The Emperor Masters' Challenge 3 (on Warlords)


Ashen One
Sep 16, 2005
Tir ná Lia
The second attempt (we lost in the first attempt) in this Emperor Challenge has ended with a victory. Click on the links below to view the rounds played in the second attempt:

Start: 4000BC
Round1: 4000BC - 2640BC
Round2: 2640BC - 1560BC
Round3: 1560BC - 0400BC
Round4: 0400BC - 0450AD
Round5: 0450AD - 0820AD
Round6: 0820AD - 1050AD
Round7: 1050AD - 1290AD
Round8: 1290AD - 1400AD
Round9: 1400AD - 1540AD
Round10: 1540AD - 1665AD
Round11: 1665AD - 1832AD
Round12: 1832AD - 1904AD
Round13: 1904AD - 1950AD (Part 1)
Round13: 1904AD - 1950AD (Part 2)

In the year 2092 AD, global warming changed the face of the earth. Climate change brought about fierce hurricanes and the melting of polar ice caps, inundating land around the polar regions and all over the world. Seas dried up and new seas were formed. Continents changed shape as the oceans around them writhed and shifted. A new ice age had arrived.

Human civilization as we knew it was destroyed. In desperation, countries fought each other for dry land with everything they had. The resulting nuclear exchange only hastened the onset of the ice age. 99% of those who survived the pandemic of 2081 were killed by the cold, the natural disasters, the war and the outbreak of disease in the tropical regions as dead bodies piled up.

What followed was a century of darkness. Survivors lived in underground shelters and knowledge rapidly decayed as they lived like animal scavengers in the harsh conditions. Within decades, everything learned since the time of the ancient civilizations had been forgotten, and what remained was the most primitive and necessary knowledge such as how to make fire. Spoken language was preserved, but writing and the alphabet were not. It was as if the clock was turned back to 4000 BC or earlier.

It took almost 100 years before the surviving humans could emerge on the surface of the earth. By then the nuclear winter was over and the surface was habitable again. The pockets of survivors had coalesced into a single tribal group each with a vague memory of their past identities and of the wickedness of other human beings. With that, they embarked on the long road to rebuild civilization.

This is the third installment of the Emperor Challenge. In the previous episode, we played as Ramesses of the Egyptians and went for a 'religious strategy' centred around two key wonders - the Spiral Minaret and University of Sankore. After fighting extensively with the other 2 civs sharing our continent we were left behind in terms of tech by the other continent. However, we dominated our continent and managed to win by diplomacy again. In an alternate win scenario, we caught up with the other continent and managed to win a space victory.

This installment is also played on Warlords. Again, my apologies to the vanilla players (why don't you get Warlords too? :p). Although we are playing Roosevelt, who keeps the same traits, the trade route economy we are aiming at depends to some measure on the Temple of Artemis, which is a Warlords wonder. My apologies also for not waiting for the new patch (for all I know it could be released tomorrow). There's no given date for its release so waiting for it seems rather pointless. By not waiting, I am taking the risk that the game could go very wrong due to the bugs in the current version of Warlords. I hope this game will be as smooth as the previous one.

Anyway, yes, the trade route economy the focus of this game. Why? I think many amateur players, myself included, do not pay much attention to this aspect of the game. We are obsessed with cottages, specialists and commerce multipliers and we take trade routes for granted. Sure, we research techs like Currency and Corporation for the extra trade routes and we may switch to Free Market with the vague idea that it benefits our economy. But do we even glance at the little box in the city screen that says "Trade Routes"? Do we build harbours at the right time to increase the numbers there? Do we realise just how much benefit the Great Lighthouse and the Temple of Artemis, with their bonuses to trade routes, can give to our economy? Do we research Astronomy early to reap the benefits of overseas trade routes?

I hope this game will show us everything we need to know about trade routes and reveal the potential they have in affecting a game and the strategies used. To give us some added challenge, we are going to aim for a domination win this time and are playing with different settings. If this game turns out to be a win, it would be a good signal for us to move on to an Immortal Challenge :cool:

So what's with the theme and the choice of leader? The theme is just to spice things up, as well as give an excuse for the Ice Age map :p It also suits the trade route focus since in a harsh new world, trade would be important for the individual civilizations' survival. Despite the memory of past transgressions against each other (and that's why they are more aggressive ;)) human beings remain essentially a pragmatic species when it comes down to it. The choice of Roosevelt is affected by our focus, since he is Industrious and Organized. The first trait helps us get the wonders we need, the Great Lighthouse and the Temple of Artemis. The second trait allows us to expand more (and therefore have more coastal cities to benefit from the Great Lighthouse), as well as build a lighthouse more quickly to start on the Great version earlier. His UU, Navy Seals, might help us in a late game domination push in establishing beach heads (think Operation Overlord) if we need to invade the other continent. His UB... Well, we'll see.

The Rules

The same as before:

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

Here are the settings, different and not so different:

Diplomatic victory is disabled this time (not realistic in a post-apocalyptic world marked with distrust, yes? ;)).

And, finally, the game itself...

The starting screenshot:

We need a coastal capital to have a Great Lighthouse/ToA combo, so this is good in that sense (high sea level probably helped). There's wheat, which we can improve immediately (we start with Agriculture and Fishing), so there's good reason for building a worker first. There's a short river for the fresh water bonus and for irrigation. There's also a tribal village nearby and our warrior can pop it immediately by moving SW. Should we do that?

PS: I've never asked about this before, but some of you may not be seeing nice screenshots if you running on low resolutions. Mine is 1280x1024. Any problems with it? I can make the screenshots bigger, if that helps. They are currently at this size to keep the file sizes small.
The screens are fine the way they are... at least the one you posted...

Settle on the spot?
Hmm nice challenge Aelf, although I am not used to play with these settings I hope I can contribute with some advice.

My first impression:
Wheat good
10 forests near , good
No hills as far as I can see, oops... You need production to build your wonders
Low on grass, not too good
No sea resources sucks

Conclusion not so good starting locations at the first glance. Prob. some resources gonna be revealed later on.

Thinking on the next move.. Normally I would move the warrior 1 SW, but there is a hut. I dont like popping huts with warriors since it gives not the best result most often. Popping it with a culture pop it would always give good results. When no city is build I think the results with the warrior will also be positive (eg no barbs) though. So in the end I think I would still move the warrior SW first.
Well no hills, but it's Plains Plains Plains everywhere..! Which may or may not be bad, but...

Well, okay maybe not settle there, maybe move the Settler 2W or 1W 1NW.
Why would you sacrifice a potential (settler) turn before you can know more about the surroundings (like sea food in the south or something)?
Tough starting position. Definitely move the warior 1 SW to see what more is over there otherwise it is a very poor starting position. Even the wheat is on a plains tile so not a lot of food. No sea resources sucks. Now lets imagine you get horses and copper in the BFC even then I start to wonder if it is a good starting spot. If I am counting correctly there are 4 grasslands. If you farm those and the wheat then you will have only 5 excess food and just 1 production. Poor, very poor. Tough choices right at the start.
Guys, this is an Ice Age map. A less than fertile starting plot is to be expected. We do have plenty of forests to chop and to help with production in the early game, so that's good. I'm pretty sure at least another resource is around or will appear soon (copper/horses/iron).

Having marble nearby would be great. I think I'd have no complaints if that's the case (unless we don't have both copper and iron anywhere).
Ah that explains the shortage of food. Slaps himself on the head for not reading the settings carefull enough.
It explains the absent of food, but not for hills imo. And that one is more important when being industrious. I also don't think Ice Age also means less sea food or does it?

I am betting you will have horses in your fat cross (to be).
normal game speed :(

I think you should move the warrior west (do not pop the hut) and then settle in place unless you spot something.
capitol is in an unfortunate but ok position. you may end up having to settle your 2nd city somewhere in the east, northwest, or southwest but still on the coast to start the wonders your thinking of. since you will have time to produce such settler before getting the tech required for the great lighthouse that wouldnt be a killer.

200 for the lighthouse would be doable off of chops and/or whip overflow.. but whipping in this environment could be seriously costly.

you might be able to pull off getting the great lighthouse in the capitol, but I'd make scouting for a 2nd city site a priority.

until you can improve better.. your capitol might just be better off leaving the grassland forests intact for the production. if/when you start chopping take the plains forests first.

in order to maximize the trade routes you will either need an ai on the coast or 3 cities sooner rather than later.

given the situation, cant afford to lose turns. settle in place you'll be ok.

Settle in place, chop one of the wonders (loads of forests is good), and build the other wonder in a decent production city. You might want to move your capital later on, as this place doesn't look that good. But with Ice Age, you never know.

Gosh, that is one poor starting position. On Emperor. With aggressive AI on. I assume you won't get a better option for your other cities too. I wonder if you haven't set your goals a bit too high this time?

Anyway, once again you have my attention. Thanks for the thread, good luck!
I'd move the warrior SW first and then see if I see more interesting things in the surroundings before settling.

The starting position could certainly be better. The capital will be very deprived of production if no production resources or hills come up.

I haven't much to say at the moment, but good luck anyways...
Having spent yesterday evening reading the second emperor challenge, I would just like to say congrats on creating the most interesting, readable and useful CIV 4 thread so far (and that goes out to all of you regulars, not just aelf).

As an obsessive (and usually successful) trader on lower difficulty vanilla games, I'd like to think that I could offer the odd nugget of useful advice here.

I'd say that your playing style is actually quite well suited to pursuing the trade path (managing diplomacy and growing the empire are both v. important), but bear in mind that, unless this turns out to be a pangea, crossing the oceans sooner rather than later (and certainly much sooner than on the last challenge) will be vital. Otherwise you'll probably be missing out on the really lucrative long-distance trading. So, maybe a beeline for astronomy should be considered, once you've got the basic infrastructure up and running.

Good luck!

ps. You'll also need to keep in mind that profitable trade routes need large cities to trade with, so don't be afraid to gift unused health resources to your main trading partners. It can also be worthwhile to help out your partners in wartime, if there's a mutual enemy on the attack who might devastate those lucrative foreign markets and so cut down your profit margins. Remember, you can't succeed at the trading game unless you've got strong friendly cities to trade with.
Move south and pop the hut with the Warrior. There's worse odds of something good than waiting for the border expansion to do it, but you'll get a look at one extra sea square to check if you have some more food resources to use. I think that's worth the tradeoff with this starting position.
petey said:
Move south and pop the hut with the Warrior. There's worse odds of something good than waiting for the border expansion to do it, but you'll get a look at one extra sea square to check if you have some more food resources to use. I think that's worth the tradeoff with this starting position.

I agree with this. If there's seafood in the south and we can still get the wheat, we'll probably settle on the southern coast. Anyway, as Voek said, I don't think you get barb spawns when you don't have single city.

So I moved the warrior SW and popped the hut. It gave us 81 gold. Not bad. Here's the screenshot of the map after that:

Well, no seafood there. I'm for settling in place as the fresh water health might be handy. Should we do that now or spend the settler's move exploring for this turn? If you suggest the latter, where should we move him?

About the lack of hills on the site, I'm not too worried since there are at least plenty of forests to help with production, which we can chop if we need to. I think we can safely build and chop the ToA, which I would build first (I think there's more competition for it as there is no improvement required to build it) and build at the capital for an extra bonus to trade route income (IIRC capital gets +25%). If we need to we can build the Great Lighthouse at a more productive city and get the same effects (except that the GPP wouldn't add to the capital's).

I agree that we shouldn't chop all the forests early in the game so that there's chance for regrowth.

Anyway, I'm taking the poor-looking starting location with a pinch of salt since we are playing a less than standard map. We should take it as a challenge and make the best of it. Immortal starts aren't likely to be much better, and it's good to prepare if we want to head in that direction.
Winston Hughes said:
You'll also need to keep in mind that profitable trade routes need large cities to trade with, so don't be afraid to gift unused health resources to your main trading partners. It can also be worthwhile to help out your partners in wartime, if there's a mutual enemy on the attack who might devastate those lucrative foreign markets and so cut down your profit margins. Remember, you can't succeed at the trading game unless you've got strong friendly cities to trade with.

Welcome to Civfanatics! :king: :king: :king:

You gave generally good advice. Thanks and keep reading and commenting!
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