The 2nd Emperor Challenge has ended. Click on the links below to view the rounds played: Round1: 4000BC - 3430BC Round2: 3430BC - 2290BC Round3: 2290BC - 0970BC Round4: 0970BC - 0595BC Round5: 0595BC - 0170AD Round6: 0170AD - 0500AD Round7: 0500AD - 0800AD Round8: 0800AD - 1130AD Round9: 1130AD - 1268AD Round10: 1268AD - 1352AD Round11: 1352AD - 1454AD Round12: 1454AD - 1556AD Round13: 1556AD - 1649AD Round14: 1649AD - 1732AD Round15: 1732AD - 1810AD Round16: 1810AD - 1880AD Final Round: 1878AD - 1925AD This is the sequel to the first Emperor Challenge. In the previous episode, we played a random leader so as to focus the game on skill, and not a particular leader or strategy. We ended up with Mansa Musa and, eventually, a diplomatic win after a spectacular comeback from being the poorest of the poor. In this episode, we will focus on a specific and challenging strategy with a leader born to such a path, the path of the faithful. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the Emperor Challenge 2: Ramesses, High Priest and Pharaoh Maybe I should begin by apologizing to vanilla players. It's not my intention to exclude you from the fun, but I think most of you will move on to Warlords eventually anyway, a move that I was rather impatient to make (a good thing too - the price of Warlords seems to have gone up over here since the day I bought it). In any case, we are using a new leader but with existing traits and under an existing civ, which means apart from certain nuances in the game (like UB, the vassal system and new AI leaders to contend with), it shouldn't be that far off from the vanilla experience. Of course the exact strategy cannot be applied to the original version, but I hope that vanilla players can still provide some advice and learn some universal Civ4 skills from others in this thread. I'm sure there are many situations that do not differ whether it's vanilla or Warlords. Anyway, back to the game. Why Ramesses? And what is the strategy I am talking about? Ramesses is Spiritual and Industrious and has a UB that allows two priests and is available with Mysticism. Certainly, he is geared towards wonder-building, temple-building and prophet generation. With him, we can build the Oracle and pull off a CS slingshot quite safely, using his UB to help generate a prophet, aiming to get Paper and Divine Right as early as possible. These two techs will allow us to build the Sankore University and Spiral Minaret, which, combined with monasteries, cheap temples and shrine income, should give us a good advantage at mid to late game research. In addition, Ramesses also has War Chariots, which have awesome potential in the early game and are a good opening for our side quest of securing enough land for our strategy. Does the emphasis on a specific strategy mean we are not looking at skill anymore? No. I believe the Emperor Challenge must always demonstrate skills that are necessary when playing on Emperor difficulty. In this case, builder skills and the ability to balance aggressive expansion and development will certainly come into play. Warmongering skills might also turn out to be necessary, and the game is open to a militaristic victory if the situation calls for it. Having said those, I cannot promise a victory and I cannot promise that every decision will be perfect. However, with your help, I am confident we will give this forum a game that is worth its attention. The Rules Anyone can give their opinion and advice regarding the game at any stage, but no spoilers, please. And please keep the discussion constructive. I don't think we want a flame war to break out in this thread. Before I begin every round, I will judge which advice is most suitable in a particular situation and apply it. If I feel that there is too little advice to base a decision on, I will ask/wait for more. Those who are not playing on Emperor yet can also offer their views and I will consider them. I am sure some of them will be very sound. The Settings The leader is picked this time, but everything else is similar to the previous episode. This basically means continents, standard opponents and default options (for Warlords). The game speed remains as Epic, which I think is a good compromise between Normal and Marathon, giving us a chance to war (for the benefit of those warmongers out there) while not dragging the game out. And, finally, the game itself... The starting screenshot: We have corn, for which improvement we have the necessary tech already. This gives us more leeway to pursue the religious techs first. In fact, with the lake(s), we might possibly be able to found Hinduism. [EDIT: My bad. I forgot that Fishing is needed to work water tiles. I don't recall ever wanting to work water tiles before having the tech.] We have marble, ironically, which is not going to be of much use as a resource except when building the National and Heroic Epics. The Oracle is the only marble world wonder we want to build and we can't research Masonry by then if we want to do a CS slingshot. We also have silk, which will not be particularly useful till about the early mid-game. We have a lot of forests around us, which makes chopping very tempting. Should we settle on the spot? We could move the warrior first to explore a bit on this turn, but he's not going to reveal much more. Our settler can only move N or NE one step if we want to be able to settle on the original spot on the second turn. If we settle on the spot, we have both the marble and the silk in the fat cross and a +1 health bonus from the lake but lose 1 forest. I'm for settling on the spot now. I don't think it's likely that anywhere north can give us a good alternative and we might as well not waste any time. What do you think? Edit**: I've no clue why my initial attempt at uploading the zip file as an attachment failed, but now I've managed to do it.