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Sullla's AI Survivor Season Eight - Game 5 Thread

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Sullla's AI Survivor Season 8 continues this Friday, July 12th on Sullla's Twitch Channel at noon EDT. Wimbledon, the 4th of July, Bastille Day--what a festive fortnight! Too bad the French outclass the others nearly leader for leader in the power rankings...

AI Survivor returns next week with somewhat of an oddball field. Darius and Ramesses are the only leaders to attract significant fantasy bids, but the former is currently splitting predictions for first with Pacal, perhaps a reflection of how much the community prefers the Mayan leader. Asoka and Hatshepsut round out the high peace weight bloc with Brennus on the outs. What could go wrong with four Spiritual leaders, two Financial, and three Mysticism starts? Additionally, Henrik has a small fantasy bid on Hatshepsut.

Game Five Roster.png


Watch the preview here, read up on the game here, and join in the fun by making your predictions here. (You can check out the current picks here). And a hearty welcome to all to discuss the game in this thread and follow along for what will hopefully continue to be a dynamic and entertaining season!

And if one contest just isn't enough, check out the friendly casino thread presented by @Fippy (AKA My)!
 
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This might not end up being the most exciting match to watch on the stream, but I'm glad to have an oddball change-of-pace game like this one, and it's proven an interesting one to analyze as well.

Five peaceful builder personalities with just one warmonger in the mix could make for a quiet game after the early stages, especially since Pacal is the only one of this bunch who will declare war at Pleased. I think there's a real chance that this could end up being the first match in AI Survivor history where nobody dies! I'll go on record and predict that we see this at least one in the alternate histories, if nothing else. Religion is also likely to be very important to how this game plays out since everybody places at least a moderate emphasis on faith. That might get some blood to be shed if nothing else does.



Before leader analysis, though, the Leader Seeding Watch for this matchup!

Pacal II currently occupies the 5th seed with 37 total points. He is only five points ahead of the top Pool 2 leader and so could in theory be in some danger; however, I suspect that he has enough of a buffer that the danger of him losing his Pool One status is low. If he scores any points in this game, he will displace Kublai Khan and move up to the fourth seed. A win with at least one kill would move him past Justinian and into the third seed. That's the highest he can go in a single game, though.

Darius I currently occupies the 10th seed with 29 total points. While he is only 5 points ahead of the top unseeded leader, he is high enough in Pool Two that I don't think he faces any meaningful danger of losing his seed this season. Moving up, on the other hand... A win would move Darius into Pool One, displacing Stalin. A win with at least one kill would move him into the seventh seed ahead of Gilgamesh. A dominant three-kill win would move him ahead of Julius Caesar and possibly Pacal, well into the ranks of Pool One. Darius as a Pool One leader?!?!? The possibility is very, very real.

The remaining four leaders all have low enough power ranking scores that there is no chance of them moving into the ranks of the seeded leaders in this game, although with multiple strong performances across the season, it's feasible for some of them...



Now then. Leader analysis for this game specifically.

Right now, Darius is essentially co-favorites with Pacal in the picking contest, and I'd say that him being at the top is correct. Central positions can be dangerous, but in this largely peaceful field, I think it's more of a strength here. Darius has the most room to expand peacefully, the most options to expand militarily, Financial trait, and is on the right side of the numbers. He has to have the best odds of winning, especially since all the other leaders have notable issues.

Pacal is the co-favorite, but I think this is another case of too much picking based on reputation. I do not like his position on this map; he's stuck in the corner against the coast, has capital resources that don't match his starting techs at all, and perhaps most importantly is on the wrong side of the numbers. His peaceweight is often a boon to him, but here it will work against him; I expect him to get harassed too much to be able to pull ahead. Unless Darius goes after him I don't know how likely he is to actually die and his Wildcard or even second place odds might be decent, and there's probably games in the alternate histories where he gets left alone, something happens to Darius, and then Pacal's traits hand him the win. He's honestly probably in the top three of most likely to win this map even with all the issues with this position. However, I think the odds of him winning are significantly lower than they are for Darius.

Ramesses has been largely dismissed in the Discord but I actually kind of like his position? At any rate, he has a wheat that he can immediately farm, and several nearby gold resources to potentially settle; I especially like his position if he gets that juicy floodplains region between himself and Darius. (If Darius gets it, on the other hand, it's probably game over for everybody else already.) There's also a generous helping of tundra to his south, and while that's not great land, it is still land, and every fishing village he gets there will help his cause that much more. With no major threats near at hand, he's a great bet to survive the match and I think he has solid odds of second place. Winning is going to be a tall order, though, and I think would require getting the best of a dogpile of Darius.

By contrast, there's been a lot of chatter about Asoka but I'm not a fan of his position at all. His land is greener than Ramesses', but he'll have a slower start with no immediately improvable resources, and has plain ocean where Rams has all that tundra. I think Asoka will be too cramped on this map to be able to compete for the win, and the likelihood of him taking a significant amount of extra territory is quite low. With all of these religion-focused leaders I doubt even Cultural victory is in the cards for him. He's sheltered enough that he has strong Wildcard odds, but I think that's about it.

Then there's poor Hatty, whose horrible luck continues. Her start is nice and she should be able to get a strong landgrab, but she's practically being forced into early conflict with Brennus, and could get dogpiled by Pacal as well if things go particularly badly. This being Hatty, I don't think early conflict will go so well for her, and at minimum I expect she'll be hamstrung enough to be out of the running to win. Yet somehow, she's still one of the most likely leaders to win on this map, because if she can avoid destructive conflict and get the better of Brennus (or turn him into a friend via religion), then Darius is the only leader likely to be able to compete with her economically. We'll see how this goes; will she remain scoreless for an eighth straight season?

Finally, Brennus sticks out like a sore, very aggressive thumb. I don't think he has a shot at winning this game; somebody somewhere is going to tech too far ahead of him a la Caesar in his Seasons 5 and 6 openers. However, as the only warmonger on the map, and one who could be potentially befriended thanks to his religious focus and refusal to attack at Pleased, he is a massive wildcard who could easily determine the fate of his game. I'm not sure how well this will go for him or how likely he is to take second place, but he's the biggest one to watch for sure.



This time, unlike normal, I went with what I consider to be a pretty conservative pick for the map. I have Darius to win an early Spaceship victory, Ramesses in second, and poor Hatty as the first to die.
 
Should culture win be favored over space here again? I think so.

I disagree, my suspicion is that with all the econ/religious leaders here, the cultural prizes will be split enough that a cultural win is relatively unlikely. I could be wrong (especially if somebody pulls ahead in tech and cleans up all the later stuff) but I think we're in for more space wins, especially if Darius is the strongest leader as I suspect he will be.

Both are probably more likely than Domination with this bunch, though.
 
I find the Power Rankings to be a rather flawed measure (hence the cheeky comment in my original post). Rather than the current pools, it would make more sense for the cutoff to fall after Darius, as there are eight AI alone in the 24-26 point range! Pool 2 effectively elevates the above average at the expense of the good. Just including kills makes the Power Rankings less about advancing; however, this probably increases the odds of dynamic games.

As it stands, I think Gilgamesh, Stalin, Suryavarman, Darius, Louis, Alexander, Catherine, and Cyrus all have a chance to contest 37 points. For some it would clearly be harder, but two wins and a couple kills is not beyond any of these leaders. And, while it would not be definitive, Asoka could knock out four AI as a religious minority and be in the mix at 25 points.

If the Alternate Histories can fill in the blanks, Game 5 lacks any consistently successful leaders, instead featuring an assortment of above and below average AI.

As for culture, I share Eauxps' reservations. Darius and the two pharaohs seem likely to pursue religion, but the Mysticism starts (in particular Pacal) are in a strong position to dominate the early ones. This combined with distributed econ/wonder-fanaticism would appear to weaken odds of a Cultural victory.
 
I find the Power Rankings to be a rather flawed measure (hence the cheeky comment in my original post). Rather than the current pools, it would make more sense for the cutoff to fall after Darius, as there are eight AI alone in the 24-26 point range! Pool 2 effectively elevates the above average at the expense of the good. Just including kills makes the Power Rankings less about advancing; however, this probably increases the odds of dynamic games.

As it stands, I think Gilgamesh, Stalin, Suryavarman, Darius, Louis, Alexander, Catherine, and Cyrus all have a chance to contest 37 points. For some it would clearly be harder, but two wins and a couple kills is not beyond any of these leaders. And, while it would not be definitive, Asoka could knock out four AI as a religious minority and be in the mix at 25 points.

If the Alternate Histories can fill in the blanks, Game 5 lacks any consistently successful leaders, instead featuring an assortment of above and below average AI.

As for culture, I share Eauxps' reservations. Darius and the two pharaohs seem likely to pursue religion, but the Mysticism starts (in particular Pacal) are in a strong position to dominate the early ones. This combined with distributed econ/wonder-fanaticism would appear to weaken odds of a Cultural victory.

I do agree that the Power Rankings aren't the best system, although I myself can't easily think of anything better. In particular, the latest alternate histories (thread for that when?) pushed me towards feeling like kills are a bit overvalued. Currently there's no way to get partial credit for a decent game except getting that last hit.

In any case, if it wasn't clear, my seeding watch specifically is covering leaders in the upcoming game, and whom are seeded or I think have a realistic chance of moving up in a single game. For Asoka, I think the likelihood of a four-kill game is so remote as to be not worth considering.
 
I also like to keep an eye on the live rankings and pooled leaders, so I am curious what they reflect. One change could be ranking by finishes without counting kills.

Thank you for the alternate histories (and writeup) for Game Two! I'm not sure where they belong. You could start a new thread, but I suspect turning Plains-Cow's thread for Game One into a Season 8 AH mega-thread would better meet interest.
 
A thought I recently had on rankings would be scoring leaders based on the highest in-game score they reached, perhaps with a bonus for winning the game. That would certainly make a distinction between a leader who was a complete failure on the map and one who conquered half the map before falling behind in tech and getting torn apart, for example. Unfortunately, I doubt that this is practical to actually implement.
 
That sounds a lot like what I consider "mid-game score leaders." Unfortunately, the conversion rate is not great! I like the idea of Alternate Histories determining the ranking, but it's more entertaining for the game we watch together to be significant even as an outlier.

As for the game at hand, my intuition says Darius wins with Hatshepsut conquering Brennus for second :eek: Running tests for last season, I was impressed how many times Hatshepsut War-Chariot-rushed Catherine.
 
Considering Brennus and Hatshepsut I think that Brennus has good chances in early warfare, simply due to him having Copper next to his capital. The only Copper Hatshepsut has a chance to grab is the one north-east of Brennus and I thik he will likely get that one too. I do not think that Brennus will avoid Bronze Working long enough for a War Chariot rush.

OTOH I think that Pacal will go Fishing first, leaving Asoka and Brennus to found the early Religions. If Hatshepsut converts to Brennus' Religion they will quickly be pleased and at peace. Since they are almost connected by River I believe this to be more likely.

The situation between Ramses and Asoka is similar.

The big question is where Darius will expand to. He could choke of Pacal or Ramses (maybe even both, if they settle stupidly) or go north.
 
The only Copper Hatshepsut has a chance to grab is the one north-east of Brennus and I thik he will likely get that one too.
Hatshepsut has copper on her east desert coast, but I am not sure how fast she can settle for that.

And your big question is right, if Darius goes for the corn on his west that could finish Ramesses game quite fast.

Of all the discussion above about religions splitting around, culture victory being less likely, sometimes non myst leader opens with myst and polytheism ,while all other myst starting leaders race for meditation thus allowing Hatshepsut like leaders to get one of the early religions. Which can be then followed by monotheism and oracle fun.

My first feelings for this game was either Darius space and one of other 3 pw 6 above leaders finishing second or Hatshepsut culture victory with Darius or Ramesses second. Ramesses can have a shot to win too, especially if he attacks Brennus/Pacal mid game and claims some land. Others I don't like much.

If there is not much demand on Hatshepsut I think I will pick her to win over Darius for fun.
 
Honestly I don't know if there's ever been a game where no one dies but this could be it. These AI's just aren't very aggressive and if Brennus gets the same religion as say Hatty there really may not even be many wars. Lots of leaders who love wonders/religions so I don't think anyone goes Culture effectively. I got Darius winning by Space since he has more and better land than Pacal. Maybe Ramessess second.
 
What are you guys talking about? Darius outsettling anybody? Won't he found 4-5 cities and then wait for the sun to set? :)

(He's my favourite leader, so I hope he takes this opportunity to shine - much like the sun!)
 
I run sullas maps as a test but in switchhero fashion but with AP, and I have seen 4 games out of 730 where no AI died so far.. same setting with game having AP. Without Apostolic place that chances for Brennus or Pacal not to die (none) should be even lower.

Good news for Hatshepsut is Brennus is only half of a warmonger unlike Boudica. Not as scary. And Pacal does he even train units? for example put Sitting Bull or Washington next to him then he is dead for sure.
 
It could be more violent than people expect : both Egypt and Persia have a UU which allow very early DOWs, before shared religion and other diplo bonuses kick in.
Anyone late in connecting metals could be in some trouble as an opportunity target.

I believe last season's alternate histories have illustrated that with Darius quite often declaring early on Brennus.
A quick glance at the map shows Pacal with Iron but no Copper ? He tends to delay IW, so while Holkans will have no trouble versus Immortals or WCs, axes wouldn't be far behind...
 
Honestly I don't know if there's ever been a game where no one dies but this could be it.

It still has yet to happen in a real game, though it has shown up several times in Alternate Histories. Always a low-odds outcome, but you never know...
 
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