The Unluckiest Lucky Start


Mid-level Micromanager
Jun 29, 2006

I just got my first solo Emperor win, but decided along the way that I'm just not quite done with Monarch. I decided that, what I really need to do is spend a little more time at Monarch. I'd rather have mastery than mystery at that level before I make "The Great Leap" again. So I set it to continents, random civ, random opponents, I think I even set the barbs to random and decided to take the first start I got:

I took one look at this start and thought: "2 cows, fish, ivory, forests and wheat! Cool." I was reluctant to say that the game was in the bag, but things were looking good so far. I'm not sure if you can tell from the screenshot, but that's Carthage that I got. Industrious and seafaring. That's good. Numidian mercs. Eh, they're OK. I could have done much worse. So I sent my settler 1 NE, set the worker to watering the cow, and set to thinking about how I could make a settler factory. Shouldn't be too hard. Built a warrior and started 'sploring.

By 3350 Bc, here's what I had discovered:

Hmmmm. I'm on a peninsula. That's going to mean cramped quarters for my core. Also, no hills & no BGs. No real strong shield producers. That's OK. It's stilll early days yet. I've just to got keep claiming territory right now.

By 2670, I've got boats in the water and I had met some of my neighbors. The Americans, Koreans and Indians e on my landmass. I had also explored more of my continent.

Spoiler :

Yes, that's jungle to the north that you see. I see some silks and spices so my early lux situation looks good. And I've got plains and hills, so maybe I'll have some horses or iron, right?

By 2550 BC, I had also discovered that the Togukawa shared my landmass and I thought that was fortuitous, indeed. He knows about horses. With some clever trading and some suicide curraghs, I could set myself up as the tech broker. I'd set up Carthage as a settler factory and even decided to go for the Colossus, thinking that the extra gold would be nice. I had Bronze Working (obviously), Masonry, Alphabet, Pottery, Writing, The Wheel Warrior Code and Ceremonial Burial. The Americans were down The Wheel and Writing; India was down Writing, and Korea was down The Wheel, Warrior Code, Ceremonial Burial and Writing. All were broke except Korea, who had 10 gold. If I could make contact with the other continent, I'd be sitting pretty.

So I surveyed my tiny empire and found that I have no horses. A bummer, but not fatal by any means.
Spoiler :

That's OK. I'll be fine with swords and cats, right?

By 2350, I had already lost several suicide curraghs (stacked, no less) on their first or second turn in open water. Getting to the other continent would not be easy. On the other hand, I had gotten my hands on Iron Working, and carefully surveyed my terrain. Guess what I found . . .

Spoiler :
No iron, either. Looks like it's archers and cats and I really need to consider the Statue of Zeus.

Over the next several centuries, I continued to explore, research, and try to make contact. By 1525 BC, I'd made contact with France and the Hittites on the other continent. I also had a much better understanding of my surroundings:

Spoiler :

So my core will be tiny and cramped, I've no horses, no iron, little fresh water, a huge jungle to the north and barbs on my doorstep. As Pepe LePew used to say, "Le Sigh . . . "

Wish me luck!
Many ways around that.

* Use your searfaring ability; use faster galleys to move settlers up the peninsula (along each side). Also, you can use this to reach the iron up there. Your cheap harbors should also help you get the supply connected.
* Don't make war unless you just want to use a catapult and Num. Merc. stack. Luckily, the jungle doesn't completely trap your position, so you can still attack the Japanese this way. Or you could wait until Invention and use Longbows and Num. Merc.
* Use your settler factory to outnumber and outresearch the AI. Both cows should be irrigated. Use the forests or a mined plain to make 5 spt. An extra high shields tile could be used temporarily upon growth.
* Colossus?! Utica better make a harbor to take advantage of this then (you'll also need a government change because of the despotic penalty). (You're settling too closely in your core, so it won't be able to use sufficient land tiles to make the Colossus worth it.)
* Alternatively, switch the Colossus to SoZ. Aim for Math ASAP. Use Ancient Cavalry to beat the AI.

Many ways. You can't really lose.
I have no advice, but I'll be following this with great interest. Good luck!!! :)
I think you should switch the Collusus 2 The Statue of Zeus & get Ancient Cavalry :) I think you should of expanded north not south :p thats just my opinion
Me too. Statue of Zeus.
Chapter 2: Will my luck hold?

Between 1525 and 1350 BC, the Americans beat me to the Colossus. Well, the money would have been nice, but I switched back to a palace prebuild and set my sights on the SoZ, which I was able to grab. You just gotta love those Ancient Cavs! This part was actually played prior to my beginning this story, but those of you who wanted me to switch to the SoZ should be pleased. That takes care of my problem of not having horses, at least until Metallurgy. The Wonder race looks like this:

The Americans have bagged one and have another under construction. I'll have to watch them. Otherwise, nothing exciting going on. Tech-wise, I'm comfortable. I've pulled off the Republic slingshot and garnered a monopoly or two along the way.

By 1225 BC, I've filled my little peninsula, and explored a fair amount of the world. Unfortunately, barbarians seem intent on containing my growth.

Spoiler :

It took me a while to dispatch the barbs, as they were camped on a hill, and my fearless warriors, . . . Well, at least they weren't afraid of dying. :shake: So by 1000 BC, I've cleared the path for future expansion, but now I can see that Japan's expansion is pushing them closer to my lands.

Spoiler :

There's obviously no threat right now, but at the same time, there's a definite shortage of prime land in these parts.

By 825 BC, I've met everyone. My enem..., er, trading partners, will be:

The Japanese and the Iros are racing for the Pyramids, while the Americans, Indians, Hittites and French work on the Oracle. I, on the other hand, have a whopping 6 (that's right, 6) cities, my ivory and my Statue of Zeus. On the other hand, my trading situation looks like this:

So I'd be lying if I said that I were totally dissatisfied with progress so far.

By 550, BC, I've pretty much decided that a palace jump may be in order later. That may explain to some of you why I've spaced cities so closely. Down the road, you'll see that, in some areas, I shoehorn cities in even tighter. But I think that (assuming I get an MGL), I'll jump the palace somewhere toward the northern fringe of that jungle. I've not had a war yet (to my own surprise), but the Koreans and Indians are beginning to settle in the jungle, and barbs have come calling. War's a-coming. I hate being on the defensive, but I've gone ahead and turned Leptis Minor into a chokepoint to protect my core, should that become necessary. I've made the switch to Republic, and growth is noticeably increased.

Spoiler :

Soon enough, I'm going to bump up against India and Korea's sitting on the closest source of iron, so they're pretty high on the list. Haven't decided what t do with Japan, yet.

Don't delay too long before using your ancient cavalry. Though they are still >pikeman, they are <pikeman in a city. I'd say attack sometime before invention. Attack India to obtain silks (helpful in The Republic). Then attack Korea to get Iron. (Though I don't think you'll really need it until you also have horses, which you don't.)

The Indian and Korean jungle towns will probably not grow. It would be better to raze and rebuild next to the razed town. You get a free cleared jungle (from the Indian/Korean town) and your own choice of town location.

You may want to escort a worker to clear a tile in that marsh. Then settle immediately. (Are the barbs raging?)
Chapter 3

By 470 BC, it was apparent that I was going to have to go take a poke at someone. Unfortunately, I wasn't going to gain any strategic resources with a short war. Horses and Iron were both a long way off.

Spoiler :

I knew that I was on the road to war for something. From the looks of things, the first war might just be for a lux that I would trade for horses or iron. As much as I use Ancient Age Wars, I always seems to take forever to prepare for them, so it wasn't until 170 BC that I finally DOW'd India. Here's where I stood, militarily.

Spoiler :

You can see from the minimap that India's got two small cities to my north, but then the rest of their empire is on the other side of Korea, so I'm not exactly worried about them sending units streaming across my borders. I left a few ACs at home, just in case I had to defend my western borders against the Japanese or Americans, and took this stack to Lahore.

Lahore fell quickly, but the lack of roads and a barbarian uprising (to the SE of Hadrumetum) made for slow going in gathering my forces to take Karachi. It wasn't until 30 AD that I prepared to take Karachi.

After Karachi fell, the Indians unsuccessfully attacked there, kicking off my GA. I kept Karachi and Lahore. I needed more unit support and they were far from the Indian capitol, anyway. Try as I might, I still hadn't been able to buy any iron. Either my idiot neighbors didn't have extras, or had not hooked it up. I was, however, buying horses from the Americans. That allowed me to build horses to supplement my ACs. Now that I had horses, the next step was: Operation Iron.

The Koreans had built Namp'o on top of the iron source, but I thought if I took a force up along the eastern seaboard, I might be able to take it. I also knew that it would be slow going. It's jungle all the way from Lahore to Ulsan, which I'd need to take down on the way to Namp'o. Then it's jungle from Ulsan to Namp'o. Add to that the fact that Namp'o was on a hill and that the Koreans had Feudalism, and I had a problem. I couldn't take my trebs along because of the jungle (unless I wanted to spend centuries roading it), and I was going to face pikes in a town on a hill. On the other hand, I also couldn't let my military fall behind for lack of resources any longer. Horses and ACs weren't going to cut it against Pikes in towns, especially on hills. As I recall, the Koreans hadn't had Feudalism very long, so I thought I'd better strike before they could build very many pikes or MDI. (I was fairly certain that I'd relieved them of enough gold that they wouldn't be upgrading.) This was the plan, anyway.

Spoiler :
Chapter 4: Got Salt?​

Chapter 4:
By 50 AD, I had captured both Lahore and Karachi. I was buying horses from the Americans and planning to take the nearest source of iron, Namp'o. Invention was 15 turns away, and I was killing my economy with unit support. I was allowed 17 units and had 47, meaning 60 gpt in unit support. Fortunately or unfortunately, the Battle of Namp'o seemed likely to ease that burden.

I wasn't quite ready to attack the Koreans, so I expanded as far as I safely could, planting more towns, clearing some jungle, trading techs, and building units. It wouldn't be until 300 AD that I would finally really prepare to attack.

Now, here's a zoomed out picture of the empire in 300 AD. As you can see, Gunpowder is 5 turns away. Anybody care to lay odds as to whether I've got saltpeter?
Spoiler :

[Yes, I changed the graphics. The others were simply too hard on my eyes.]

Because of the jungle, I couldn't take my trebs to the siege of Ulsan and Namp'o. Well, I guess I could have, but laying the roads would have meant many more turns in which the Koreans would have had iron and I would not have. So I piled horses high and deep and sent them north into the jungle. By 360 AD, I had destroyed Ulsan and was preparing to lay siege to Namp'o.

Oh, and I had learned Gunpowder:
Spoiler :

By 450 AD, Namp'o was mine. I'm afraid that I don't have any screenshots available, as I got caught up in the battle and didn't think to take any. Here's what I can tell you, though. I planted a settler on the edge of Korean territory and sent horse after horse after horse. Some died, but many more retreated and I eventually completed a road to Ulsan, enabling me to move my trebs in. Shortly after their arrival, Namp'o fell. Unsurprisingly, I immediately made peace with the Koreans following the fall of Namp'o and began MDI and Pike Builds.

Trading continued to be lucrative, and this was the situation:
Spoiler :

Thoughts or advice?
Aabraxan said:
Anybody care to lay odds as to whether I've got saltpeter?
Of course you didn' didn't have anything else, so why would that trend change? ;) Looks like a settler poach should grab it for you from the Americans. :D
Great Story!
Looking at the map you might be able to rush the temples and go for a culture flip or expansion which could grab the saltpeter from miami. Its an interesting layout though. America is worth taking out for the luxuries resources its got, they could get nasty later on. The same goes for Japan, they will have to go to war with you or America soon. How about allying with America against Japan? Let the Japs take miami then you take it back.
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