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RBTS6 - Finally Ready for Noble!

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Succession Games' started by Sullla, Apr 10, 2008.

  1. Sullla

    Sullla Patrician Roman Dictator

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    As Sirian once said, "There's this one difficulty level, see. I've only tried it once and there was no victory. ... It's called Regent."

    Charis: "I love it, great idea! I'm not sure I've ever played Regent."

    Sirian: "I know it's a daunting possibility, but I think we can pull it off. At least it's worth a try, right?"

    Charis: "Feel free to generate the map and start it off whenever convenient."

    WOOHOO! We're finally ready for Regent!


    In similar fashion, there's this one difficulty level I've never beaten in Beyond the Sword. It's called... Noble. After many games and much practice, I think I'm finally ready to give it a shot. At least it's worth a try, right? :)

    * * * * *

    Why are veteran players taking on Noble difficulty? Hmm, something there smells... fishy. Time to let the cat out of the bag, methinks.

    RBTS6: Finally Ready for Noble!

    Civ: Sitting Bull of the Native Americans (Philosophical/Protective)
    Map Settings: Ice Age map script, Wide Continents
    Other Settings: Noble difficulty, Epic speed, 6 Random opponents

    Variant Rule
    No Tile Improvements :eek:

    That's it. That's the only rule. But when you start to think about it, you'll realize the staggering challenge we've set up for ourselves. While we have a few plans that should help out, we honestly do not know how we're going to win the game. There will be a real discovery factor in play here, trying to brainstorm solutions to problems that have rarely, if ever, been faced by the community. That's why I'm personally looking forward to this game so much. :D

    Note that chopping of forests and jungles are allowed, as they do not constitute contructing tile improvements. Whether or not to chop forests will be up to the discretion of the team.



    Roster
    Sullla
    darrelljs
    Compromise
    Zeviz

    Wish us luck! We may need it. :lol: First turnset immediately to follow this post.
     
  2. Sullla

    Sullla Patrician Roman Dictator

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    (0) 4000BC Well, here we go! The start fulfilled the two requirements that I had going into this game: on a river, and on a river that emptied into the ocean. (If the river were to empty into an inland lake, we would be in serious trouble! And if you can't see why that is, keep reading and following along with this game. It will become clear in time.) Based on what I can see currently, I take the obvious move and head west one tile, setting ON the wines resource.

    "On the wines? What are you thinking?! And you wasted a sheep resource!" Ahh, by remember the dynamics of this game, my friend! :D The only way that we can connect resources is by setting a city ON them, then passing them along to other cities down rivers and through the sea. As such, we want to settle essentially ALL of our cities directly on resources, and/or on rivers and the coast. A landlocked city will NEVER be connected to our trade network, and stuck at a very low size forever! (Note that this is different from Civ3, when an airport would connect even landlocked cities to your trade network eventually.) And don't forget this either: with no way to improve those sheep, that's a permanent 1 food/2 shields tile. Bah! (Or should I say, baaaa! :sheep: ) No better than a plains forest, and we've got plenty of those!

    With the settling of our capital, I can count up the food available and determine the max size possible:



    The center tile gives us +2 food each turn, and the corn resource gives us another +1 (with each population point consuming two units of food). Each grassland tile allows us to grow another size, neither adding nor subtracting from the total. Each plains tile subtracts a unit of food, since it consumes 2 units while only providing 1. Based on this information, we can see that the max size for Cahokia is size 11, barring the merging of a Great Merchant or addition of a late-game corporation for more food. Note that this leaves us with some excess forests that can (and certainly will!) be used for chopping purposes. I forsee quite a lot of time spent analyzing which tiles we need to preserve for forest use, and which ones we can safely cut down. You didn't think this was going to be a relaxing variant just because there are no workers, right? :lol:

    Normally in Civ4 the usual strategy is to focus on worker techs out of the gate, to speed the civ's overall growth curve via improvement of resources. But... we can't ever make use of tile improvements, so the impetus for techs like Animal Husbandry and The Wheel is greatly reduced. Instead, I'm going to go after one thing that CAN help us right away: an early religion. This being Noble, plus picking up an extra commerce for starting on a river, we'll have a good shot to get one of the two religions. Cross fingers and let's go for it! What else we were going to do, aside head for the usual Bronze Working?

    (2) 3950BC I pop 60g from the western hut. Not bad, not bad. I also am seeing tundra to the south, so it looks like we're on the southern part of our current continent.

    (7) 3825BC Hut #2 in the southern tundra yields 74g. A scout or a tech would be super-nice if we could get them!

    (8) 3800BC Borders expand at the capital, popping the nearby hut and giving us... 27g. Heh. At least we've got some cash to burn later on!

    Spot marble in a dismal tundra spot... but on the coast! Yes! It can be connected to our trade network! Excellent. We WILL be placing a city here eventually, I guarantee it.

    (9) 3775BC Discover Mysticism, head for Polytheism and Hinduism. A forest has grown on one of the plains tiles near our capital, cool.

    (11) 3725BC Cahokia to size two. And we pop Animal Husbandry from hut #4! :goodjob:



    Very nice for a commerce-challenged variant. As it turns out, there are horses just outside our current capital (in range of our original site), but NOT on the river, which pretty much makes them useless. Ah well, we'll have to get our horses somewhere else on the map then.

    (12) 3700BC Buddhism FIDL. Made the right call there! Now, let's hope that there's only a single Spiritual civ out there...

    (17) 3575BC Build warrior in Cahokia. I'll wait the 6 turns for the city to grow to size 3 before starting on a settler.

    (19) 3525BC Another hut yields 107g, wow. I've almost forgotten how generous the huts can be on the lower difficulties. Much more used to Emperor.

    (20) 3500BC Northern scout spots gems on a river AND ivory on a river! But... only two tiles apart, so we'll only be able to get one of them. Hmmm. Will have to scout the map further to see which is more needed.

    (24) 3400BC Gambit pays off, and we now have Hinduism in the capital! :jesus:



    This should open up any number of possible options for our civ later on. Missionaries might be a really good way to expand borders on the cheap, while adding shrine income to boot (shrine income will probably be desperately needed!) I go over to Mining/Bronze Working next, as the obvious move. We need to open up chopping and Slavery civic ASAP.

    (26) 3350BC Cahokia finishes second warrior, starts settler (25 turns). I figured we could use another explorer more than getting the settler out three turns sooner. Northern scout spots a floodplains tile! (Those things are like candy for us in this game.)

    (29) 3275BC Meet Joao of Portugal, to the north. He seems to be behind a natural choke point of sorts a little bit above our capital. We'll have to decide what to do with him; perhaps a little bit close, methinks... :mischief:

    (30) 3250BC And that ends my initial turns. Some thoughts and pictures to follow.
     

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  3. pigswill

    pigswill fly (one day)

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    Does building a city on a resource count as an improvement?
     
  4. Sullla

    Sullla Patrician Roman Dictator

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    Here's the lay of the land based on what we've explored so far. It doesn't look like there's anyone else in this southern region (we would have run into their units by now), so I'm going to assume that we're on a large peninsula connected to the northern part of the continent by that narrow isthmus above our start. Therefore, if we can lock that area down and deny it to the AIs, we'll have a tremendous amount of room to spread out.

    I marked the rivers with clear outlets to the sea in blue. These will be the arteries of our civilization; without them, inland cities will be almost useless! The river in the middle of the map MAY drain into the sea as well; we'll have to go back there with another scout eventually and find out.

    I'd like to see some more map info before creating a true dotmap. However, I'm going to place one dot on the map: the very aggressive red spot you see above. This location has enough food to reach size 12, and will help seal off the south from Portugese colonization. But of course the main reason why I want that particular tile is because it will grant us access over STONE, which should play hugely into our plans. Let me put this bluntly: we MUST build the Pyramids in this game. We're going to be running a lot of specialists to generate beakers, and Representation will double their effectiveness. Even if we have to sacrifice a city's long term potential (chopping every forest and leaving it worthless for the future), it will be worth it for the rest of our civ to nail the Pyramids. Here on Noble, we SHOULD be able to get them with teamwork and planning. I'd like to know what the rest of the team thinks, because we have to move to this location immediately to get it. The Portugese capital is outlined in green above.

    Sullla
    darrelljs <<< UP NOW
    Compromise <<< on deck
    Zeviz

    Off to a flying start! Let's see where this ends up. I'm going to ask darrelljs to play 25 turns, then 20 for Compromise and 15 for Zeviz, and we'll be square with 10 turns each after that. Good luck! :king:
     

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  5. Sealot

    Sealot Chieftain

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    Lurker's comment
    Are you allowed to keep conquered tile improvements? If you actually DO conquer anyone in this game, it's a huge difference between razing all the improvents or keeping them. G'luck, I be lurking :thumbsup:
     
  6. dathon78

    dathon78 Amateur Expert

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    Lurking with interest. Good luck guys!

    dathon
     
  7. mystyfly

    mystyfly Knight of Cydonia

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    I'll be lurking too, sounds like the kind of unusual game sulla usually provides :goodjob:

    Nice to see a non-fractal, non-pangaea, non-continents game too.

    Joao must burn! You didn't pick a civ with decent non-ressource units for nothing! Remember, this is noble, the AI won't have that much of a head start when you rush.
    If you don't have to pillage his improvements you'll be far better off.

    BTW no roads too? This might actually be a real challenge :rolleyes:
     
  8. schwartz

    schwartz Chieftain

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    Another interesting variant :goodjob:
    I'll definitely be lurking!
     
  9. darrelljs

    darrelljs Immortal

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    I got it...should be able to play in about...19 hours.

    In terms of strategy, it doesn't seem like an uber early rush is in the cards. I think the Pyramids are a must as well, but I wonder if red dot should be the first city we found? We need to determine if there is a risk of losing that site to another civ. I know your policy on pre-chopping is :thumbsdown:, but really I think we want to get Mathematics before cutting them down and should consider any tactics legal (even Worker sniping). I'm okay if we ban them, just let me know before I do something bad :mischief:. Anyway, with the Animal Husbandry pop, we can go Mining -> Masonry -> Bronze Working -> Writing -> Mathematics, and settle the Gems site first. It looks like it might be the best place to chop out the Pyramids. We can then go Worker (to start the pre-chopping), then Settler (to found red dot, since we don't need the Stone until the very end).

    I doubt we will have this pulled off in time to land Stonehenge or The Great Wall, but surely The Hanging Gardens would be ours with no need to chop!

    Darrell
     
  10. Compromise

    Compromise Chieftain

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    Compromise checking in.

    Landing Hinduism...well played! That's +2 happiness (with temple and state religion) in time. Shrine income will help too. Do we want to make a play for a later religion to get another shrine?

    I really like the stone site. The pyramids are indeed likely to be critical to our success. That would appear to be our number one priority. I think we'll need Fishing and Sailing to connect the city to our capital, right? (I thought I've seen some city connections that only seemed to need overlapping borders though...I'll try to check that out.)

    It's been a while since I've looked at how city maintenance costs increase with distance and number of cities. Those numbers will be critical as we move forward. We won't be able to grow our way out of overexpansion.

    Also, what are your thoughts on an endgame, Sullla? It's going to be tough for us to keep up with any AI that really gets its infrastructure and tiles set up. An AP victory is certainly a possibility.

    Edit: I crossposted with darrell. I think the Stone site not only speeds up the Pyramids, but it's key feature is probably that it will help secure "our" peninsula. With Joao there, I do think it's in jeopardy.

    Late Edit to add references to other posts in this thread:
    Big Dotmap
    700AD dotmap post
    Probably last peaceful dotmap
     
  11. darrelljs

    darrelljs Immortal

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    Yeah...I forgot to factor in Fishing/Sailing to connect the Marble. So in that case, it would be Stone city first, Bronze Working prior to Masonry (?), and Fishing/Sailing prior to Writing/Mathematics. I question our ability to get the latter two in time for the Pyramids, but I'd still think pre-chopping while waiting for Fishing/Sailing and Stone would be a good idea. Now the question becomes do we still want to settle a third city (Gems) to chop out the Pyramids, or do we want to use the excess forests in Cahokia that Sulla pointed out? The Gems site has the nice floodplains, but no other food resource, so it can support a Scientist and 1 plains/forest tile, or 3 plains/forest tiles, just like Chahokia. Both have the same number of forests, so I guess it doesn't much matter. We really, really need a floodplains city out in the fog for our GP farm...geez this is getting silly early :lol:.

    Darrell

    P.S. I think given our limited food situation, happy won't be that big a deal. Shrine income however, very nice :).
     
  12. Compromise

    Compromise Chieftain

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    I whipped up a quick game of similar settings to see how much cities cost. It looks like the "number of cities" cost is 1- or 2-gpt for the first 5 cities or so. Distance cost will add more than that.

    (Forgive me if this or any of the following is "obvious." I just wanted to check.)

    I checked into the connection of cities that I didn't think should be connected a little. It looks like before Sailing, you can still have your cities on coasts or rivers get trade routes with each other if their cultural borders touch. Still no connection of cities without a river or coast (of course). Also, it looks like once you have Sailing, once you've seen a route to a city, that route will exist--unless interrupted by unfriendly borders--whether or not you are actively observing the route.

    While I think we might have a chance to found Judaism too (by delaying BW research), we may be better off with just letting the AIs found other religions.

    Another potentially lucrative source of income is trade routes. We could get bonuses early by building the Temple of Artemis (doubles route values) and/or the Great Lighthouse (2 extra routes for coastal cities).

    Edit: Again I xposted with Darrell! I think we should try to decide on an early game plan (are we going to rush Joao at all? Will we allow a worker grab?) and know what wonders we want to try for. ToA tends to go early in BtS, though I'm not sure what a reasonable date is for Noble or how the Noble AI prioritizes it relative to Pyramids and Oracle.

    Another question: Great Prophets...More religions or settle for cash?
     
  13. IamJohn

    IamJohn (was)?

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    Are you sure that building so many wonders is a good idea? Since you can't mine, and only have a limited number of trees to ruthlessly cut down (especially since you need some of them for the extra hammers on worked tiles) you want to conserve what you want to build, wonders, while nice, are a luxery, and since you are on noble, there isn't nearly as much of a tech race that you will have to be concerned about, so hammers spend on wonders like oracle might be better used on swordsman and other needed things.
     
  14. Compromise

    Compromise Chieftain

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    Personally, I'm not sure of anything in this game! :)

    However, I am trying to get options out there early so we don't look back and wish we'd thought of it before it was too late....
     
  15. Zeviz

    Zeviz Chieftain

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    Checking in.

    Sulla, good job with early scouting. We now have a good start for longer term planning. (And AH from a hut was a very nice boost.)

    This game will probably play out similar to AW games, because of terrible economy. So I'd suggest the combo that saved me from collapse in our last AW Epic: Pyramids + Great Library.

    However, we are likely to have a coastal economy, because on this food-poor map, inland cities will not have much chance to grow. So there is something to be said for Colossus + Great Lighthouse.

    A third course of action to consider is an early rush, but I am inclined to vote against it: Two continents means that early conquest is out. And a convenient chokepoints means that we don't have to worry about AI expanding onto our turf. Besides, with no ability to improve tiles, the penalty for owning far-away AI cities will be greater than any benefits we'll get from them.

    So I'd suggest the following plan:

    1. Settle stone site while researching Mining->BW.
    2. Settle either Gems or Copper (if available near river) while researching Fishing->Sailing->Masonry.
    3. Start Lighthouse->Great Lighthouse in Stone City.
    4. Start Pyramids in a city with lots of useless forests (Gem city?).

    After this, I am not really sure. We could aim for Oracle and take Metal Casting for early Colossus (have to research IW first). Or we could go for Great Library, build by engineer from Pyramids. Or we could train military.

    I think Oracle->Metal Casting->Colossus will be better in the long run, but Great Library would be an exellent source of Great Scientist points. So perhaps we could try for both? (Great Library sometimes falls relatively late.)

    The reason I recommend wonders instead of military is that after sleeping on it, I realized that early rush would be a losing move here. Without cottages, we will have no way to pay for the captured cities. And without farms we will not be able to run scientists to support research at 0% slider. So we'll have no way to get our economy back on track after a successful rush. Also, since we'll have to rely on coastal economy, Colossus will make each tile give 50% more commerce. And Great Lighthouse will also be very helpful, especially for arctic fishing villages, which I expect to play an important role in this game.

    PS When do human barbs appear on Noble? We might be able to take the capital's garrison warrior out to scout southern snows and get him back before human barbs appear.

    PPS Note that unless we can find a sea passage along southern edge of our peninsula, any cities founded east of Gem site will not be connected to the capital. So we should dedicate at least one warrior to thorouly searching the southern coastline. (This assumes that we have to scout out all intermediate tiles for a trade route to work.)
     
  16. Sullla

    Sullla Patrician Roman Dictator

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    This is essentially what I was thinking as well. Since we're almost certainly playing with two continents here, a very early victory is not going to happen. We'll have to get at least to the midgame, which means thinking at least in part about the long term. I was also thinking in terms of Pyramids + Great Library working together to carry our economy; those two alone, plus judicious use of specialists, should allow us to be competitive in tech, so long as we continue to make intelligent trades.

    I also think Colossus would be a good bet, it's just more of a long-term priority. I'm not terribly worried about the AI stealing it from us early on, with this being Noble and most of them probably starting inland. I'm much more inclined to push for Mathematics early on and get those chops into play for the Pyramids. Also note that we started with Fishing tech, so the only tech we need to research off the Math beeline is Sailing - which we'd want to do anyway for lighthouses. :)

    I heard some mention of gems tile as a spot for a city. Well, I considered that one too... the big problem being that there's no food there! It's pretty much all plains tiles, max size of only 6! :eek: Now, we may want to settle it eventually anyway to gain access to gems (which I think are scarce on Ice Age maps), but I don't think it's a high priority. I think the aggressive red dot is considerably more important for our longterm goals.

    darrell, if you want to get aggressive with Joao, that's entirely up to you. I'm not taking anything off the table for this game, so if you decide to steal a worker, well... let's just say it's not me playing the next turnset, and I can't control your actions. :mischief:

    Good question! We have to pillage all tile improvements that we capture. I will Worldbuilder them off the map if needed (I believe you can't pillage roads within your borders in Civ4.)

    I have some things in mind, rest assured. I'd prefer to wait a bit longer before bringing them out in the open though. Keep the readers following the game, ya know. ;)
     
  17. Zeviz

    Zeviz Chieftain

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    My main reason to suggest Gems for city #3 was the large number of forests we could chop for Pyramids. (I want to save capital's forests for emergencies.) However, if we find Copper on a river, that should probably be our city #3. (If nothing else, Colossus is helped by copper IIRC)

    What about the idea of building Great Lighthouse in the Stone city? BW -> Sailing (start lighthouse) -> Masonry (start Great Lighthouse)

    About Worker steal, I'd recommend against it, because the resources we'd waste on a war would be greater than resources to train our own worker. Since we can't afford to capture any cities for now, we might as well befriend our neighbors and enjoy full benefit of 3 foreign trade routes per city. (After completion of Great Lighthouse.)
     
  18. Compromise

    Compromise Chieftain

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    I suspect we should probably have a rule about this. Something like: enter worldbuilder as soon borders pop and encompass improvements. Is this something each player should do as needed, or the sponsor, or one of our dedicated lurkers? Obviously, our pillage economy (PE?) will strive to ensure that only roads are WB-removed.

    [Second thought: I guess each player could handle this. If we zoom in, we won't see any resources that we could claim anyway. Are there special concerns that are apparent having played the leader-swapping SG?]

    :goodjob: Looking forward to hearing more as appropriate.


    I agree about leaning against worker steal. Wonders and early wars don't mix.

    Also, I rolled up a few testmaps (Standard size, Ice Age, Med sea level). In 3 maps, there were 2 roughly similarly-sized continents. In one, there was a large continent with 6 civs and a small with only one. And in another, there was just a single very wide continent.

    To be honest, the maps look more like an interglacial than an ice age. :crazyeye:
     
  19. darrelljs

    darrelljs Immortal

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    Goodness, lots of input! I'll sift through all of it before I play my turns tomorrow and try to do RB proud ;). One thing that did catch my attention:

    I definitely think we should be settling all of our GPs in one city, except for an Academy in that city and the Hindu holy shrine. I've read enough of Obsolete's threads to know the SSE/WE as he calls it works quite well, and have played it a few times myself. On Noble, we won't need as many Wonders or Specialists to stay competitve. Put Ironworks and Oxford in that city and it will carry our civilization no doubt.

    Darrell
     
  20. pigswill

    pigswill fly (one day)

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    Lurking

    It occured to me that you might need to be a bit careful with settling: e.g. if the only coastal/river source of iron was two tiles from where you'd built a city to grab another resource you'd have a problem.
     

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