The fourth Emperor Challenge has ended. Click on the links below to look at the rounds played: Round1: 4000BC - 2480BC Round2: 2480BC - 1440BC Round3: 1440BC - 0050BC Round4: 0050BC - 0520AD Round5: 0520AD - 1080AD Round6: 1080AD - 1280AD Round7: 1280AD - 1525AD Round8: 1525AD - 1610AD Round9: 1610AD - 1725AD Round10: 1725AD - 1860AD Round11: 1860AD - 1924AD This is the fourth installment of the Emperor Challenge series. In the last installment, we played as Roosevelt on pre-patch Warlords and pursued a trade route strategy centred on the Temple of Artemis and the Great Lighthouse. In this one, we will be playing on Warlords v.208 as Wang Kon, the sole leader of Korea. Ladies and gentlemen, I present you with The Emperor Masters' Challenge 4: The Pledge and the Prestige So what is the Pledge? With the improved AI on v.208, we won't be having an easy time. The AI's economic management is better now, resulting in faster teching. Naturally, warmongers have the advantage, since the AI's military skills have not really improved and that's the thing that is easy to exploit. However, we will not be playing extra aggressively in this game. We will be pursuing controlled expansion without putting war as our top priority. This is the Pledge, and it will be a challenge to fulfill. The Prestige would be our success at this approach despite the difficulties we would expect to face. Of course, success is not a given, and we may expect to make more than one attempt before it happens. Wang Kon is Financial and Protective. The first trait will help us keep up in the new competitive world of Emperor. It really doesn't need more selling than has already been done since Civ4 was released. A cottage economy is the natural choice for this game. The second trait, however, is quite dubious. Widely seen as a weak trait, at first glance, Protective does seem to be a rather static defensive trait. Free Drill I and City Garrison I for archery and gunpowder units and half-priced walls and castles. The half-priced buildings are certainly nothing to be excited about, but let's see how we can make use of the free promotions in our game. This trait may actually turn out to be valuable if we face the wrath of a post-patch aggressive AI (eg. Monty or Alex). Our UU, the Hwacha (a catapult with 50% bonus vs. melee), meanwhile, looks promising and it would probably be good to get them as soon as possible and exploit the advantage. Our UB (the Seowon) is an improved University that would, together with the Financial trait, help us keep up in research in mid to late game. One variant in our game that we may pursue, if circumstances permit, is lightbulbing Philosophy with a GS and building the Angkor Wat. The extra production from priests would be a good complement to the Financial trait and may make us a production powerhouse as well as a financial one. The Rules As always, anyone can give their opinion and advice regarding the game at any stage, but no spoilers, please. And please keep the discussion constructive (i.e. no flaming/trolling). 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 not enough advice to make decisions with, I will ask and wait for more. Those who are not playing on Emperor yet (especially on the new patch) can also offer their views and I will consider them equally. The Settings The game will be on standard settings (i.e. continents, 7 players, everything on default) and Normal speed. And, finally, the game itself... This is a screenshot of our start: We have hills and forests around, so production shouldn't be a problem this time. There's fish but no other resources visible yet. The lake would give us the fresh water health bonus if we settle beside it, but the nearest river is to the north, so we won't be benefiting from 2C cottages (due to the Financial trait) right off the bat if we settle around here I guess we should move our warrior first this turn to get a better look around before deciding on where to settle. Should we move him 1W onto the hill? Korea starts with Mysticism and Mining. The first gives us a leg up in the early race to found religion, but it also leaves us with somewhat conflicting research priorities. If we research Meditation or Polytheism first, we may found an early religion. However, we would want Fishing early to build a workboat and make use of the fish if it's in our fat cross. And we don't start with Agriculture (for farms) and the Wheel (for roads and Pottery), which are techs we might want to get as early as possible. Starting with Mining, meanwhile, is good news since it gives us ready access to Bronze Working and allows us to build mines right away. So what do you think? Which tech should we research first? Let's go for it. The Prestige awaits us!