Brett's Games

The Learning Curve

Previous CIV IV Games
Not Played to Completion

Composite Game Save Zip
Includes Start/Finish Game Saves
Of All Games Discussed On This Page

The Big Idea

Because I am so full of it... I mean, them.

Have you read the Stef'fan post? If so, you know that I have some aspirations of my game-play one day being modelled into an AI. And if not, then (now) you do.

I question how interesting this post will be for most humans. Then again, I question how interesting most of my posts are. So, maybe that should not be the yardstick by which I measure things.

At some point, AI's will rule the world... if not literally, then at least metaphorically. Rather than playing against other humans for the best game-play experience, you will play against AI's. This post (like most of the posts in this CIV IV spur) is intended to give raw data (because how much data is too much data) to any programmers (human, AI, or otherwise) to use in modelling the progressive skill advancement of a Human CIV IV Player, coming into their own.

Or if you don't like that, it's a data dump of games I stopped playing. So, they are not games I am proud of. But they are the games I played (more or less) immediately prior to when I started posting ALL of my games. So, like, this is the prelude to the first post.

The Games

In the Order Played

001 - Catherine of Russia

The game began with a nondescript peninsula start (that I am pretty sure I would roll over if I got now). And I believe (as it has been awhile) that I lost interest in the game after losing a war (or at least, not winning a war) against Sumeria. Also, I was clearly running my economy into the ground. Yeah, I have no interest in picking this game up where I left off.

002 - Catherine of Russia

Another seaside start with no resources and only two floodplains, clearly I was taking whatever I rolled. It's hard to believe I held out for this. At 200BC, I only have two cities. And it would appear I am coming off another loosing war (three chariot casualties, one elephant, and an archer), while my score is 30% behind the leader's.

No! Sorry. Some of the rationale there is incorrect.

I'm in the middle of an attack: at war with the Celts. And I grew frustrated at my losses. I doubt I am much better at a hard odds war now than I was then. Um, a hard odds war being a technologically equal war, one in which my units do not have the odds in their favor.

003 - Catherine of Russia

I reloaded the start file from the previous game (Game 002), so it's the same so-so seaside start. I made it a lot further and am the points leader, so I may have won this game if I played to the end... but likely, at my skill level back then, a civilization on another continent would have built a space ship first. Oh, yeah. Seventeen rivals! I would have gotten crushed. On the other hand, this crowded sort of start looks interesting to me: much different from the maps I am choosing to play, at the moment. Finally, I don't know whether it was a mistake or not; but rather than fight an early war, it looks like I chose to settle two islands, instead.

Game 004 Disappeared.
Or at least, I didn't call it Game 004.

005 - Willem van Oranje of the Netherlands

Now, this is where (and/or when) things are going to start to get complicated, because I got sick of incrementing the game numbers (without really playing a game to completion), so I have four different 05 games (Versions A-D) each using the same Game Option Parameters, but all using different maps. Also, I started getting (more) serious about documenting my games, as I have a few notes (012-005-game-notes, however brief) for this series of games, while I started taking screen shots during the next game: Watery Death.

005 - A - Isolationist Fail (met Shaka)

I started with double cows and pigs (so a really nice start) next to an inland sea, but quickly met Shaka of the Zulus, which was at odds with my desire to play an isolationists strategy in the early game, so I restarted.

005 - B - Isolationist Fail (met Wang Kon)

I started with some nice grasslands and a sole pig on a peninsula, which looks nice enough (if not great and certainly not as great as my last start). But once again, I encountered an opponent (Wang Kon of Korea this time) and I wanted to be left alone in the early game, so... abort.

005 - C - Isolated Mansu (but rex'd too thin)

Now, this is the type of start I like. I landed a slew of floodplains, gold, and some sheep. But in cutting off Mansa Musa of Mali (and isolating him, so almost as good as a isloated start), I rex'd myself too thin and ran my economy into the ground. Something, I would have a problem with for many games to come... and maybe even, still.

005 - D - Played Until Astronomy

In my (ever so humble) opinion, the start was fairly mediocre, boiling down to a double cow. When I roll now, I like to get three to five resources. But whatever. I played until I researched Astronomy. But once again, the points leader had me by a good thirty percent... and I was only able to run thirty percent research. So, yeah. It was going to be tough going. On the bright side, I finally got my isolated start. Too bad, it didn't do me any good. Anyway, at this point, I'd played enough, so it was time for a new Game_###.

006 - Watery Grave

Now, this is a nice start... and quite possibly a game I shall play again... sometime. It's isolated in that there is a single mountain range blocking expansion (with no other civilization on either side of that mountain; at least, on this continent). But more importantly, it has a cow, pig, fish, and two clams surround by lots of sea and forested grassland hills. It looks very nice to me.

all alone, a wonderful start, tons of food, and hills, things are looking good

This shot, I believe, was from the in game Screen Save option, which doesn't look nearly as good as to when I restart the game in windows mode and use my standard Print Screen Utility (by Gadwin). Anyway, the shot is from the 1AD Game Save, while I played until 840AD.

There's a huge amount of food in the capitol's Fat Cross (more than enough to work the five hill mines in reach and run a few specialists). And if I were to play this game over, I would think seriously about landing another city north of the pig and another between the horse and the wheat.

In the game I did play, I expanded too quickly towards Bismark (to the East), refused his demands for tribute, and paid the price. Eh, I would have only lost a single city in the initial war, but I was going to lose everything eventually. I had eighteen Quechuas on garrison duty in my capital (due to Pyramids and Monarchy), but only one in the city Bismark was attacking (he had two swords and a horse) and another city of mine down the line was completely undefended.

Maybe I will play this again, with Bismark being remembered in the Racial History as That Demon to the East. If I do, I'll need to change the difficulty setting to Noble. I mean, I played this at Monarch back in the day and still got destroyed. But I can handle Noble, now.

And in fact, in the zip (along with all the other game saves for this page), I included a 4000BC Game Save at Noble (including the peninsula blocking mountain, which I had previously gone in and removed) should I wish to replay this. So, I waiver on things (mountain, yes; mountain, no). Anyhow, this map is on the short list of maps to be replayed. Let's see how many of those there are by the time I am through writing this page up, shall we?

007 - Incan on Monarch Difficulty

Of course, the problem with this game was that I did not know how to run a war machine. I have notes for this one, as well (012-007-incan-notes). But let's be honest, at this point in time (back then), the notes weren't (aren't) very good. Also, there are two versions of Game 007 .

007 - A - Incan Plain Jane

With cow, pigs, and numerous floodplains, it's a nice solid start. My notes indicate that I was concerned with Persia as a neighbour (perhaps I had wanted an isolated start) and I had just lost the race for Stonehenge. But I think the real reason I gave up was the lack of an utterly outstanding second city site. Whatever the case, I closed up shop early at 1520BC.

007 - B - Incan Two Fish

This is a solid start with grasslands all around, cow, corn, and two fish. I subsequently have named many a city Two Fish... and it may have started here. I like the way things look at 1AD (save included), but I am not leading the points, which I do consistently now. Also, since I was wonder spamming, it would have made sense to play someone Industrious (or if that's not the right trait, the one that gives +50% Wonder Production). At 680AD, I had just taken over a barbarian city, while I shared the same religion with all the other points leaders, so things were looking good. But I stopped playing at 1090AD, which upon review I cannot tell you why. On reload, I easily captured a barbarian city. And although I am at war with Ragnar, he has his hands full fighting Justinian, who is the real person to fear on this map. On the other hand, I would not say that I am winning (or ahead of the pack), so why put more time into a losing game?

008 - Incan Again

There is no need to load my notes for this game as an external file.

Big Small Map
Barbarians and Other Players

Gold shown... cow nearby

So, let's try this {strategy} again

Capital: Massive Wonder Spam
Remainder: Total War

# # #

All civilizations are on one continent, bailing as America will destroy us.

It's not a great start. I would re-roll at this point... unless I was looking for a challenge (i.e. having a mediocre start as a handicap). I cannot say things were going particularly bad. But as the notes say, I bailed because everyone was on the same continent... something I might play specifically these days. After all, I need a change of pace.

009 - Incan... I Lost the War

I have fairly good notes for this one (012-009-incan-failed-war), you know, if you compare those notes to the notes I made for the previous games in this post, but they are still fairly sparse. In reviewing them, I see that I felt it worth mentioning one can only have two National Wonders in a city, so I was learning... and still am.

Also, it would appear I called this game Watery Death Take Two. I am not as enamoured of this start as I am of the original, however, which may have more to do with a wayward clam just out of reach of the fat cross to the south-west than anything else. It's a choice between a second gold and the clam, with rice, cow, and another gold already in the fat cross. At 50AD, it is clear I am doing a standard Wonder Spam game. 1160AD was, no doubt, the high point of the game. I am points leader; and slowly but surely winning a war of attrition (the save is the second peace) with the Netherlands. Unfortunately, William was able to beat back my next attack. And after sending out a few caravels, it was clear (everything, apparently, is 'clear' in retrospect this game) I was not doing that well (relative to my opponents). And I think it was my dismal place in the rankings that sapped my morale to the point where I no longer wished to play. Yeah, I'd play the original Watery Death, again, over this one, any day of the week. Now, if only I started with stone on that map... but, no. I'm not going to alter the original Watery Death map. The start is sweet enough as it is.

010 - The Gaul of It All

A DeGaul Infrastructure Fail

My final save reads, 'crap cities, calling it' in 325BC, so I'm guessing it was not a glamorous start. The in game notes (too small to want to post separately) read:

The Gaul

Toroidal World (wrap up and down, left and right)
Monarch difficulty
Mo barbarians
Four continents
Fight opponents

# # #

My plan is to:
  1. Wonder Spam
  2. Second City
  3. Fight Earlier
I took a Mulligan and restarted, mainly because I had built a settler straight off; and then, had it sitting for ten turns trying to decide where to settle. So, it was an inefficient start.

Thus, trying again!

I am paired against Shaka, on a poor little continent by my standards. I'll need to quantify those standards.

# # #

As I don't have a second city (nor is one lined up) and my research is down to 20%, I'm calling this game a failure.

No second city and the research slider at 20%? I bet I overbuilt a military hoping for a war that never came.

Nope! Boy! Did I call that wrong. It was a two cow, three seafood start. But that was the best of the best. My low rate of research was from having five cities, none (besides the capitol) pumping out any commerce (so, none being worthy of being called a second city). Oh, yeah. And this may be about when I discovered America was on my backside. No thanks. I'd bail, too... and have no desire to replay it differently.

011 - Gaul - Humble Pie

The in-game notes read:

No barbs
Four continents
8 players
French, DeGaul

# # #

I got an isolated start. So, I'll Wonder Span in the capitol with a controlled rex, building military units only for happiness.

# # #

Well, that's a fine how do you do, DeGual doesn't have the +2 cultural advantage, which I thought he did.

How'd that happen?

I guess I got DeGaul and Louis mixed up!

# # #

Well, the rex is coming along nicely. But I don't have much to compare it to, as I don't have any competition. I am not ready for a war, but many cities are growing nicely.

It's 500 AD and I'm still just settling the continent.

# # #

At 1000AD, the continent is still filling out. I will settle the northern reaches on ice.

I've completed Optics. But as I haven't built a wonder in a while, I feel behind. My research is definitely struggling.

# # #

I called it a day, pre-astronomy.

I am over rex'ing... under developing my economy.

Perhaps, if I had settled the surrounding islands with colonies earlier.

Either way, it's just not going to work.

I do not have an advantage... and will slowly lose parity.

# # #

Perhaps, back to Cathy???

As to the included saves, double cow, rock is not such a bad start (also, a wheat, I missed). And actually, for a builder this is more or less what I am looking for. Though, I'd much rather have grasslands than plains; and a few more hills, than sea. Still, it's not a horrible start. At 1AD, it looks like I have the continent to myself, which is good. But the land is mediocre, as I really do prefer grasslands to plains. So, deciding where to expand next could be really difficult. Also, not that I have done the math, but researching Mysticism at 1AD seems a bit behind the times. I stopped playing at 1300AD, while I was researching astronomy. The big reason for that is because I was second to the bottom on points. And two of my opponents had already vassaled. Of course, they may have peace vassaled and that makes all the difference, as that's just a fair-weather peace treaty. Bottom line, I can see playing this map over, again (on Noble, of course). I think I'll make the game save now.

Having said that, I should probably list out the reasons this map is appealing to me. It's an isolated start (with no barbarians, to boot). DeGaul is a wonder builder; and he starts with stone. The islands look interesting to develop (lots of fish on ice), so there is lots of land. And in this game, I only settled ten cities by 1300AD, but have room (in the isolated start) for a good ten more. And let's not forget about Sid's Sushi. I count 16 fish resources alone, indisputably in my territory. I may have a hard time fighting my opponents straight up (especially since the continental land is not that good), but if the game gets to that point (i.e. I don't win before that point), Sushi with Nationalism will give me the army I need. Also, I actually know how to work Slavery, now. I'm in Caste System this game. I could not tell you why.

Anyway, replaying this map (called Ice Islands) is on my To Do List... a list that is so long, I will never get the half of it done. All the same, note how I have found two of these maps to be particularly interesting. Well, in large part conveying that information (which ones and why) to an AI is a major reason for this post. Thus, mission complete.

012 - William van Oranje

At this point in my game-play, I am consistently making notes (I don't know if in-game notes is entirely accurate) in preparation for a write up. Still, they remain short enough to include in-line on this page.

Four Continents
Balanced Resources
No Barbs

William van Oranje
8 players (two per continent)

# # #

I drew a continent with two opponents: Persia and the Celts.

I restarted (once, which I think should do it), as I made the mistake of building a fishing boat first, and I think I can do a lot better with a worker.

Well, my city plots are more developed, but the pace of the Pyramids is about the same.

I am going for The Pyramids, then The Great Lighthouse (maybe) and The Colossus.

# # #

At 335BC, I have the largest civilization in the world with three cities. I am going for Aesthetics for the Schwedagon Paya, so as to enable all the religion civics.

From there, I intend to research Alphabet... and Make War!

# # #

My war is going good enough, but to what end?

# # #

And I am calling it quits.

I need a much better strategy.

I'm thinking no wonders.

SeaQuest for Colony potential
Bronze - Iron Working for War

By SeaQuest in the above, I mean settling islands with the sole intent of setting them free as colonies. I never do this, however, as it costs too much for too little return. If I can settle the cities, I might as well keep them.

As to the game saves, I made a screen shot of the start, which I shall not include as it's not that interesting (but more importantly, I don't have to load the game to see what it looks like as I write this page up) that includes a single cow and some flood plains. So clearly, I was taking whatever I got. It seems unlikely I held out for this. Looking at the 10AD save, it looks like I only settled the best land, as I only have three cities... but they all have superstar potential. Well, maybe not the second city (Iron Raiders), which gave me horse, iron, copper, and wheat edging up on desert. But no, those four resources are quite stupendous. And lets not forget East River (my third city), which along with corn and rock has ten (count them, ten) floodplains. If only all my cities were so well situated. Finally, the name of the 835AD save seems to imply I should have declared war sooner (you know, as my description for the save read 'war sooner' originally). And I think the reason I stopped playing here was the realization that a long drag out war of attrition awaited me. You know, I had waited too long, building up my forces and not rushing Persia earlier. Also, I still just have the three cities, which though magnificent in themselves are not the quantity required at this point in time to back a War Machine.

Oddly (or not so oddly), despite the nice land, I have no desire to play this map again... likely due to the closeness of my neighbors.

013 - Sugar Hill

Playing as the Romans, I'm just going to go out on a limb here and guess the start included a lot of sugar. Also, Sugar Hill, Sugar Swamp, Sugar Lands, and so forth have become common enough city names for me over the (not years, but) games.

The short notes that I made at the time (over a half year ago, at this point) read as follows:

Standard Game, Continents, Normal Speed, etcetera
So, has Barbarians

# # #

No map regeneration, as I liked the first one

# # #

Restarted Once
Poor management
I just feel I can do better

Second time around
Planning on settling in an Iron Cross (1, 2, 3, city, in each of the four directions) and will research Archery sooner

# # #

On second restart, a stack of four archers attacked my city, ending the game around 2000BC (or maybe it was 2800BC, coinciding with below).

On third restart, American civilization was destroyed (I'm guessing by the same barbarians) 2800BC.

So, maybe the barbarians are raging.

Good thing I'm planning a military strategy.

# # #

There is a near endless stream of barbarians. I never connected copper or iron. It might be nice if I had more than archers.
I really need that +2 culture in every city.

The start has cow, rice, and four sugar on plains with a few hills, which is nice enough. I did not save at the point of barbarian attack, so I cannot review the aftermath of that. Suffice to say, I was expanding leisurely; and so, had not rushed to hook up iron. At a casual glance, I am finding it difficult to judge the quality of my initial expansion. One thing I did note from snooping around in the save game was that Confucianism was discovered in 500BC. I should keep that in mind for my Ice Islands replay, as I've been thinking Confucianism would be a nice religion to found in that game.

Don't ask me what happened to Game 014. Maybe I just numbered the final game incorrectly?

015 - Nowheresville

Playing as Oranje, I was thoroughly unimpressed with this map. It's a cow/corn start with grasslands in the fat cross, but lots of desert after that.

a cow corn start on grasslands
Looking Good!
turns out that grassland was surrounded on three sides by desert
Never Mind!

My fairly non-existent notes read:

I thought I might be alone. Oh, well. As they say, a first impression is a lasting one. It will be war soon enough.

# # #

They are going to declare war. I, on the other hand, have no real plan of attack.

And I think that about covers it for this game. On reload, I don't see anything particularly wrong, but the land is mediocre and I am surrounded by enemies.

Ah, it is not the Vikings who intend to attack, but the Mongols. I have a ten turn peace treaty, because I gave them something, which I only had to do since they sensed a weakness. So, um, yeah. Ten or twenty turns to switch from a peaceful builder to a warmonger is not that long.

Also, I have absolutely no desire to replay this map (with all it's desert) at this point in time. So, I can't see why I would want to play it then.

Revisiting Ice Islands

And that, as they say, is a wrap. I have no idea if posting this recap (or the associated saves) is helpful or not. But then, it was on my list of things to do, so there you are.

Another thing that was on my list (and another reason I've kept these games for the past six months) was the possibility of replaying one or two of these games.

Originally, I had thought Watery Grave would be the leading contender for that. And I confess on reload I felt the desire. But at the moment Ice Islands is pulling harder. And as such, that is the game I shall be replaying shortly... in lieu of an Arboreal Map or moving on to one of the more all inclusive mods.

Wish me luck. It's been a while since I've played a regular game. So, I'm going to need it... well, that or to put my thinking cap back on.