[C3C] The Nine Conquests

Spoonwood

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Tried again, this time with more of a quick stack. Pure enkidu rush. No granaries, no barracks, no settlers, no extra workers. Babylon is so close to Sumeria. It's good that Babylon gets bowmen with warrior code. I was concerned about getting attacked by bowmen. But, they ended up fortified in cities, with warriors coming out to attack instead. It makes sense. Since bowman are their strongest defenders, the AI's logic keeps them in their cities as defense first, I guess.

Medes is north of Sumeria. I played a few more turns on Deity, and Medes still didn't have mining, which they need for bronze working. 4/4 health regular enkidus at 2/2 vs. warriors seems possible.
 

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Quintillus

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Fastest finish in the Conquests, and by-civilization... now that's a section of the Civ III HOF that doesn't exist but could have been quite interesting, especially if started back in the heyday of the game.

I did a Hittite Mesopotamia game in February, Emperor level. Their land is great, but the barbarians coming over the northern Anatolian mountains got annoying. I tried to expand out my cities quickly, which worked, but it wasn't until I had some roads across those mountains that my Three-Man-Chariots could cross that I really felt I had the local neighborhood under control. Only wound up fighting Macedon, and built 4 wonders, won when the last wonder was built. Probably would have had to play more aggressively on higher difficulties.

I was thinking last night, this thread could potentially spawn other Conquests attempts, and if we aren't careful we might have nine threads for nine different players trying the nine conquests. Not that that would be a bad thing...
 

Lanzelot

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I can't say that this much aggression is tactically sound though, for sure.
So the Enkidu rush works quite well, even on Deity. But the question is: is it really worth the despotic GA with only a few small and unimproved towns?

When I started this scenario, I was under the (false) impression that building a few wonders is the way to win this. (And I believed the Deity AI would start with their usual extra units, which apparently they don't!)
So I did not look for any early rush opportunities and rather thought, the Egyptian War Chariot (3-1-2) were the better UU. Comes a bit later for a well-timed GA and has the extra benefit that it upgrades to the Heavy Cavalry unit, the best offensive unit of the scenario.

(Also I don't mind floodplain starts, that's probably the playstyle/taste difference between us. With Egypt it matters even less, as Egypt is agricultural in this scenario! So desert is just as useful as plains here...)
 

Toxicman007

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I look forward to seeing you play Middle Ages, Lanzelot. Personally I find that one the most difficult, unless playing as Abbasids. Are you going to rule them out when choosing a civ? Even on Deity I assume it can be won by mass stacking Jerusalem for the VP.
 

Lanzelot

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To be honest: I have already looked at some of the choices and was planning on taking the Abbasids... Do you think that would be too easy?
They do control Jerusalem, but the starting land is not necessarily that great.
 

tjs282

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According to my Halls of Fame, I have won the Middle Ages at least twice on Emperor, as the Fatimids and the Danes; I have also lost as the Cordobans(? the Islamic Civ from southern Spain).

Byzantium might be interesting: relatively central/ surrounded, close enough to make inroads into the Holy Land if you chose to (or capture any Relics that might come your way...).
 
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choxorn

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(And I believed the Deity AI would start with their usual extra units, which apparently they don't!)

Looking through the scenario editor, that's true of every conquest- in all 9 of them, the AI doesn't get any bonus starting units at higher difficulty levels.
 

Spoonwood

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So the Enkidu rush works quite well, even on Deity. But the question is: is it really worth the despotic GA with only a few small and unimproved towns?

I didn't have 3 ten shield cities immediately when I declared. But, a few turns into the golden age I did. I think my capital immediately got to 10 shields. No one learned mining, and one of the issues with a despotic golden age lies in that mining bonus grassland isn't efficient, though later it becomes efficient. If mining isn't available, or one more roads and irrigates, a despotic golden age could be better than what perhaps myself and others tend to think.

It looked like I was soon drowning in unit support. No military police in what I did. But, I might have combined a rush against Babylon, combined with getting infrastructure up (granaries/barracks built in fewer turns though a bit later). The hardest part, I think, would be to get to a second AI after crushing Babylon before they learn Bronze Working or at about the same time. I retired and Medes seemed to grow fast. I also ruined my reputation with a temporary peace treaty from Babylon.

I had 700 some victory points I think.

If there was wonder access that early (I don't think such is possible), snagging an early one might work.

For the optimum, with enough runs and get super lucky with barbarian promotions, fighting some Babylonian unit, and then getting a leader in 3 battles, maybe?

Still, a bit different to have the potential to know what the map is like before a run than for HoF competitions or XOTM competitions.

So desert is just as useful as plains here

Oh. Duh.
 

Spoonwood

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Fastest finish in the Conquests, and by-civilization... now that's a section of the Civ III HOF that doesn't exist but could have been quite interesting, especially if started back in the heyday of the game.

On another start I lost an enkidu warrior to a barbarian. I thought I had seen that 'preserved random seed' isn't checked for the Mesopotamia scenario. I had saved before, so I reloaded and fought it again and won. Then I doubted that. So, I reloaded and this time I lost. So, I'm very sure that 'preserved random seed' isn't checked.

The optimal war strategy clearly thus involves reloading until you get a leader in three attacks (or two if you have several of time). Several more times of reloading also, since leaders can rush infrastructure which aren't great wonders like normal.

Maybe I've missed something about such a competition being interesting. Such a competition definitely could be more about persistence to reload and play battles again. Even though some HoF games rely on map rerolling, reloading for leaders isn't something that happens there. I think Drazek understood the HoF concept best when he suggested that it's about playing the best possible map with the best possible strategy. Reloading the same battle over and over again, sounds different than making the best possible bet/probabilistic behavior doesn't it?

I do think that not having 'preserve random seed' checked was a good call by the game designers. It can be more fun to reload a battle sometimes. And it's a simple matter to not reload if doing that is not fun, or do such only in rare instances. But, still different than any competitive play substantially.
 

Spoonwood

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When I started this scenario, I was under the (false) impression that building a few wonders is the way to win this.

You didn't have a false impression completely. I'm guessing you thought that hand-building them would be useful. That part of your impression I'm guessing was not correct. But, for some levels SGL rushing them would be part of optimal strategy. Possibly even Sid, since they don't have extra settlers and workers, though tech cost still would be high due to the cost factor affecting tech cost.
 

Quintillus

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I've played Byzantium in Middle Ages, and I remember the Abbasid's invisible unit being a big pain. Maybe I just didn't realize how to counter them effectively, but they wouldn't be my top choice in the scenario for that reason.

Conversely, if I were to play on Deity, I'd definitely consider the Abbasids, as IMO they have arguably the strongest start. In a corner, so a lot of the border is secure, and a lot of territory. Moving relics for 10,000 VP isn't necessarily easy at lower levels, though doable if you focus on it, but making a successful landing on Deity sounds much more challenging, thus making England/France/HRE/etc. less appealing, though you could still win with them without moving a relic to Jerusalem. But at least for me, no one would be "too easy" on Deity. Except maybe Japan in WWII - Pacific, as that's the one scenario/civilization I've managed to win on Sid.

On another start I lost an enkidu warrior to a barbarian. I thought I had seen that 'preserved random seed' isn't checked for the Mesopotamia scenario. I had saved before, so I reloaded and fought it again and won. Then I doubted that. So, I reloaded and this time I lost. So, I'm very sure that 'preserved random seed' isn't checked.

The optimal war strategy clearly thus involves reloading until you get a leader in three attacks (or two if you have several of time). Several more times of reloading also, since leaders can rush infrastructure which aren't great wonders like normal.

Maybe I've missed something about such a competition being interesting. Such a competition definitely could be more about persistence to reload and play battles again. Even though some HoF games rely on map rerolling, reloading for leaders isn't something that happens there. I think Drazek understood the HoF concept best when he suggested that it's about playing the best possible map with the best possible strategy. Reloading the same battle over and over again, sounds different than making the best possible bet/probabilistic behavior doesn't it?

I do think that not having 'preserve random seed' checked was a good call by the game designers. It can be more fun to reload a battle sometimes. And it's a simple matter to not reload if doing that is not fun, or do such only in rare instances. But, still different than any competitive play substantially.

Yeah, I hadn't really thought through being able to start as many times as you please, versus not being able to replay a game for HOF/GOTM. Although I personally wouldn't have the patience to reload until getting 3+ leaders in short succession - kind of like how Lanzelot discusses not wanting to play almost the same map/civ twice in a row, I'd rapidly get bored reloading until I got sufficiently lucky. Which may also be part of why I don't have any top-tier HOF games, just table-filler games for the less popular configurations.

So, yes, with a sufficient amount of patience to be blessed by the RNG gods eventually, it's not very interesting. But the basic question of, "who's the strongest civ in the Mesopotamia scenario?" is still an interesting one or no one would be discussing it. There's no 100% scientific way to determine that though, for reasons such as what you've mentioned.

If I wanted to set up a test for it to get some data on the question, I'd probably try to have e.g. 10 players each play each civ, with an honor system rule of no restarting/rerolling, and compare the results. It's entirely possible that such a trial might end with something like, "Well, the fastest time was Spoonwood's Medean game, but he got five leaders in the first five turns in that game, and on average across all players the Medeans were the third-slowest, so they probably aren't the strongest overall." Or maybe someone came up with an ingenious strategy for the Hittites that gives them the fastest time, and no one else tried anything similar, so they averaged out as somewhat slow. It wouldn't necessarily solve the debate, let alone because the ideal civ may vary by difficulty, but it would provide interesting discussion and highly debatable non-scientific data.
 
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Toxicman007

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To be honest: I have already looked at some of the choices and was planning on taking the Abbasids... Do you think that would be too easy?
They do control Jerusalem, but the starting land is not necessarily that great.

Well personally yes, but I am not a Deity level player and don't fully grasp the ideal conditions to win, so take my advice with a pinch of salt. I have had several Middle Ages games where the Abbasids win on points despite me conquering most of Western Europe, for example, but some of my more memorable games have been as the Abbasids (I tried to limit myself from mass stacking on Jerusalem and instead focused on war with Byzantium, the Fatimids and the Turks), and also as Byzantium and the Turks. I would recommend Turkey, as they have a decent start, no pre-settled cities IIRC for easy core setup, and of course they are the only civ that can make Sipahis, one of my favourite UUs in the "standard game", never mind just in this scenario!
 

Lanzelot

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I would recommend Turkey, as they have a decent start, no pre-settled cities IIRC for easy core setup, and of course they are the only civ that can make Sipahis, one of my favourite UUs in the "standard game", never mind just in this scenario!
Yep. I had looked at some more nations and also liked the Turks. Unfortunately they do start with 3 pre-settled towns, two of them (including the capital...) in crap locations, so the first action will be to settler-disband those and jump the capital. But other than that, their start is great for a Deity game, and the UU is probably the best. And they can also build Assassins! I'd rather play with them than against them on Deity... I think I made up my mind: Turks it will be!

Byzantium is probably the strongest start, but 2 core cities need relocating, their horse-based unit (Cataphract) has only 4-3-2, which is the worst of all: Sipahi 6-3-3, Knight 5-3-2, Ansar 5-2-3 are all much better... And they start right in the middle of it, so will probably get attacked from all sides...
 

Aiken_Drumn

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Could I make a small request that you spoiler your different posts? The first page is getting a monster to scroll through to find the content :)
 

tjs282

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Could I make a small request that you spoiler your different posts? The first page is getting a monster to scroll through to find the content :)
Or at least Spoiler the large images?

Alternatively, since you (@Lanzelot) seem to have been retroactively inserting new posts amongst the nine you made originally (abusing your Moderator superpowers a little bit there? ;) ), maybe add a contents-section in Post #1, so that we (and future perusers of this thread) can jump directly to the section we/they want to read?
 
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Quintillus

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Hoo boy, those Hun(garian)s sure delivered a whalloping with the help of their gods. You've got a hole to dig out of now! How are the victory points looking? I imagine you got a few victory points by combat, but they probably racked up a lot more?

Getting Sipahi and Assassins and being able to fight back seems imperative. What good are 50 cities if all you can build in them are Spearmen and Horsemen? I'll be curious to see if you can pull a rabbit out of a hat after that setback.
 

Lanzelot

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I am not yet happy with the format for this content myself. A "Table of Contents" will definitely be necessary. Will it perhaps be a good idea to put every Conquest into its own thread? But I wanted to have everything in one thread and feel that this would be better.
One idea I also had, is to "insert" empty padding posts after each Conquest to fill up 20 posts (yes, tjs282, the moderator tools allow little "tricks" like this...), then each Conquest would start on a new page. (Unless people can customize the number of posts they want to see per page?! I haven't seen any setting for this yet, but that doesn't mean none exists...)
Any ideas how to present the Nine Conquests in a better way are welcome!
 

need my speed

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Why not post new posts normally, as in, your next update comes after this post of mine, and then use your very first post as a table of contents to link to all these posts? Then you solve the issue of one page taking ages to load and ages to scroll through, and it allows everyone to easily read new content (either by looking at new posts or by using the table of contents), no?
 
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