alone in the early going. I did get attacked, but not until about 100 turns into things. I was doing everything possible to suck up to the neighbors, naturally, which we should do as well! The one thing in our favor is that the AIs all start with zero military units as well, but on Deity, with the uber-cheap units they get, that won't last forever...

Zeviz, you're up. Good luck! :)
Missionaries would seem to make great scouts in this scenario with the extra movement point. And once they finish scouting out a territory there is the small possible bonus of a couple of tuft hunter points. And it would not require using one of our MP warriors, or waiting on the delivery of a Papal Pikeman.
Looks like we are still in good shape. I have a couple questions before I play this evening:

1. Can I be as aggressive as possible with the whip? (I am strongly in favor of "get done with all whips while the city is small" philosophy, but some people don't like +4 whip anger, so I will not do it if others object.)

2. Should I start pumping militar out of Cologne right away, or can we build the standard monastery+temple first? (I assume Forge and Barracks are a given and Library is superflous, since it will be pure production for now.)

3. Should we make an effort to hire scienists for an academy, or is that less needed in this scenario?

4. Can I make any trade available, or are there techs we should avoid getting or giving?

PS I like the idea of using missionary as a scout, but I need to compare the costs before making a decision.
Hi... Just looking through... :crazyeye: Well, hey sullla! Neat scenario, you rock sullla! :rockon:
Spoiler :
I lurked sulla's DEFENSE! game.
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