Reflections on Fast Diplo/SS Win At Regent Level


Feb 15, 2005
In my Quartermaster Quest, I need a Regent-level win that will hit the boards. My weakest Machiavelli score is on Diplo, where I am hanging onto one board with a 10th place. So I decided to go for Large / Regent / Diplo where there are only 8 spots anyway and worse case I get Quartermaster with a 9 position on Regent/Diplo. In addition, the 8th spot is 1802 which I thought, given my Regent milk run, would be pretty easily beaten.

My theory was Continents / Wet / 60% /all Scientific opponents/ minimum required for Large to give myself (1) lots of room to spread out; (2) food potential to grow cities, and get commerce & beakers in the door; (3) I could be good friends with the civs on the other continent when it came time to vote for UN Sec Gen. even if I needed to beat up the locals on my own continent for resources / luxes etc. I decided to go with Greeks for Scientific / Commercial so I could get a bigger OCN for productive cities and get the free techs each age.

My first effort I made it to about 10 BC before I gave up on it. Because I had decided to fight a relatively large war with two neighbors, I chose Monarchy instead of Republic. As my tech pace slowed, I realized that it was just dumb, dumb, dumb. I should have listened to @SuedecivIII (
). Also, my efforts to gift the Regent level AI to the Middle Age was just ineffective.

My second effort is going well in a Republic and I reckon that I'll finish somewhere around 1450-1550, for #6 on the chart, I think. But I could have shaved off turns and challenged for #5 I believe if I did it again. Some lessons learned:

(1) Diplo / SS fast finish is all about tech pace. You need to fly through the tech tree, get Fission (hopefully for free as your Modern Age tech), finish your UN prebuild a turn after you create a world war against your biggest rival and it's over. That means you don't research Monarchy, Printing Press, Music Theory, Chivalry, Economics, Navigation, Military Tradition, Nationalism, Fascism, Espionage, Communism, Ironclads, Amphibious War, and Advanced Flight. You need to research 45 techs if you are lucky to get Fission as your free Modern Age tech, 46 if not, and +1 if you get Nationalism as your Industrial Age tech. (That includes the fact that you start with 2 free techs). Republic and LIterature are technically optional, but I don't see fast tech without them, so I think they are mandatory. Technically I guess you could wait for an AI to research Literature after you gift them all the other techs (or they could pop from a hut) and trade for it. But you need it to build libraries to help the tech pace in your core. This speaks to having variety in your AI opponets so you can have all the starting techs out there. I didn't have the Wheel (should have picked Japan) out there, but had all the others, I think. Their are 7 starting techs if you include Japan, so trading for the other 5 brings you down to 40.

(2) At Regent level, the AI needs to be dragged along from a tech standpoint. They just don't generate useful techs. After the starting techs, they can't keep pace with a human Republic. And in the Industrial era we all know they go down the Useless Path. In my current game, my gifting of the other civs to the Middle Ages DID NOT GENERATE A SINGLE UNIQUE TECH. That sucked, they all got Monotheism like I did - 4 for 4 that I had contact with at the time. By the time I hit the other 2, I already had the MedAge starting techs. They won't be helpful in an age you gifted them into, either, because they will be so far behind and their civs won't produce enough beakers for the new age tech. You are on your own from a tech perspective, absent good luck when you gift them into the new age, with the POSSIBLE exception of Mysticism and Polytheism while you are going after Republic.

(3) The only true luck you can get for an earlier finish is popping techs from goody huts in the Ancient Age (SGLs this game are just a matter of probability). Popping 4-5 non starting techs from goody huts makes a huge difference since those Ancient Age pre-Republic techs can take a long time to research. Some will overlap with starting techs from other civs BUT in my game I actually had a two-tech hut...I popped Philosophy and immediately got Code of Laws from being the first to Philo (second, if you count that tribe that gave it to me ;-) ). I also popped Horseback Riding. That's a huge boost, maybe 20-30 turns. I can see why Russia is often picked for Diplo/SS.

(4) If you have enough room for your optimal city number, and sufficient food in your area, I'm not sure war is even necessary. And certainly the Regent AI doesn't warrant a 15 Treb stack like I built and pay for (but disbanding the Trebs can be beneficial). I have run into a few pikes at 1000 AD but its mostly just spears. I researched Chivalry - a 4 turn distraction - and I'm not sure Horsemen/Archers/MI weren't more than enough if you have a good Treb or Cat stack. I did a two-stage war against the Byz and the first stage ran through them with 10 Arch/2 Cats. At best they had 2 spears in their cities. Smaller army / no war certainly reduces the need for Unit Support in Republic. Outlying cities don't produce many beakers and probably they should be beaker specialists if you can get food in them. In my current game I am in a very one sided war with the Russians, who are way behind on tech and aren't going to give me any luxes or resources (I don't even have access to saltpeter, so my 4 turns on Mil Trad to get an unstoppable cavalry force was wasted). I'll finish what I started, but mostly the resources and unit support aren't speeding my victory. Regent AI just aren't a threat militarily. They are a non-factor.

(5) SGLs (you should get some) are probably only useful for Copernicus / Newton / ToE / United Nations. Obviously, ToE and UN are the two priorities as ToE saves you 8 turns at minimum and UN wins you the game. I actually now regret using my one SGL on Newton's when it would have been better saved for the UN, which is a 1000 shield wonder and the biggest pre-build is Hoover Dam at 800, I believe. Theoretically, I am due for another SGL given all the tech I'm doing on my own but I've been unlucky so far. I'd think 2 SGLs are what you should get with average luck and it's arguable you should save the first one you get for UN and just use the second one for one of the other 3 I mentioned.

(6) Should be obvious, but you are absolutely in desperate need of workers to create roads and get the extra commerce and settle on every river you can find. Commerce / beakers / GO! I probably do not have enough. Probably I should have had 2 worker factories going at the start (but unit costs).

(7) I got Colossus in my second city on the coast with good production. Goes without saying that's your Harbor / Aqueduct / Library/ Univ/ Copernicus / Newton city. I wound up getting a coastal tile on a river so I didn't need Aqueduct. 4 river tiles with two flood plains in its big cross are huge. Two hills and two mountains are nice, would be nicer with gold or a lux in them.

(8) I timed my Golden Age with a Hoplite right after I hit the Republic. I only built 1 in a core city away from the front to avoid triggering. Maybe early, but I zoomed through early Middle Age tech which would have been otherwise much more expensive while my empire grew.

(9) Micromanaging your sliders is an absolute must, especially on the 4 turn research phase. Save up gold for when you need to put the pedal to the metal for the expensive techs. I try (not always successfully) to do it every turn. Also, excess food in corrupt places needs to be turned into beakers through scientists, I think. 30 beakers across 10 corrupt towns makes a difference even if it allows you to generate more gpt by adjusting the slider.

I feel like I learned a ton from this effort and definitely think I could take a run at the #5 spot if I tried again. I'd have to study the top 4 spots for clues on how they played it to hit 1000 AD / earlier. I see how its possible. Large worlds are such a slog though. War may be more important to get big enough civs to research fast on Tiny / Small. If I played this world again, I'd have saved 8 turns researching Chiv / Military Tradition and would have junked the Russian war. More workers, etc. (I wish I had Civ Assist telling me when there are workers available for trade).
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