[BTS] What to do? Please help.

NightOnEarth

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I'm a seasonal player, every year in winter. As a result, I often forget things that I had already learned and unfortunately cling to old habits. So much for the preamble. I'm currently stuck in a game: Me: Hannibal of Carthago, level emperor, size large, map shuffle (fractal), 9 civs, climate cold, sea level middle.
Spoiler Current situation :
The start was ok. on my continent. My rival Justinian (Byzantium) is friendly with me. Naturally my neighbor Montezuma started a fight, with Justinian and with me. Now he is Justinian's vassal - like Kublai Khan - he didn't want to be mine. Qin Shi, the fifth on our continent, is pleased and far behind. Nothing threatens me militarily as Justinian is friendly to me, so I'm now focusing on technology. My two caravels meanwhile have found the other four nations, one giant (Darius, Persia) and three dwarfs - Victoria of England, Boudica of the Celts and Isabella of Spain. Darius already has 15 cities - and room for more - and mostly grasslands, whereas I'm limited to 11/12 cities, grassland and plains mixed.
My empire:






He's way ahead of me on points and here's my problem. What should I do to win the game? I tend towards cultural victory. Is this realistic? The conditions on my continent and with my neighbors are there. Tech-wise I would go the following way: education-liberalism (freedom of speech +100% culture, free technology) - astronomy (foreign trade) - catching up on music (cathedrals +50% culture) - constitution. Does this make sense?

I know I played suboptimal. Please don't let that be the topic of this thread. But I would be happy to get advice from you on how to continue playing successfully from here.
 

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sampsa

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I don't know much about culture victories, but I know that so far you haven't taken the game to that direction. Actually it's a bit difficult to answer to your questions, because so far your actions haven't had any real direction.

Now what I would do from there is to plan how to vassalize China. Shouldn't be hard, you already have some units (that are costing you 30:gold:/pt btw) and your power is already higher than his. Should be doable if you just whip some trebs? There are several advantages. You can direct his research, you can get his resources and he acts as a cushion against Justinian. Then proceed to take the good ex-Aztec cities from Justinian and try to do so much damage for Justinian that Monty breaks free, then proceed to capitulate them both. You don't want the weak Aztec cities in the tundra btw. Then either go towards space or inter-continental warfare.

If you insist on playing a peaceful game, I guess you could win space with the land you have. Start by deleting many of those costly old units. Libbing astro seems like a good idea.
 

Gumbolt

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For culture I would of liked 3-4 religions to spread for cathedrals. For this to work you wanted 3 decent cities where you had spammed cottages. The capital and your other commerce cities don't all have maxxed out cottages. Watermills right now offer very little. given financial trait. I guess you could run 4-5 artists once NE is built.
A low food map like this makes a GP farm harder. Hermitage would help. Getting culture buildings up too. Ealy wonders also help as culture doubles after 1000 years.

It's a shame that double fish site is out of use. For me I would of still tried cuirs here albeit you are late for this. Getting Chinese as a vassal would be nice but your power needs to be 2x theirs?

How does friendly on Ai work when one of the vassals is your worst enemy. I think it's still possible he can declare? Can someone confirm this?
 

sampsa

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How does friendly on Ai work when one of the vassals is your worst enemy. I think it's still possible he can declare? Can someone confirm this?
I don't think it works like that. Justinian is friendly, his vassals doesn't matter. If you had Monty as a vassal and Justinian was say annoyed towards him, that would alter Justinian's attitude towards you (for example pleased+annoyed ->cautious).
 

Gumbolt

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I don't think it works like that. Justinian is friendly, his vassals doesn't matter. If you had Monty as a vassal and Justinian was say annoyed towards him, that would alter Justinian's attitude towards you (for example pleased+annoyed ->cautious).
That's it. So if he took Chinese as vassal that would impact it. I knew vassals impacted it somehow just couldn't remember how.
 

sampsa

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Getting Chinese as a vassal would be nice but your power needs to be 2x theirs?
Oh I didn't mean peace vassal btw, just war and swift capitulation. Should take 2 cities max.
 

NightOnEarth

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Thanks for your advice, sampsa and gumbolt. Almost all of my wins have been space races, so i'm really disoriented at the moment.
So war against China and then against the two Byzantine cities in the west and against Montezuma. I would never have dared to take this route because Justinian's military is significantly stronger than mine. Hopefully China, my future vassal, can weaken him or at least delay him. One last question. My Numidian Cavalry (and Swordsmen) have some promotions. Should I upgrade them (instead of dissolving them)?
 

Gumbolt

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What units will you attack China with? You need to scout out the ai stacks. I would personally go cuirs. If they have castles it makes trebs unpractical. With low food whipping is not ideal.
 

NightOnEarth

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That's a really good question that prompted me to analyze a little deeper. I have a slight technical advantage over Justinian, Qin Shi (optics, guilds) and Kublai Khan (paper), but the three seem to be best friends and trade quite a bit. So I will have little time to turn that lead into superior units.
On the other hand, in the war against Montezuma I was able to collect promotions for my units (7 Numidian Cavalry, 4 Swordsmen, 4 Catapults), Qin Shi's military strength is rated 1.0, but he hasn't fought a war yet, so probably no upgraded units . An attack with knights and macemen would be conceivable, but the upgrades are damn expensive (140g Numidian cavalry<knights, 110g swordsmen<macemen). But I am worried about China's UU, the Cho-ko-nu, with their collateral damage. It's hard to tell without a scout, but I believe you are right and China's cities have walls and castles (+100% defense, protective trait), which would make a pre-gunpowder attack problematic.
If I manage to make Qin Shi a vassal, there are two weak points for a subsequent attack on Justinian's two cities to the south. Kublai Khan as Justinian's vassal will also attack me, and by taking Nanjing I would have a border with Justian and not be able to use China as a buffer. Unfortunately, the alternative you mentioned, attacking with cuirassiers (gunpowder unit), is currently out of reach. My idea would be Education(2t left), Liberalism (7t)>Astronomy (for the tech-slider), Gunpowder (5t), Music (2t or trade), Nationalism (8t if Darius still doesn't want to trade), Military Tradition ( 10t). Until then I would try to upgrade or build as many units as possible (Knight>Cuirassier only costs 30g if I see correctly) and to build a good number of siege weapons - not for tearing down city defense, but for collateral damage.
 

5tephen

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Have only looked at screenshots.

I'd stop heroic epic production in it's current city and put it in one of the high hammer former Aztec cities - my aim is for HE city is generally for it to do nothing other than produce units for the rest of the game and generally try to put it in the maximum natural hammer spot.
 

sampsa

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What units will you attack China with? You need to scout out the ai stacks. I would personally go cuirs. If they have castles it makes trebs unpractical. With low food whipping is not ideal.
Oh I would definitely just go with trebs asap. Yes you need to waste turns bombarding, but should still be faster than waiting for cuirs.

Kublai Khan as Justinian's vassal will also attack me, and by taking Nanjing I would have a border with Justian and not be able to use China as a buffer.
You can gift cities back if you need to.

I'll play a bit and post a save.
 

sampsa

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T185: start 9 trebs. 6 of these are without barracks, not ideal, but not a huge deal.
T186: music from Budi for some old stuff, sell map for everyone. How did we manage not to win circumnavigation btw :hmm:

T190:
Spoiler :
Declare. Scouted a bit with the medic and guy has nothing (which was already known though from power ratio). So just walk in and capture, starting from Guangzhou which doesn't even have a castle, not that it would matter much. Cho-ko-nus are irrelevant.

Civ4ScreenShot0376.JPG


T198:
Spoiler :
Capitulation. Haven't yet gifted city back, but I think it's a decent idea, though certainly not necessary. Cavalry is not too far (Qin can do some of the work) so probably should attack at rifling.

Civ4ScreenShot0377.JPG


You are being way too cautious. War at even power is a breeze for the human player, assuming you have a unit that can crack through AIs best defenders. Yes some trebs die to PRO hill longbows (I think I lost 8 or so) but with +10 cities you can get many out quickly. Justinian with two very weak vassals has zero chance once you get to rifling. And maybe rifling is an overkill.
 

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civac

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If you go up against castles with medieval tech you should look to get 5Exp on your siege units for Precision. Vassalage + Barracks is the way to go typically. Nevertheless, even without it Trebs work just fine vs the AI. Just need to be patient.
 

sampsa

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Oh, forgot to mention - I bombarded for one full turn and on the next turn bombarded with all but 4 or so, which then led the attack. Perhaps could get less casualties with bombardment until 0% defences, but thought it's unnecessary as I could easily capture the city after damaging top defenders.
 

NightOnEarth

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You are being way too cautious. War at even power is a breeze for the human player, assuming you have a unit that can crack through AIs best defenders. Yes some trebs die to PRO hill longbows (I think I lost 8 or so) but with +10 cities you can get many out quickly. Justinian with two very weak vassals has zero chance once you get to rifling. And maybe rifling is an overkill.

sampsa, i am very grateful that you took the time to continue my game and proofed your strategy successfully. Yes, you are right, I lack a lot of experience here (almost all my games are more or less peaceful), but I hope I can learn a lot from your playthrough. I probably won't be that successful right away if I follow your example, but we'll see.
Speaking of circumvention! That was my second target with the two caravels. Unfortunately one can't sail east because my continent stretches from north to south, but through map trading I see that in the north I get around the other continent. Apparently the card trade benefited someone else more than me.
 

Zavior

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You are being way too cautious. War at even power is a breeze for the human player, assuming you have a unit that can crack through AIs best defenders. Yes some trebs die to PRO hill longbows (I think I lost 8 or so) but with +10 cities you can get many out quickly. Justinian with two very weak vassals has zero chance once you get to rifling. And maybe rifling is an overkill.
I think this was one the most important things to realize and capitalize on for my own games. You can absolutely crush AI's with less than 0.5 power ratio against theirs, the AI does not know to how to war. The AI will not continue to use the whip as the human player should, so the power spike will quickly turn the the power ratio once reinforcements roll in, if they are even needed.

As to what comes for war preparation, unless you are playing an absolutely rigged map, you should have bulbed to a tech advantage against the AI, and compound on that by whipping more higher tech units than the AI has and thus have favorable trades on most of the fights to keep the snowball rolling. You can further magnify this effect by having a golden age, using caste system to pop a great merchant or two to upgrade your pre-whipped old-tech army and upgrade it in a turn to have a crushing advantage.

Many games of Lain showcase this, using a golden age with caste system to run merchants to upgrade a pre-whipped/chopped horse archer army which is then upgraded to cuirassiers to have an absolutely massive power spike, even against deity AI's, and absolutely crushing them.

On emperor once you kill their offensive stack you shouldn't expect more than three or four defenders in a city, if even that.

Once their offensive stack is gone, their power will plummet. Often times you can achieve this by capturing a city near your border and just having a few stack defenders with your conquering army, and the AI will suicide their army on your stack defenders.
 
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NightOnEarth

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I followed sampsa's example, conquered the two chinese cities, but Qin Shi doesn't want to capitulate (yet). Why?
Spoiler after the fall of Nanjing :

Okay, it took a turn longer, but that won't be the reason. Could it be that my military strength is just too low (china 1.9)? If so I probably stopped my production of military units too early in the feeling of certain victory. I also had some bad luck losing two units that had well over a 90% chance of winning.
t199 Nanjing captured.JPGQin Shi won't capitulate.JPG




Now I fear Justinian will seize the opportunity to vassal Qin Shi. Is that even possible as long as I'm at war with China? I probably overlooked an important detail or stopped my military production too early because I was too sure of victory. What should I do? i play to learn. Therefore I'm ready to repeat my last turns if necessary.

Spoiler Succession war with Justinian :

Meanwhile Justinian has the possibility to build cataphracts because he probably has Montezuma's horse. My spy should destroy the pasture I think. Otherwise the upcoming war against justinian will be difficult.
Justinian has Montezuma's horse.JPG


... because sampsa mentioned it: with a bit of luck i will be the first to circumnavigate the world next turn.
Spoiler Circumvention :

circumvention next turn.JPG
I didn't sell my map to Kublai Khan who already had optics. During the passage of the other continent I saw a fleet of spanish caravels. Thank god they probably had other plans and thank god the mongolians and the spaniards haven't met and exchanged maps yet.


One last thing: With Economics I embarked my great merchant towards Persepolis. I can't find any trace of him in sampa's save. What did he do and how was he used?
 

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sampsa

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One last thing: With Economics I embarked my great merchant towards Persepolis. I can't find any trace of him in sampa's save. What did he do and how was he used?
I think I lost economics (to Mansa?). :gripe:
 
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