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The Challenges of That First Always War (AW) Game

Discussion in 'Civ3 Strategy Articles' started by CommandoBob, Jul 31, 2013.

  1. CommandoBob

    CommandoBob AbstractArt

    Joined:
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    Part One


    Intro
    I've been around for a while. Here at the forum I have been part of many Succession Games, a Democracy Game, two Multi Team Democracy Games, and even an Inter Site Democracy Game. I been in some Training Day games as a learner and have had occasion to be a teacher too. I even have some games in the Hall of Fame, which was easier than I expected. Those are not great games, but when each setting of map size/difficulty/victory condition can hold ten games and only three have been submitted for that combination, well, anything can happen.

    I have been fortunate enough to play in the Greebley and ThERat series of Always War games and lately in the CCM SGs. Those all were played against the full set of AI bad guys on extra large maps.

    But I haven't done a solo AW game.

    Until now.

    And it wasn't pretty.

    Now, I knew, in my mind I knew that a solo game would not be as easy as an SG. I wasn't prepared for the reality, however. It took me thirteen (13!) starts before I won my first game. Before I started I was prepared for a bad start or two, but not thirteen. I was a little bit smug regarding my solo playing. And the game was smugger about bringing me down to size.

    So, for those of you considering this rather demanding form of Civ3, let me share with you some of my insights into this challenging maelstorm of wits and naked aggression.


    What is Always War?
    Most of you know how an AW war game is defined. You don't make peace with anyone, ever. You meet them and delcare war. Well, maybe you give them a chance to take your gold for a tech. Or generously sell them a tech before you yell, "Off with their heads!". But mostly, war, war and more war. Pretty easy to grasp, actually.

    What can be overlooked is that war, war, war also removes your ability to be a trade broker and tech dealer. Now there is only one possible trade with each civ, on a take-it-or-leave-it basis. One shot per civ. No more and (too often) sometimes less.

    In turn, that means each tech must be self-taught or otherwise acquired outside of trade deals.

    Thus, learning Writing so that you can sell it to the Dutch for Bronze Working and to the Aztecs for Horseback Riding isn't going to be an option. That extra Spice won't work as trade bait either. Ouch.

    An AW game is a very different beast from a normal C3C Space Race game. Very different indeed.


    You Can't Win From Australia
    This isn't Risk. That strategy is fine for a normal Civ game but is the kiss of death in AW. Unless your island is close to the mainland. Meaning either coastal waters or narrow seas that can be crossed a galley. Any further out than that and all bets are off. Of my first four starts, two were large islands and required two IBTs to find the next closest land mass. To safely navigate the ocean blue would require either Navigation or Magnetism, which are at the tail end of the Middle Ages. Unless you have Iron, Horses and Saltpeter on your island, your military will be outclassed by the time you invade. Not really a fun experience.

    Map location is key to a good game. You do want to be somewhat isolated so that you can expand without a lot of problems. Ideally you would want to be on one end of a long serpentine land mass or start next to a good sized pennisula. Starting in the middle of the map, where you can be attacked on all sides, is not desired.

    But since you don't control this aspect of the game, you've just gotta start and see what happens.

    You do control map size and land mass. I started out with Huge maps, pangea land mass. Pangea wasn't a good idea and after five false starts I learned that lesson. I downsized to Huge Continents and did better but even in my best game I didn't do that well. Game 13 was Standard map size and continents and that was okay. Now I am tempted to go back to the a prior game and pick it up again. I am not sure it is a winnable game but it would be instructive.

    I played at Monarch difficulty. I like that level. It gives the AI a 10% discount on everything, which isn't too bad. And since it is an AW game, the difficulty goes up a bit, according to Arathorn in Comprehensive Guide to Variants. With a Standard map and Continents land mass, I think AW made this roughly equivalent of a normal Emperor level game. Huge and Pangea would definitely bump it up two levels.


    Know Who You Are
    I tend to play as a random civ. I let the game decide for me. That way I don't get stuck playing only one or two civs that I like best. It allows me to experience all the traits and play with civs I would normally avoid. I mean, who wants to conquer the world with India? I didn't, but I did.

    In AW, I don't think that is a good idea for your first game. You could get stuck with Rome or Persia and that would be bad. Both of thier UUs are Super Swords, and they are awesome units. All you need is Iron Working and Iron. Win a battle with them and that kicks off your Golden Age. Yipee! In Despotism. With small cities. Not so Yipee!

    In a normal game with Rome or Persia you could time your Golden Age to begin shortly after you became a Monarchy or Republic. After all, you'll be a peace with everyone until you decide it is time to shine. In AW you don't get that chance. And you will need Swords sooner rather than later.

    I played five of my thirteen games as Persia unitl I realized that I was avoiding Iron Working so as to prevent a too-early GA and therefore heading towards Monarchy was not the best tech route to follow. I was zigging when I really should have been zagging.

    Instead, choose a civ with a later UU, like a Super Knight or Super Cavalry.

    Of the civ traits, I think that SCI is critical, at least in your first game. It guarantees two, perhaps even three free techs for you. And they might even be helpful ones, too. At least you won't have to spend time learning them. MIL is nice, but not critical, since your veterans will promote to elites and they will become leaders. There will be plenty of battles for those promotions, never fear. REL is rather worthless in an AW game. COM, AGR, EXP and SEA don't impress me as good AW traits. IND is good for faster workers, which I always like.

    My last four games I went with the Ottomans, SCI and IND and the Sipahi is a Super Cavalry unit. And that worked for me.


    Be Pingy
    To my mind their are four basic military units in an AW game: Sneakers, Stickers, Pingers and Killers. And you need some of all of them.

    Sneakers are the fast units; Horses, Knights, Cavalry and such. They can swoop down on an isolated unit that has friends near by, eliminate that unit and then sneak back to the safety of a city or a stack of other units.

    Stickers are Spears, Pikes, Muskets, Rifle and Infantry. They defend and rarely attack. They sorta stick where you put them. Fortify and forget.

    Pingers are Catapults, Trebuchets, Cannons, Artillery and to a lesser extent Archers, since they have a defensive bombardment ablity. The rock throwing family of units are not helped by barracks and that fact can be helpful at times. While all of them have the defensive bombardment abilty, offensively they are potent too. Generally, just inflicting 1 HP on an enemy unit is enough for the AI to pull that unit outside of your borders and let it heal. Reducing a stack from 4 to 2 can be a big deal, especially when you need to bring in reinforcements. Plus, wounding units makes it easier to kill them.

    Killers are just that, the heavy hitters that pack and deliver your offensive punch. Archers, Swords, Maces and of course all the fast units. These are the units you use when you just need to whack someone and make sure they stack whacked.

    Now, none of that is new. But in AW, the Pingers are much more important than a normal game. Your cities will be attacked and you will have units on hills that you want to go away. An Archer on a hill is much harder to kill than one in the flatlands. You will need Pingers to soften up targets for an eventual kill. You will also need them to wound units and go away.

    One of the realities of the early AW game is that you won't have enough Killers to go around. In the Ancient Times, it is common that you are in a city and face a stack of three or four bad guys, say Swords. Pingers wound all of them but only two Killers, a Sword and a Horse, are on hand, along with a pair of Stickers. So, two of the trespassers die and the other two run away on the IBT. Your Pingers stay in place and reload some rocks for IBT attacks (which means they can be used twice in one turn!). This round goes to you.

    Now replay that without the Pingers. Four healthy Swords facing a Sword, Horse and two Spears. If both Killers win, that still leaves two healthy Swords ready to do damage to you. On the IBT, the Sword and a Spear are lost, and now the city is defended with a Spear and a Horse. And two bad guys banging on the front door. Not very pleasant. And if more bad guys show up from another civ, it is even worse.

    Morale: Don't scrimp on the Pingers! Don't go overboard with them either, but don't ignore them.


    Scout and Expand with Care
    You want to be able to build and place your first three to four cities rather quickly and without bother. You don't want to find neighbors too soon. Sure, they will die once they have met your fine and overly belligernt people, but for now you need some peace and quite in which to get set up. So don't scout too far from your borders. I send my first Warrior 3 tiles from the capital and then started to circle around, looking for good city sites.

    By the time you are ready to build your fifth city you are at war with somebody. Now building a new city is a bit trickier. The AI loves settler pairs but you cannot afford to do that. Starting a new city with only one defender is a good way to lose both. All of your cities will need at least two units in them. And they will need to be connected by roads as soon as possible, so that you can move reinforcements in quickly.

    Two units in a city will make them harder to capture. And make them happier, since in Despotism military units (MPs) in cities reduce unhappiness. Eventually this needs to become three untis per city, in anticpation of changing governments from Despotism to Monarchy. Monarchy has no War Weariness and the first three MPs reduce unhappiness. For MP duty, Warriors work just as well as Infantry.

    The need for more military units for attack and defense will slow down your expansion but it should not stop it. Unit support in Despotism is the same regardless of city size, so squeezing a settler out of a large city can be a good thing. It will make that city less cranky and easier to manage. The luxury slider can go down, which will help your economy.

    When you buidl a city in AW in Ancient Times, it must be able to defend itself until it is roaded. Even if the battles are all in the west and you are expanding eastwards, send two units with the settler. The second can be a turn or two behind but make sure it gets there.

    As a rule of thumb, I place cities in a CxxC pattern (City tile tile City) so that each city is three roaded tiles away from another city. This allows Spears and Archers and other Move 1 units to be shuffled around when needed and still have MPs in place.

    Sometimes it is possible to expand towards your enemies. When that can be done rather safely, do it. This will increase the number of uncontested and inaccessible tiles in your core, which makes it easier and safer for your workers to do improvements.


    Ancient eLearning
    Self research is the curse of AW games. Right off the bat you are at a disadvantage since tech trading is so unpredictable. So if you can trade for a tech, do so. It is one less that you have to pick up on your own.



    The techs in red give you military units. The ones in green are needed city improvements, with granaries and aqueducts being the two key improvements. Temples will be needed in the better producing core cities to keep them happy. Markets are not marked as needed, since three luxuries need to be connected before they begin to have an affect. Unless you are very lucky, you won't have three luxuries until the middle of the Middle Ages or so and by then markets will be needed. In the Ancient Times they are a needless expense.

    The Blue E are the needed survival techs of the Ancient Times. That would include Writing (to get to Literature) though it could exclude Currency (except that without Currency the blue doesn't look much like an 'E'). Those techs that are not part of the E will not let you live long and prosper in the era of stone knives and bearskin rugs.

    I am normally Wonder Adverse. I avoid Great Wonders as a rule. In AW, I think that The Great Library is almost a given build for you. It does take a city out of unit production for a good number of turns, often more than 30, but the results are worth it. You will pick up a lot of techs and their benefits without having to learn them yourself. And you won't have to build a bunch of libraries, either, when you really need to be cranking out military units.

    Education kills the affects of The Great Library but it does get you over the hump of the Ancient Times and into the Middle Ages. If it gives you Chivalry, great. If not, you do need to learn that tech. Knights are pretty awesome and Horses have a hard time killing them. (I've had Horses attacking Knights and it is pretty hard on the Horses; they die.) After that, beeline to Military Tradition.

    By now you will have some libraries built and may have even begun on a science farm area. Learning is still a slow process, but as you begin to grind down your opponents the technology gap becomes less of a problem. They may be three techs ahead of you, but if all they have is a one tile tropical island paradise, they are not a great threat.
     
  2. CommandoBob

    CommandoBob AbstractArt

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    Military Expansion
    Once you meet and declare war on a civ, they will send all their spare mililtary units in your direction with instructions to have a dance contest/party on your grave. That can be a majestic sight to behold and a royal pain in the backside until it is dealt with. However, wiith proper planning, unit allottment and distribution and average combat outcomes, that wave of the soon-to-be-dead will be a glorious and gloated over memory.

    When you begin to march on them and begin to pummell their cities decide how you want to handle each city after you capture it. Do you want to keep it or raze it and why? And there are no hard and fast, right and wrong answers. Let me share my own guidelines and things I consider.

    1. Can I keep it? Can it be defended from visible/expected counter attacks with the forces on hand? If not, maybe the attacks should be delayed.
    2. Does it have a Great Wonder I need? Then I will surely keep it.
    3. Does it have a Great Wonder? I find it hard to raze a city with a Great Wonder. I guess I'm just too soft in that regard. Raze a Great Wonder and it disappears from the Wonder Screen (F7). 'Poof!' and now it is gone. Were I to get credit for razing it on the F7 screen (The Oracle, built in 250 BC in London, England, destroyed in 1555 AD by the French) I would surely reconsider this glaring personal weakness.
    4. Does this city have any strategic value? Is it on a choke point or have a luxury or resource in its initial nine tiles? Does it give me easier access to other cities or allow movement through mountains, jungle or marshes? Then I will probably keep it.
    5. Do I want to spend time, effort and units to defend it? I mgiht keep a large city just to milk it for slaves. Tundra trash I will destroy. Rinky-dink coastal cities at size 2 from overseas civs aren't worth the bother either.
    6. Do I need more workers? Raze away.
    7. Do I want to settle this land anytime soon? If not, raze it.
    Don't expand too fast. Be the tortise, not the hare. Capture a city, defend it well, connect it, build up your forces, grind down the enemy and then take another city. It is a slow process. All your foes will want to attack your more recent acquistion and take it away from you. Good planning will defeat their dreams.

    It is too early in the game for surgical strikes. It is just a bar fight and you need to be baddest dude in the bar.

    One of the keys to AW victory is not wasting units. You will lose them, of course, but don't waste them. If they can attack but are exposed to counter-attacks afterwards, don't make the attack. Sending a Sword to knock off a redlined Archer is okay, unless there are two healthy Archers next to the redlined one. Let them come to you and attack you on the ground of your choice. There are times when you need to kill a high priority target regardless of the cost to the attacking unit. Do it. Try to avoid doing it too often.

    Of the lessons I had to learn, this was the hardest. Keeping cities when expanding as a Republic with just one enemy in a 'normal' game is much, much easier than expanding when everyone is your enemy. When in doubt, raze a captured city.


    Armies
    In this kind of game you will have armies. You need four cities to support an army. Military Great Leaders can build armies. So can the Small Wonder Military Academy, which is not available until you learn Military Tradition.

    Armies are neat and powerful units. They can heal in enemy territory and that is a very nice trait to have. They can hold three or four units and all of them are part of the attack. Thus, while a three Knight army has the same offensive power as three Knights, it uses all of their Hit Points when it attacks. An army is therefore almost guarenteed to kill the first unit it attacks, which makes it a great city-buster.

    Armies can also pillage a tile at any time at no cost, which can be helpful to slow down an onslaught of enemy forces.

    Healthy armies are ignored by the AI and not attacked by ground forces. Red-lined armies are not so lucky and attract enemy forces like blood in the water attracts sharks and therefore need to be protected by healthy armies. You can hide a lot of units under a healthy army.

    Armies are rugged units but they are not unbreakable. Rifles and Infantry can rip the heart out almost any army.

    The danger I found with armies was that I used them to bash a foe that was already weak enough for the non-armies to deal with. I really needed them someplace else to try and blunt a stronger civ's attempt to take me down. But it was too much fun using the armies to quickly demolish the remnants of Russia than use them to deal with the advancing Maya. Bad decision.

    Recognizing when and where to use amries is important. Most of them need to be facing your strongest opponent and bringing that guy down to size. You may need a few in the backfield to handle the little raids the AI likes to drop off. That makes sense; you want to deal with those pests as quick as possible. Just keep in mind where the real danger lies and don't waste these super units on mere sideshows.

    Which brings up a second danger point with armies. Until you gain the upper hand over a civ, they are best used to support the other military units and make their life easier. This will mean open field combat without the use of Pingers. It means keeping your armies close together for mutual support in case one gets unexpectedly mauled. It means letting your armies heal back into the green zone before using them in combat operations.

    Most importantly it means that you don't attack cities you intend to keep without the support troops being nearby to hold that city. Armies in cities will not prevent the AI from attacking the city. The army will defend first and could be killed by repeated assullts. In determining city strength, I think the game counts the army as one unit, but that is just a guess. If you plan to raze the city, an army can protect the workers as they begin their new life as slaves.

    By making life easier for the non-armies, those other units can promote from Veteran to Elite and Elite to MGL, which leads to more armies.

    In my first victory I had 23 Armies. Four were lost in combat. One of those was a stupid mistake on my part. I loaded up an Army with one unit and sent it out to do battle. It died on its first IBT. Well, as I said, my stupid mistake. And while I built Military Academy, I only built two armies with it. My first Army, of Swords, built in 460 AD, lasted the entire game, guarding some Fur colonies in the back water areas of my own contient. Both Knight Armies patrolled the coastline and greeted inquistive AI settler pairs. Two more Sipahi armies watched and fought around Constantinople. The Rifle army was used to invade and subdue our first island conquest. The other thirteen Sipahi Armies were used to grind down enemy cities and units. Last army was built in 1822 AD; game ended in 1852 AD.


    City Builds
    In some ways this is much easier in an AW game. You need units and lots of them. Which means Barracks are the first or second build, followed by Granaires for faster growth and then Aqueducts for larger cities and improved unit support (in Monarchy). You may need Temples in your core cities to keep the city productive with having to divert too much commerce into the luxury slider. If there is a problem city, build the Temple because you need it.

    The key is building infrastructure without slowing down unit production. And while it really cannot be done there are a few things you can do to make the pain less.

    Most obvious is to stagger infrastructure production. If three cities need Temples, build it first where it can be built the fastest. Let the other two cities limp along until the first Temple is built or just about built, then start Temple #2 and then #3.

    Same is true of learning Construction and you can now build Aqueducts. Some cities won't need but if all the cities that do need it suddenly switch to it, your unit production is going to plummet. Let one or maybe two start on these things and keep the others cranking out the Killers, Stickers, Sneakers adn Pingers. As one aqueduct ompletes, then swtich over the next city.

    Not every city needs every improvement and in AW the need in most citites is even less. I thought I understood this principal but I am convinced that I did not understand it well enough. Libraries, as the SCI Ottomans, are only 40 shields instead of the normal 80. That made them too easy to build. And so I built them too early. If you can build The Great Library, you can wait until its effects expire before you build a normal library. And by this time the front lines should not be near your capital and core.


    AI Randomness
    Bombardments
    Nothing better exemplifies the AI willingess to do something no matter how useless than the apparent random bombardment of coastal hexes. Once the other civs can build Frigates, they will be sent to shell your coastland in ways you cannot even begin to explain. Turn after turn after turn, they will pick one, just one tile and focus their attention on it, until that tile is cratered, and then they move on to do it somewhere else.

    So make it work for you. Recognize that if the tile is not a city tile, it will become a big crater and need to be cleaned up. Fortify a Sticker on the tile. Bombardments will fall upon the unit first, perhaps redlining it, and then start to strike the improvements. Don't worry too much about the unit; just let it heal as it can or swap it out with a healthy one from a near by barracks. If the tile is cratered, send some slaves to clean it up.

    The idea is this: if the AI wants to target a tile you can live without, encourage the AI to keep on targeting that tile so that it won't seek a better target. I would much rather watch Frigates shell Pikes on the sea shore than have them cause havoc in a city by destroying a Temple or Market.

    Raids
    Does this sound too familiar?
    I never imagined that the AI raiding tactics were based on Churchill. :eek:

    This is easy enough to defend against; keep your cities well defended and have some Sneakers placed throughout your empire to deal quickly and decisively with such raids. It is a bit harder in practise as I found out.

    But I got lucky. I had captured and kept Constantinople since it contained The Pyramids. It was on my initial continent and a good distance from the capital. It had a high flip risk so I did not station troops inside the city. Unknown to me, several overseas foes had Galleons loaded with troops looking for trouble. They saw this empty coastal city as an easy target. So they started to land troops nearby. And they died. More landed on the next turn and they died. I had a Sipahi Army, 4 units strong, hanging around Constantinople, along with some Cannons. I had just learned Steam Power and very early during these raids the path to here was railed.

    Over time, at least 20 and possibly as many as 40 raiders were wiped out and none of them lasted long enough to have a second IBT on my ground.

    Once I saw what was happening, I just let it continue. And why not? The AI had a target and I had a way to promote Veterans into Elites and Elites into MGLs. This theater did not threaten any productive cities. It gave the AI a way to dispose of units. It gave me a way to kill units that were not being used to defend cities. It was a Win-Win. We both were happy.

    If you can get this to happen, milk it for all it is worth.

    Settler Pairs
    When I conquered my initial continient, I razed many of the cities that were far away and too spread out to protect. This left a lot of ground that was empty and unclaimed. I had positioned coast-watcher units and generally ignored that area. Lots of grassland and some good rivers but I was not producing many settlers and the ones I did build went to expand the science farms around Constantinople.

    My enemies did not ignore this vast wasteland. To them, it was an area where they could expand. And they tried. However, I had stationed two Knight Armies along the coast and they maintained a steady stream of settlers-to-slaves for the greater Ottoman empire. It was almost too easy. The Rifles, Calvary and Infantry that were protecting those settlers weren't too happy with the outcome, but that was to be expected.


    Navy
    C3C is generally all about land warfare. Naval units seem too fragile. But with a Continent land mass option, it has to be in the plans. But when?

    In this game I did not concern myself with naval affairs until it was clear that I had subdued my continent. There was no reason until then to go sailing. And when I did finally set sail, I stayed away from known areas of bombardment and raiding paths. I think I coud have safely sailed in and around the raiding paths, since those units are going somewhere specific. But around the bombardment dudes, a nearby ship at sea was the best target in the areea.

    Once I found a nearby island of bad guys, I was able to ship chain over there with only one transfer point. I put four Frigates there and was never bothered by any AI ships. This could have been because there were four Frigates in one tile or because the AI navies were busy doing other things.

    I also learned that while Galleons upgrade to Transports, Frigates are like Cavalry. They do not upgrade. Destroyers and Tanks have to be built from scratch.

    How to Know The Game is in The Bag
    Or, how do you know you will win?

    I felt pretty good about my chances of winning when my initial continent was mine. There was still a lot of fighting and all of it had to be done carefully, but with that landmass just to myself it seemed to be a good sign for eventual victory. OF course, I had to find where to invade, since I didn't have a navy at this point. But I got lucky and found targets rather nearby.

    However, even though the signs may point to a win, you still have to go back to the basics of how you got this far. True, by this time I had four unit Sipahi armies, artillery and railroads, and plenty of workers. But the AI didn't know it was a lost cause and they didn't give up. And you can't slack off on your attacks and defensive prepartions/positions. The last two civs I faced both had Infantry fortified in their cities. My continent suffered from AI raids, misguided AI nomads and random Frigate Firing Frenzies right up until the last turn.

    Most of my comments and points really apply up to help get you to that point where you know you are going to win. Getting to that point is the challenge.


    My Starts
    I have mentioned some of these starts and alluded to others. Below is a brief summary of my attempts.

    01 Mongols (Monarch, Huge, Pangea),up to 70 AD. Austrailian start; nearest land 6 sea/ocean tiles away due East.
    02 Egypt (Monarch, Huge, Pangea), up to 250 AD. Middle of the map start and tried to learn Monarchy too early, just Spears and Archers.
    03 Netherlands (Monarch, Huge, Pangea), up to 270 AD. Next door to Rome with Legionaries; we had Spears and Archers, a desert to the north and jungle to the south.
    04 Ottomans (Monarch, Huge, Pangea), up to 250 AD. Austrailian start, no contact with any other civs.
    05 Persia (Monarch, Huge, Pangea), up to 300 AD. Smallest city count, with largest next door; expanded the wrong way. Spears and Archers vs. Bowman, Swords, Horses and Impis.
    06 Persia (Monarch, Huge, Continents), up to 170 BC. Six cities; Archers and Spears and Horses could not stop Incan Swords.
    07 Persia (Monarch, Huge, Continents), up to 350 BC. Island start, Byzantines due north via coastal waters; Map Making for Galleys in 48 turns.
    08 Persia (Monarch, Huge, Continents), up to 1315 AD. Good, isolated start. Then twenty Iroquois Knights and French Musketeers. Had 196 land tiles, 19 cities and no Iron. No way.
    09 Persia (Monarch, Huge, Continents), to 490 AD. A much worse start, facing Arab and Iroquios Swords and again, no Iron.
    10 Ottomans (Monarch, Huge, Continents), up to 1250 AD. Expanded too fast, fighting Knights with Spears and Swords, still in Ancient Age (Currency in 36 turns).
    11 Ottomans (Monarch, Huge, Continents), up to 1500 AD. Fighting Cavalry and Muskets with Sword Armies. Just learned Military Tradtion for Sipahis. Misplayed Armies in this one. Then Sumeria dropped off 10 Knights in Science Farm territory defended by mostly wounded units. Did not want to face that onslaught. Gave up.
    12 Ottomans (Monarch, Huge, Continents), up to 90 AD. Bad, cramped start in mountains and hills and deserts beyond the mountains. Short coastline and six cities. Built The Great Library. Capital too exposed.
    13 Ottomans (Monarch, Standard, Continents), yes, I retreated back to a Standard map size and continents to give myself a decent chance of winning. Last turn was 1852 AD, still in the Industrial Age.

    13th Start and 1st AW Victory


    Which lead to this...


    And yes, I thought it was worth it.
     
  3. Aabraxan

    Aabraxan Mid-level Micromanager

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    Well done, CommandoBob, as we've come to expect from you. I'm a little surprised that you're just now getting around to AW. I've been AWOL from Civ for a while, but AW has been my variant of choice lately. Well, that and a cooperative game with the Little Warmonger that lives at my house. (It turns out that she's a builder at heart. ;))
     
  4. vmxa

    vmxa Chieftain

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    AW forever. Nice job Cbob, as usual. I like AWE continents as the invasion are so hazardous. I would only say that being isolated is very deadly on AWE for me. I need to get that army early and having no one around right away hinders that.

    It is the same for me in an island Sid game, no early contacts and no chances of a leader. Makes it hard imo. The other thing that having lots of time to expand does in AW is to trick you into making too many towns.

    That makes it hard to hold them as you likely will not have build enough units and of course do not have an army. 10-15 towns and no rails and no army is very dangerous I think in AW. It is so easy to just go into your non AW habits, if you have time and room to expand. Then the sky falls in on you, lol.

    SG's are about 1.5 levels easier. So for sure you do not want to play above AWE in solo, unless you have a super start. Even then it can be very rough.
     
  5. iPwn

    iPwn Chieftain

    Joined:
    May 6, 2011
    Messages:
    45
    On tiny maps corruption is devastating so expanding is not that important. It is ok to have , say, six towns and fight against 3 AI who have 10 towns each - in other words, tiny continents map makes demigod or deity doable. You might want to play with Greece or Sumeria.
     

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