The Immortal Challenge 4: Flight of the Phoenix


Ashen One
Sep 16, 2005
Tir ná Lia
The 4th Immortal Challenge has ended. Click on the links below to view the rounds played so far:

Round1: 4000BC - 2260BC
Round2: 2260BC - 0925BC
Round3: 0925BC - 0070BC
Round4: 0070BC - 0350AD
Round5: 0350AD - 0650AD
Round6: 0650AD - 0950AD
Round7: 0950AD - 1232AD
Round8: 1232AD - 1406AD
Round9: 1406AD - 1568AD
Round10: 1568AD - 1697AD
Round11a: 1697AD - 1870AD
Round11b: 1697AD - 1870AD

The spider weaves the curtains in the palace of the Caesars; the owl calls the watches in the towers of Afrasiab.

- Mehmed II

What you thought was dead has now come back to life. Ladies and gentlemen, I present you the fourth installment of the Immortal Challenge!

Flight of the Phoenix

This challenge will once again be played on Warlords (v2.13), both for the benefit of the Mac readers of the forum (who cannot yet have BTS) and for nostalgic reasons :p Also, BTS expands the game in many ways that make me less comfortable playing on Immortal, so for the game to be at that level it has to stay on Warlords.

In this installment, we will be playing as Mehmed II of the Ottomans, giving this leader another life after the unfortunate end of the ALC on him. We will try to take advantage of the large populations afforded by the Ottoman Unique Building, the Hammam (+2 for both :) and :health:) and Mehmed's Expansive trait (+2 :health: and half-priced granaries for faster growth). We will also try to fit Mehmed's Organised trait into our strategy, which should help us maximise research by reducing upkeep costs. We can slingshot Code of Laws to get the half-priced courthouses as early as possible and then research Civil Service soon to get to Paper, Education and then Gunpowder for his Unique Unit, the revolutionary Jannisaries. They truly revolutionize the battlefield by rendering all earlier units obsolete with their 25% bonus against all mounted, archery and melee units. With them, we might be able to conquer at least a whole rival civilization. All this might suggest that we play rather peacefully until we get to Gunpowder. But we shall have to see how things actually turn out.

Out of the ashes of Byzantium, the last bastion of the true Roman empire, another empire has risen. Like the Phoenix, the new shall spread its wings and soar, surpassing even the past glory of the fallen. May our Ottoman Empire prosper!

The Rules

Each time, I will play a round with no stipulated number of moves. I will stop at suitable junctures, usually when there are a couple of important decisions that need to be made on how the game should move forward. Anyone and everyone can give their opinion and advice at end of every round, including making recommendations or commenting on previous moves. But the first rule of the game is you do not give spoilers. The second rule of the game is keep discussion constructive (i.e. no flaming or trolling).

At the start of the next round, I will decide a number of advice that is most suitable and apply or adapt it while playing. If I feel that there is not enough advice to base decisions on, I will usually ask and wait for more. Non-Immortal players are free to weigh in. Based on past experience, there is no shortage of valuable advice from players of any level.

The Settings

The game will be on the usual standard settings (i.e. continents, 7 players, everything on default) for as much a ceteris paribus environment as possible. We will again be playing on Epic speed, since we want to realise the full potential of the Janissary and you know how Normal speed tends to treat UUs.

And, finally, the game itself...

Our start:

It's a pretty good start, methinks. If we settle where we are, we get the coast, but we get a lot of water tiles and we give the river a miss. On the plus side, we get wheat and fish in the first ring for early growth. Mehmed starts with Agriculture, so the wheat can be useful very quickly, but we need to research Fishing to use the fish (doh!). Still assuming we settle in place, we will get stone and hill pigs in the second ring. Stone means we can build Stonehenge quickly, assuming we research Masonry soon after Mysticism, and we might want the wonder for the CoL slingshot. But stone also makes me think of Pyramids. Mmm.

As you can probably tell, I'm in favour of settling in place already, but a bit of exploration would still be useful in any case. I would just move the warrior SW this turn. What do you think?

Let's establish the new Roman Empire!


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Good to have you up and running Aelf!

I agree with the warrior move but it's pretty unlikely I'd see anything that would make me want to move--that's a pretty good spot you're on.
As for losing the river--IMHO coast>river. Health is about the same once you have compass and before then you're happy limited anyway. Coastal trade rocks. You'll really jumpstart the game with the plains hill and all that food.
Glad to see one of these Immortal challemges. I satrted posting after you stopped hosting them so I am glad you have returned!

My comments are from a marathon speed player who was tested on Monarch in Warlords, and can win Emperor in BTS. Never even tried Immortal so take my suggestions with a grain of salt.

I would settle in place. You have three very stronge food sources, and all different. Health will not be an issue all game. Stone, hill, and eventual workshops provide adequate production but looks like a potential GP farm. River looks like another good city site already, farmed at first and maybe good for State Property watermills. Long range, I know.

I agree to move the warrior 1 SW and see what you get.
My advice:

Settle in place. An average or slightly above-average capital in my opinion (it doesn't really offer something remarkable, like floodplains, but it is still strong with those 3 food/health resources), but there is likely to be a hidden strategic resource in those 5 plains or grass tiles.

Moving the warrior SW is the best option as well, although even if you find something good, you should still settle in place.

Your research should start with Fishing, of course, because of the fish that is there (and its on a coastal tile! Funny, I always have fish on ocean tiles).

I would suggest forgetting Stonehenge at the moment. There are more important things to do, and you can simply whip monuments with slavery. The Pyramids, on the other hand, is an option.
Nice to see you back, a change of pace from only having the ALC. Don't rely on your Jannissaries too much, like the original Ottoman Empire did. They became decedant like the Praesental Scholae in the Early Byzantine Empire.
They became decedant like the Praesental Scholae in the Early Byzantine Empire.
I consider myself quite knowlagable about history, but that is just too obscure for me. Were they some sort of elite military unit that evolved and started being extremely extravagent or something? I am curious.
@ reverend oats
The Praesental Scholae was the 'Praetorian Guard' of the Emperor after the military reforms of Diocletian. The term Praesental Scholae means 'Guard in the Emperors Prescence'. For a while they were crack cavalry troops but later became a parade ground unit for the rich. To finance his armies during the plauge, Justinian sold spots in the Scholae to rich noblemen. It was later refounded as the Excubitors by either Heraclius or Constans II I think. This also ended up becoming a parade ground unit. It was abolished after successive revolts of the Opestikon Theme, because it often revolted with them. Sorry for the long post.
I like playing devil's advocate. :)

1S looks to be a very good city site. The benefits include:
(1) Fresh water from the lake
(2) More riverside tiles
(3) No ocean tile
(4) Another bonus resource which is worth an extra commerce while building your worker
(5) More hills

and the drawbacks include:
(1) Costs a turn

If you give this position any consideration, note that moving your warrior 1S will reveal those two Southern hills. Of course, I can't imagine what sort of useful information that could give.

Oh, and a silly thought: if you do research fishing, consider mining the pigs and skipping animal husbandry. :)
I would move the warrior 1 SW before settling. If he exposes something good, you still have the option of moving your settler 1 SW and settling on the river plains. The fish are enough north that you can likely include them in another city later. Since its your capitol, 3 pops gets the stone in your borders, which isnt too bad, too late for Stonehenge, likely, but should be in time for Pyramids. Personally, I think its better to have some of those "less strong" resource tiles outside your BFC.

If this was a 2nd city area, then you would almost be forced to include the stone in your BFC, if not your first ring. However, capitols get cultured up pretty fast.

Again though, it kind of depends on what you see when you move your warrior. I am not a huge fan of non-fishing or FIN civs starting on coastal tiles.
I like playing devil's advocate. :)

1S looks to be a very good city site. The benefits include:
(1) Fresh water from the lake
(2) More riverside tiles
(3) No ocean tile
(4) Another bonus resource which is worth an extra commerce while building your worker
(5) More hills

Agree on that.

you could move the warrior 1 NE to see if there is more seafood, if not i whod settle 1 S
Its hard to give up a whole turn on Monarch, I cant imagine it on Immortal. You would REALLY have to have a huge incentive to waste a turn when you have perfectly viable turn-1 settle choices.
Aelf, congrats on choosing continents, as they make for much harder maps than Pangae, and also take much longer. However, then you had to fubber that one up by purposely using a slower speed to get some cheating time with the UU. Tut-tut-tut!

Anyhow, I'll maybe try and join in. It's just that I often feel shadowing a game is like cheating, as you end up getting extra INTELLIGENCE that really you wouldn't have playing it without seeing it played. If you know what I mean.

Anyhow, glad YOU generated this one. I don't want anyone . .. .. .. .. .ing at me for getting STONE in my fat cross.
Looks like 2 hills south. You're expansive, so the fresh water isn't a big deal. 1S is better for cottaging, and you might be able to avoid farms.

Since you're expansive on a plain hill, you get 7 worker production per turn if you settle in place, 6 if you move 1S, so you lose 3 turns on epic. Fishing has little benefit (1 tile and you have more than enough food early).
Warrior 1 SW.

Looks like cold climates, bears and wolves.

Early game, you have the wheel and pottery is your friend. Your options are axe rush, power REX with stonehenge, cheap workers, and granaries, or great wall then slower stuff.

The problem is you have to decide between masonry or bronze working, so you commit before you find bronze.

For rushing (no protective, mansa), mining, bw, pottery and definitely settle in place. For REX, I'd do WWS grow right after 1st farm finishes, maybe mining bw mysticism pottery. If I'm obsolete, I would move 1S, build a worker, go mining masonry bw mysticism -> priesthood, GW stonehenge oracle mathematics aqueduct pyramids.

Early mid game, assuming you REX to economic stagnation, you probably want to granary and cottage the hell out of your cities, abusing your expansive trait and UU. Your first big tech has pros and cons, there's code of laws if you don't want to cottage, mathematics if you want to use the UB for the happy cap, monarchy for more straight forward growing, or alphabet if you're hoping for a trade for one of the others.

If you can squeeze out some decent land before the immortal computer crowds you out and do well in diplomacy, you'll be in a winning position.
I like playing devil's advocate. :)

1S looks to be a very good city site. The benefits include:
(1) Fresh water from the lake
(2) More riverside tiles
(3) No ocean tile
(4) Another bonus resource which is worth an extra commerce while building your worker
(5) More hills

and the drawbacks include:
(1) Costs a turn

I like this. Ocean in BFC irks me, and there's no use getting fish right away. The silk is just icing on the top.

I'd say that 1 turn is worth it. This is Epic speed anyway, so we have more flexibility (which IMO helps to make for a more satisfying game as we can explore our options instead of being constrained by time).
Good to sea you back Aelf!
Is it just me, or does it look like there's water E of the pigs? I hope it's a lake for another food bonus.
Thats a nice start. Lots of food and decent hammers. I don't see a reason to not settle in place.

This spot just asks for wonders. I'll be lurking.
I moved the warrior 2SW, since there is no better suggestion on what he could do:

Well, now we know there's a tribal village nearby and floodplains for a potential future city site.

Anyway, I read with interest the recent article about ICS in Civ4. Maybe we can apply this strat to some extent in this game, since Mehmed is Organised (can afford more cities and has cheap courthouses) and the Hammam will help by allowing each city to grow larger fairly early. More pop = more power. Mass draft Janissaries, anyone?

What do you think?
I really like 2E 1S as a Capital site - it would make a beastly cottage monster with Civil Service, giving you cottage-helper cities to the northeast (with fish) and east (with stone, assuming some food over there).

Mass-draft janissarys is *definately* a good use of Mehmed - though that means Liberalism slingshot to expensive Nationalism and a slow-research of cheaper Gunpowder.

If possible, a pre-Liberalism diversion to Drama is not a horrible idea to get your Globe city in-place for eternal drafting.
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