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The Conscientious Empire: A Peaceful Builder Challenge

Discussion in 'Civ3 - Strategy & Tips' started by D.N. Pacem, Mar 25, 2008.

  1. TheOverseer714

    TheOverseer714 Overseer

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    I think this is a very interesting variant, and was pulled off brilliantly by the OP. I hope to see it in the stories and tales section, a little break from the "Country X rules the planet!" variety which, though fun to read, are pretty much omnipresent. Good work, D. N.!
     
  2. D.N. Pacem

    D.N. Pacem Chieftain

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    Thanks all.

    I tend to have rather unusual ideas, so it wouldn’t have surprised me if this one had received little (or only negative) attention. It's cool to find there are others who think playing this way could be interesting.

    As you might imagine, I’ve always preferred the peaceful builder route. I’ve never had a game totally without war, but in my first emperor win I had just one 1-turn war in which I simultaneously wiped out the Egyptians and started my golden age. However, I was always a slave-owning, ethnic-cleansing, ivory-dealing whaler.

    I’ve only played one game set for a conquest or domination victory. I won the game, and it remains my second-highest score, but my displeasure with constantly looking around to see who I could beat up next helped lead me in this new direction.

    When I decided to stop doing all the things I wouldn’t do in real life, I figured this would put me at a substantial disadvantage. Oddly, this hasn’t been the case. I mentioned earlier my surprise at how easily I dominated my last monarch-level attempt. Since then, I’ve finished an emperor game. Here’s my empire one turn before I launched my spaceship:

    1772Aonebeforewin.JPG

    I’ve never before, at any level, had this much money or launched my ship this early. Sure, I’m still learning and getting better every game, but the high hurdle I expected in my progress has so far turned out to be a speed bump. And to me at least, the win is much more satisfying knowing I didn’t violate my code of ethics.

    So now I’m going to take it up to deity level. I fully expect to get chewed up and spit out. I’m not allowed to ask you to pray for me, but you can wish me luck.
     
  3. D.N. Pacem

    D.N. Pacem Chieftain

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    Thanks.

    And yes, it was.
     
  4. D.N. Pacem

    D.N. Pacem Chieftain

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    Worker tip:

    When you take a town and capture multiple enemy workers, be sure to spread them out when sending them into their home territory to be recaptured. This way, each one can take a move away from an enemy military unit. If you stack them, they can all be captured at once by one unit.

    In the example below, I captured 4 workers when I took Sidon. With the fifth there that I built at Gordium I could have blocked the continent, but that would have impeded my Arab allies.

    Wdef.png
     
  5. Snarkhunter

    Snarkhunter Chieftain

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    I, too, enjoyed this thread. It's not likely that I would ever play this variant, but it has some appeal--call me a Builder with strong war-like tendencies, or a Warmonger seduced by building :lol: --but I'm glad someone went to the trouble of working it out. If nothing else, it makes you think about exploring the possible directions you can take this game within the confines of the code.

    What I would particularly enjoy--in the tradition analogous to something like Asimov's Three Laws stories--is descriptions of conundrums not anticipated by the rules, unexpected problems, & their solutions.

    kk
     
  6. D.N. Pacem

    D.N. Pacem Chieftain

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    I made the OP intentionally brief to leave as many of the decisions up to individual players as I could while covering the most important issues. As always, I welcome challenges to my main points, but there are a number of other considerations I didn't include that I'm hoping will encourage others to offer their solutions.

    As an example, I'll offer so-called "suicide galleys." Sending a galley (and its crew) off on a mission that will more than likely kill them all does not sound like something a benevolent leader would do.

    Historically, though, that's not how it happened. Columbus, for example, went around looking for someone to fund such a trip -- he wasn't forced into it. In addition, there's strong evidence that the Vikings made it to the Americas before Columbus, and growing evidence that people living in what is now France made the trip 15,000 years ago.

    Exploration is part of human nature, and I have no doubt I will find brave sailors among my people who are more than willing to attempt such a voyage for a chance at the glory. The same goes for the astronauts who will eventually pilot our spaceship to Alpha Centauri.

    "Suicide galleys" are poorly named in my opinion, and are a natural expression of the human spirit in my empires.

    Game update:

    Crushed.
    460Alost.JPG

    But then, I've never won a game at deity level.

    I've since picked up CivIII complete, and I'm now playing a game on regent level as the Dutch to familiarize myself with the newer traits.
     
  7. Snarkhunter

    Snarkhunter Chieftain

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    Very strong evidence, considering Anse aux Meadows (or however it is spelled!).

    You could add your own RNG to the situation: decide how likely it is that someone would volunteer for glory vs. risk, roll the appropriate die outside the game, if the number comes up, send out the galley, if not, wait a designated number of turns before trying again.

    kk
     
  8. D.N. Pacem

    D.N. Pacem Chieftain

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    Interesting idea.

    It inspired me to do a little research on risk-taking behavior. Some of the most influential work was done by Drs. Marvin Zuckerman and Frank Farley. A good overview of their work can be found here.

    I was hoping to find a specific percentage of the population identified as risk-takers, but instead the articles I read treated it as a sliding scale from low-risk takers to high-risk takers. However, the articles left the impression that high-risk takers comprise a significant proportion of the population.

    Even if we assume a percentage as low as 1/2 of 1 percent, that gives you 50 risk-takers in a town of 10,000 -- more than enough to crew a curragh even if it's the first thing you build with your first city. Columbus' story seems to confirm this, as it suggests in the early days of boat-building there were more risk-takers than boats they could sail out on. A modern analogy is the fact that NASA doesn't have to coerce people to try out to be astronauts.

    So, unless someone can point me to more definitive research on the subject, I'm going to assume my brave people will always provide enough volunteers if I can provide the ships.
     
  9. D.N. Pacem

    D.N. Pacem Chieftain

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    Bombardment

    I have one simple rule of bombardment I've followed since I started playing this way that I should have included in the OP. It applies to everything from trebuchets to battleships to bombers:

    Do not bomb cities.

    I cannot justify blowing up libraries and killing innocent civilians. This is consistent with how I treat citizens after I capture a city.

    Consequently, I don't build many bombardment-only units and rely largely on mobile units to attack cities.

    I know this will not be a popular rule with the many artillery junkies out there. But as always when playing this way, the rules you decide to follow are between you and your own conscience.
     
  10. SeriousCaller

    SeriousCaller Chieftain

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    I played something similar this years ago in civ2 - self imposed rules of no instigating wars, no nukes, no fossil fuels, demo as early as possible. If I recall, I ended up with a small but totally fortified, fully functioning democracy, many techs ahead of anyone else, powered by hydro and solar. The rest of the civs battered each other to bits outside my gates and I won by space race sometime in the 19th century. It was probably on an easier level, but still, ethical civving.
     
  11. timerover51

    timerover51 Chieftain

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    That is one reason why I like huge continent or archipelago maps, preferably with no x-axis wrapround. That way I can develop in peace, and hopefully get so far ahead of the AI, that I can avoid any war. Fighting a war is very time consuming, and one thing I do not have is a lot of time. Right now, I am fighting a couple on different scenarios to work on unit values, but it is more like work than fun. In one of them, I am busily pounding on the Aztecs, a group that I have no morale qualms about hammering on at all. However, I have liked the thread, as it does pose some very interesting questions and ideas.

    Now that I can do editing, it would be interesting to develop a scenario where going to war early and often is a really bad idea. One option would be to make military units cost you population, the way settlers and workers do. The more technically advanced the unit, the greater the population cost, to reflect the increase in military support units required. Say one population in Ancient and Medieval periods, two in Industrial, and 4 in Modern. You can build a big army, but it is going to slow you down a lot in development.
     
  12. timerover51

    timerover51 Chieftain

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    Considering the losses the early explorers faced from sickness (scurvy was a major killer), limited ships, and bad weather, you have a pretty high level of risk-taking members of society. There is solid evidence that the Christians in Ireland sailed curraghs to Iceland and possibly Greenland to avoid the attacks of the Vikings, although escaping the Vikings does make taking risks a bit more viable an option for a larger population. Pytheas the Greek may have taken a galley all the way to Iceland, depending on how some of the Greek is interpreted, and without any question made it to England.

    There should be a distinction made between intelligent risk-taking and suicidal behavior, however. Columbus was an intelligent risk-taker. He thoroughly understood what he was trying to do. Some of the other early explorers, especially those looking for the Northwest and Northeast Passages, were not.
     
  13. D.N. Pacem

    D.N. Pacem Chieftain

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    I've been thinking along these same lines since my exchange with Snarkhunter. Specifically, I've been considering the amount of food that can be carried on early vessels.

    The pre-Columbian visitors to the Americas made their journeys by island-hopping (or by sailing along the ice pack, as in my earliest example). This allowed them to replenish their food supplies. Intelligent risk-taking becomes more and more suicidal as the food runs out.

    Because of this I'm trying out a new exploration rule. Here's how it goes:

    Curraghs can take one full turn out into the open ocean. If a border, land or shallow water is sighted, they may continue on.

    Galleys can carry more food, so they can take two full turns out into the open ocean. If a border, land or shallow water is sighted, they may continue on.

    Incorporating Snarkhunter's suggestion for determining risk-taking probabilities, when a vessel has reached the end of its allowed range and there's still no sign of land on the horizon, you can flip a coin to determine if you've found the courage and/or the food to continue. Heads means you head bravely on; tails means you crawl back home with your tail between your legs.

    (I'm past this point in my current game, so I'll try it out in the next one.)
     
  14. Snarkhunter

    Snarkhunter Chieftain

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    I'm flattered :) the only comment that occurs to me is that it might be fun to have a St. Brendan's rule. He is supposed to have sailed to America in a curragh, IIRC, and not by coast-hopping.

    Re: the earlier comment about Columbus--I'm not so sure he did know what he was doing. He knew the earlier calculations about the size of the planet, but he convinced himself they were off by 50% & thus, that he could hit Asia about the time he did. Perhaps you should factor in blind stubbornness as well ;)

    kk
     
  15. timerover51

    timerover51 Chieftain

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    Actually, you might want to reverse this with respect to curraghs verses galleys. Curraghs were mainly sailed with a small crew, who could use paddles in confined waters or during calms. Galleys were primarily rowed with large crews of oarsmen, and the major problem was carrying enough water for a voyage of any distance. Galleys tended to stay close to the coast, so that if needed, they could land for water and food. Curraghs were intended to carry cargo, and with a smaller crew, would have a greater range.

    As for Columbus, although he was incorrect about the exact size of the earth, he did not have any issues with food or water on his voyage. The real nightmares of insufficient supplies appeared when the Pacific was crossed. The interesting thing is that if Columbus had understood exactly how large the Earth was, he might not have attempted the voyage at all, figuring that he would be out of supplies before completeing it.
     
  16. Snarkhunter

    Snarkhunter Chieftain

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    Which, if I remember the most recent research I've read, is why I said he fooled himself--convinced himself the earlier calcs were wrong & arbitrarily concluded the planet was smaller than it was. I don't know if he knew anything about the Basques or fishing crews that had, essentially, already made it across the Atlantic. If he did, then deciding that they had actually reached Asia or something like it would have been an understandable reason to conclude the Greeks had made an error in angles somewhere, & that he could get all the way to the Indies, no sweat.

    This discussion brings to mind the Polynesians, which I think would make a great addition to the Civ civs. You'd make them seafaring & ag, I think, but given their accomplishments, you have to give them even more of a sea bonus. they were accurately sailing thousands of miles, with settlers, long before Europeans or even the Chinese dreamed of such a thing. (Given the ferocity of the New Guineans, Hawaiians, & Maoris, they made pretty good warriors, too.) Perhaps the conscientious builder variant could accommodate such a civ as well. . . .

    O yeah--another refinement: scurvy. Surely you wouldn't want to send boats on too long a voyage & risk everyone's teeth falling out? Perhaps you need to put a limit on how far a vessel can go without making landfall? ;)

    kk
     
  17. Exwing17

    Exwing17 Chieftain

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    I really like this thread! Great concepts to play by! I cant wait to get home and try my concientious explorer empire!

    What are your rules on privateers? Even the most honourable of civilizations must have someone to get their hands dirty :)
     
  18. rysmiel

    rysmiel Chieftain

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    It's arguable how much of that was Columbus actually fooling himself and how much was him trying to fool his sponsors, though. You look at the maps he actually showed them, not only is he exaggerating how far east Asia stretches and claiming the planet's smaller around than it is, he also drastically exaggerates how far south Africa extends, which is information he could readily have had at the time, and I've heard it suggested that he argued that Indonesia and Australia were all one landmass, all aimed at proving that no, really, going west around the world makes more economic sense than sailing around Africa to get to the people you're trading with for spices. One of these days I'm going to do an "Earth" map based on one of those maps.
     
  19. D.N. Pacem

    D.N. Pacem Chieftain

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    Actually, St. Brendan's purported route is the same taken by Leif Erikson 400 years later -- hopping from Iceland to Greenland and then to North America.

    While no physical evidence exists to confirm that Brendan ever made it to the New World, Tim Severin recreated the voyage in 1976 and demonstrated that such a trip would be possible -- which is good enough for our purposes.

    You've convinced me that I've underestimated the curragh's range. I'll add another turn before the coin flip.

    Subtracting one from the galley, though, is a problem. Once you can build galleys, you can no longer build curraghs. It doesn't make sense that learning mapmaking would have a detrimental effect on your ability to explore.

    Besides, the Vikings made it to North America in longboats that more closely resembled galleys than curraghs.

    So I'll give the curraghs another turn and leave the galleys the way they were. This simplifies the rule, as now curraghs and galleys each get two full turns into open water before the coin flip.

    I made a mistake earlier when I included finding food in a description of what the coin flip represents. Once you're two turns out into the ocean, there's a good chance, thanks to the game's own rng, that you'll never reach land again. All of the things that could kill you -- starvation, thirst, disease, storms, etc. -- are included in the vague phrase "treacherous waters."

    You, of course, looking down on your little craft heading toward unexplored areas, will always want it to continue on. The purpose of the coin flip is to give the guys in the boat a say in the matter. Those full-bellied risk-takers you started with may now be having second thoughts as supplies run low.

    I should clarify at this point that after the two turns your boat may continue as long as you keep flipping "heads". Once "tails" comes up, the trip is over, and you must return home via the quickest route before starting another journey.

    The idea is to actually be an ethical leader, not just put up an appearance of being one. I wouldn't use privateers in the way you phrased the question.

    However, I'll stop short of saying I would never use privateers. It's a unit I don't generally build, and I have very little experience with it.

    So I'll leave this up to those with more privateer expertise. Can anyone imagine (and describe for us) a use for privateers that you would consider ethical?
     
  20. timerover51

    timerover51 Chieftain

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    Actually, the ships that the Vikings used to get to Iceland, Greenland, and North America were not the classic Viking longboats, but the knorr or knarr, the Viking cargo ship. There is a very good description of them in Farley Mowat's book, Westviking. Also, the Wikipedia site has information.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knarr. The Knorr carried a fair amount of cargo, which could include cattle and sheep as well as people, and were the ships used to colonize Greenland and the attempt at colonizing North America. They were much closer to the curragh than they were to the galley.



    The privateer was basically a private warship that was authorized by a government to attack and capture enemy shipping in a time of war. The normal target of a privateer was enemy merchant shipping, and avoiding engaging warships at much as possible. During the American Revolution and the War of 1812, American privateers did quite a bit of damage to the British merchant fleet. Is some cases, the privateer doubled as a fast cargo ship, with the option of taking enemy vessels if the opportunity occured. A perfectly ethical use of privateers would be to blockade an enemy port and keep any transports from going in and out, forcing the AI to build warships to drive them away, following a declaration of war. Also, since in real life, privateers were privately financed, making them an inexpensive unit to build would be reasonable. In Vanilla, the cost is 60 shields, same as a Man-O-War or a Frigate. Dropping the cost to the same as a galley, and giving them enough combat capability to take or sink a transport would be more accurate, possibly giving them the enslave ability as well if you wish to keep the cost higher. The enslave ability would reflect their focus on capturing merchant shipping. What would not be ethical would be to use them as basically pirate ships, attacking shipping without a declaration of war.

    An excellent description of privateering during the American Revolution can be found in Jack Coggin's book, Ships and Seamen of the American Revoluton. My background is that of a naval historian, D. N. so I hope that all of this assists you in making your decisions.
     

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