The Monarchists' Cookbook Bullpen


So Happy I Could Die
Apr 20, 2007
Dancing in the Dark
What is the Monarchist Cookbook?

The Monarchist Cookbook is a concurrent succession game series to help readers learn how to play and win at Monarch level in Civilization 4: Beyond the Sword.​

What format is that!?!? What is a 'concurrent succession game'?

We can only think to describe it by comparing it to its real-life golf counterpart, the "best ball scramble":

Wikipedia said:
In a scramble (also known as Ambrose), each player in a team tees off on each hole, and the players decide which shot was best. Every player then plays his second shot from within a clublength of where the best ball has come to rest, and the procedure is repeated until the hole is finished.

And even though we thought we were coining a new format, this was apparently done last year by ruff_hi, here.

To re-iterate the format in terms we're more likely to understand:

  1. A 4000 BC save is generated
  2. All players on the roster play the save one round
  3. All saves are uploaded with a corresponding report
  4. Each save and report is judged to determine which is the best
  5. Steps 2-4 are repeated using only the previous best save until Victory

This format allows us to 'shadow' each other round-per-round using different strategies and techniques to essentially answer "Which approach is better?" This should help us all learn how best to deal with the various circumstances that arise as well as which strategies are most likely to work given certain situations. (This is particularly important because many of the strategies and gambits that work well at Prince are more difficult and often impossible to accomplish at Monarch ... so, this format should help weed out which is which!)​

So what? Why is this important to me?

Because you're invited to play, too!

A strength of this format is it never relies on just one person to play and post every round (though it's strongly recommended). Nor does it necessarily require the same players to continuously play in every game.

For example, if you're great at starting the game but not too good with the mid-game, you could play and submit a Report for only Rounds 1 & 2 and then sit back and learn what you need to learn about how best to play the rest of the game. Or, if you have IRL issues which prevent you from playing one or two Rounds, you can skip them and then pick up later when IRL calms down!

In both cases, you'd obviously want to let the rest of the team know what's going on so they don't wonder where you came from or where you went. ;)


There are 7 Rounds to each Monarchist Cookbook game:

  1. 4000 BC - 1000 BC (120 Turns)
  2. 1000 BC - 700 AD (100 Turns)
  3. 700 AD - 1300 AD (60 Turns)
  4. 1300 AD - 1600 AD (60 Turns)
  5. 1600 AD - 1740 AD (40 Turns)
  6. 1740 AD - 1820 AD (40 Turns)
  7. 1800 AD - 2050 AD (330 Turns)

Some of the Rounds may seem long, but considering the format, too many Rounds would mean dragging each game out over several months -- which none of us want to do. Also, the final Round of 330 Turns may seem long, but each game should conclude during or before the 1900's!

These Round lengths are also somewhat fluid (give or take maybe 10 Turns) to accomodate for major decisions. For example, if you're set to finish Liberalism in 1170 AD, ending your Round at 1155 AD is totally acceptable in order to allow the next Round more options. Similarly, if a major war declaration decision is proposed near the end of a Round, it would be prudent to stop there without making any decision so if your save is determined to be the best save, the decision is still open to the next Round of players.​

Posting Schedule

The playing/posting schedule is as follows (based on UTC aka GMT):

  • Day 1 (Friday) : Play
  • Day 2 (Saturday) : Play
  • Day 3 (Sunday) : Play, Report
  • Day 4 (Monday) : Play, Report
  • Day 5 (Tuesday) : Report, Post
  • Day 6 (Wednesday) : Post
  • Day 7 (Thursday) : Post

Basically, the first 3 1/2 days are for playing (and reporting if you're just that fast), and the latter 3 1/2 days are for reporting, voting, etc.

Sure, each Round could be shorter than 7 days, but this format should allow more casual players (and those committed to other series) to find themselves on the Roster.

If you play the save early in the week, feel free to post a Report as early as Day 1!​

Posting Guidelines

That being said, the Posting Guidelines (what few) are:

  • One 'official' Report per Round, please. (If you're shadowing [off non 'best ball saves'], please make very clear in your post it's a Shadow and not a Report.)
  • Enclose ALL Reports within SPOILER tags. (Only the chosen 'best ball save' is taken out of spoiler tags before the beginning of the next round.)
  • Don't play ahead. When you get to the end of a Round, please stop playing -- especially if you intend to continue playing in the Game -- because you'll get hints which may unnaturally affect your play of the next Round. If you get to the end of the round and just can't help yourself, please at least don't report on those additional turns until subsequent rounds.
  • Report by Day 5 (Tuesday) to give sufficient time for consideration.
  • Be descriptive in your Report! The #1 priority for a Report is that it should accurately and clearly portray how you got to where you got by the end of the save! It's one thing to get somewhere; it's another thing to show others how you got there -- which is the whole point of this game series.

    (In addition to including screenshots of 'micromanaging events' like tile-switching and whipping overflow (the kinds of things not everybody understands but should), using AutoLog (included in The BUG Mod) and posting its Log in a separate spoiler tag is probably the easiest way to ensure every turn is accounted for and fully understood!)

Basically, each Report should explain how you got where you got within spoiler tags.

Reports should be placed in spoiler tags to prevent other players from accidentally getting hints they didn't want prior to playing the Round. At the end of the Round's week, the 'best ball save' is taken out of spoiler tags and becomes part of the 'main' thread.​

Game and Map Generation Settings

The Monarchist Cookbook is played with the following game settings:

  • Civilization 4: Beyond the Sword w/ Bhruic's Unofficial BtS 3.13 patch & supplementary fix
  • The BUG Mod. (well, most of us, I think ... it's your choice, really)
  • Blue Marble Terrain. (again, it's your choice)
  • Random Leader. (Unrestricted Leaders OFF)
  • Seven Civilizations. (1 Player + 6 AI)
  • Seven Teams. (all on all)
  • Refar's RandomScriptMap Random Script Chooser Map.
  • Standard Size.
  • Random Climate. :)eek:)
  • Random Sealevel.
  • Ancient Era.
  • Epic Speed.
  • Choose at Random Creation Method. (includes: Fractal Continents, Terra, Hemispheres, Big and Small, Medium and Small, Archipelago & Pangaea Scripts)
  • Script Default AI's start.
  • Same Rules as AI Player's Start.
  • None Exclude Method(s).

One player generates the start. (Which player doesn't really matter and is determined at the beginning of each new game.) The start is not checked for any "non start" conditions (such as isolated, low food Capital, lack of nearby strategic resources, etc.); the generated save is played however it lies.​

Roster (those who are committed to playing in every Game):
  • Bleys
  • Diamondeye
  • futurehermit
  • OTAKUjbski
  • r_rolo1
Since this is a bullpen, it will serve to provide an overview of the Monarchists' Cookbook games. These will be listed, with links, in this post.

Monarchists' Cookbook games:
I: Otto Van Bismarck of Germany, finished,here
Chancellor: Diamondeye, Deputy: OTAKUjbski, Featured Player: None.
Map provided by OTAKUjbski

II: Pericles of Greece, finished, here
Chancellor: OTAKUjbski, Deputy: Bleys, Featured Player: Solon70.
Map provided by WinstonHughes

III: Hammurabi of Babylon, finished, here
Chancellor: Bleys, Deputy: R_Rolo, Featured Player: WinstonHughes.
Map provided by Sisiutil

IV: Mao Zedong of China, Finished, here
Chancellor: R_Rolo1, Deputy: FutureHermit, Featured Player: ?
Map provided by R_Rolo1

Immortal Cookbook Games
Hosted by Tycoonist/Carl Corey

I: Franklin Roosevelt of America, Finished, here
Hosted by Tycoonist, map provided by Tycoonist.

II: Pericles of Greece, NORMAL GAMESPEED, Running, here
Hosted by Carl Corey, Map provided by Carl Corey.

In between poll on ruleset, here

III: Saladin of Arabia, Running, here
Hosted by Carl Corey, Map provided by Carl Corey.

Emperor Cookbook Games
Hosted by ChromiumL

I: Mhatma Gandhi of India, Finished, here.
Hosted by ChromiumL, map provided by R_Rolo1

II: Mehmed II of the Ottomans, Running, here.
Hosted by ChromiumL, map provided by Oyzar

III: Kublai Khan of the Mongols, Running, here.
Hosted by ChromiumL, map provided by ChromiumL (?)

Deity Cookbook Games
Hosted by Dirk1302/Carl Corey

I: Gilgamesh of Sumeria, Running, here
Hosted by Dirk1302, map provided by Dirk1302


Here I will list experiences from the games and eventual changes to the core rules of the series:

For each game, a "chancellor" is chosen. It is he/she that posts the thread for that round and has the final say when deciding what save is chosen as "best ball". The "chancellor" will have a deputy who will do this in his eventual absence.

New games may have "featured players", who will basically act as a roster player for that one game. These are chosen from among the "peanut gallery" of shadowers that show talent for playing and writeups. There will not be a featured player for each game.

May 3rd: From now on, the overview of games will include details on who is chancellor, deputy, and eventually, featured player, for that round.

May 12th: From now on, we would prefer if saves are turned in in a special format, with the save name consisting of:
The game number (ex: MC1)
The player name (ex: Diamondeye)
The round number (ex: Round 3)
The end turn (ex: 655 AD).
The order of these is irrelevant as long as they are all visible in the save title.

May12th: Also, in presenting the save, we would like each player to present his save with a report as well as a quick capover of what is good (PROs) and what is bad (CONs) in his save. Please be fair with your assessment and not ignore CONs or state PROs that are not important.

May 12th: Players have to have a really good reason to vote for their own save, and must explain this to the other players according to the above format. "It's my own save" is not a valid argument, "I have a significant tech lead and two holy cities shrined" is.

May 31st: Format for rounds has been changed for the first rounds. This will apply to any game but the first.

July 7th: We need to find out which turn schedule to run by. Also, I added Map Providors to the game data in this post.

September 6th: The Immortal Cookbook has been added to the list. This is run by Tycoonist. Also, the voting on the Monarch games are now another variation of the best ball format. For now this is as listed in the fourth Monarchist Cookbook game, Mao Zedong of China, in the original post of the thread. The link to the thread can be found above.
Hmm, I might shadow a game or two here just how to see how it plays out. I won't be joining on the roster, though. Knowing my impatience, I'll play ahead of it nonetheless... :p
neat, sounds fun, i may join in for a game or two, or a round or two when i have time, although likely lurking for the first couple games/rounds etc.

The "problem" (feature?) with the ruleset is that it awards very risky play. While still very entertaining its probably not the best way to:

Diamondeye said:
... to help readers learn how to play and win at Monarch level in Civilization 4: Beyond the Sword.
Great idea :), shame I'm not really ready for Monarch :sad:

I think I might play along with the updates though, just for the benefit of comparing with how you all play.
The "problem" (feature?) with the ruleset is that it awards very risky play.

I'm not willing to jump to that conclusion just yet. Each round is subjectively judged ... if enough players and readers don't like seeing risky play, it's possible risky playing won't be judged kindly. ;)

I also wouldn't say the format encourages gambits (risky play), but it certainly doesn't discourage them. This in itself may be viewed as an incentive to attempt strategies we'd usually never attempt in our games (especially not online).

Trying new ideas is never a bad thing, IMO.

If the format is taken as an excuse to play loosely, then it will likely lead to the introduction and validation of strategies previously yet unseen or untested here. We will also undoubtedly learn which gambits are worth attempting and which aren't, because attempts mean failures, so we'll learn what happens when they 'backfire' and be able to see for ourselves which ones are worth that risk!

... at least that's how I'm hoping it'll play out ... there's plenty of "wiggle room", so I'm not overly concerned just yet.
This in itself may be viewed as an incentive to attempt strategies we'd usually never attempt in our games (especially not online).

^^ I agree with this part ... this system should be great for exposing different gambits/strategies. :goodjob:
This is a fascinating concept. I'm new to Monarch and would enjoy playing.
I'd like to sign up. :D

At least for now, the Roster is more-or-less locked ... it's a soft lock though, I think.

The 'charter members' are Bleys, Diamondeye, futurehermit, (me) & r_rolo1.

Anybody else is welcome to 'shadow' the game and toss up a Save and Report in any game. If the save is just that good, we'll probably adopt it at as the best ball save.

I kinda see the "sign up" process (if you can call it that) as just jumping in and playing the game with us. Once we have too many people playing in each game (however many that might turn out to be), then we'll probably spin off another team and have two games being played concurrently (lol ... concurrent concurrent SG's).

... and so forth and so on until ... until.

IDK, some of the other members can chime in on their view of that one ...
My opinion from my experience with the trash games that have a similar concept ( hermit has experience on them as well ), more than 7 saves to analyze becomes heavy for the intervinients ( comparing wonders, cities, armies, diplo status, etc... )... so if there is a lot of people interested in playing ( more 4-5 players ) it is better to make other team(s).
yeah, when i played on the trash game format it was fairly labor-intensive to play each round and analyze a bunch of saves each round. that's what gave me some pause about signing up for this format. but since others can stand in when we need a break i think we are in good shape.
I agree, fh, I think the "guest player" idea is what will set our format apart from other versions of this theme. Given the length of each turn-phase, we should have plenty of time to discuss both the saves of the players in a given round, and also make decisions about future substitutions. I have already read a very solid round by a CFC member (slobberinbear) who played and reported in way that is exactly what we are looking for, describing the "thought process" behind the decisions. I think we have a great outline here for a successful series, and I already know all involved are open minded and agreeable folk.

I am excited, this is already a blast.
I will follow, but will not be a member of succession, as I am rather going to compare my games in parallel to yours.

The "problem" (feature?) with the ruleset is that it awards very risky play. While still very entertaining its probably not the best way to <snip>

What OTAKU said. I believe this would balance out when determining the save. If a Quechua rush is risky play, it is likely not going to succeed every time (hence "risky"), so we'll either be playing from a succeeded rush (How to get your economy up & running after early rush), or pllay someone else's save.

Great idea :), shame I'm not really ready for Monarch :sad:

I think I might play along with the updates though, just for the benefit of comparing with how you all play.

I was actually thinking of you and your struggles in the NC games. I'd like you try and do a writeup (plenty of screenies and one of the log aswell), so we can try and help you out ;). As you know, I am not yet comfortable at Monarch, having only won a small map yet :mischief:.

I'd like to sign up. :D

As OTAKU said, we encourage you to play along the series. If we (and the rest of the people following the series) like your writeups, we might ask you to be a "featured player", meaning you will act as part of the roster in one of the games. Please notice that this is only an idea, yet, which we've been playing with. Also, as OTAKU mentioned, if the series is split into two (or more!:lol:) games at a time, there will be need for more roster players.

I will follow, but will not be a member of succession, as I am rather going to compare my games in parallel to yours.

That's fine with me if that is the way you like to do it :king::thumbsup:
I'll play!

Heh, I'm glad someone from the DemoGame showed up. This might make our faction a valuable asset if we can get the level of some of our members up on a secure Monarch, as that is what difficulty the DG is running on :)

Civplayah, just follow the link in first reply to find the first game. First round is 4000 bc - 2000 bc and must be posted by tuesday, latest, in spoiler tags!
Interesting. Subscribed.

A suggestion tho... I looked into the game thread, and reading it is a real pain, because of all those spoiler tags...
Perhaps making a deadline for submitting the saves (the ones to be concidered for participation), and then post reports - and more important - discussion - without spoiler tags (as everyone already past that point) would be better.
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