Brett's Games

Ice Islands

I can do better.
But at what?

Beyond The Sword
Composite Game Saves

with two cows and stone with the option of wheat it is not a bad start, but all that sea will inhibit the long term potential

The above images shows the start after (optionally) moving the warrior onto a hill revealing wheat. Clearly, moving the settler one west will provide a much greater capitol. But I am inclined to settle in place. My thinking being that I plan to go for Sid's Sushi (don't really see how I can't get it) and I can leverage the benefits of that to a greater degree by having more smaller cities. Of course, Sid's Sushi comes so late in the game as to not matter. But then, I'm thinking about setting up a (late game) secondary goal or two for myself, so that founding Sid's Sushi does matter: like maximizing the number of Future Techs I discover.


DeGaul of the French Empire
Noble Difficulty

No Barbarians
And an Isolated Start
Meaning, until Astronomy one doesn't have to worry (and really can't do much) about either offence or defence.

I haven't played a game (that I can remember, anyway) that wraps up and down, left and right. My ice up north isn't going to be as secure as I thought it would be. But I just checked and there's at least one ocean tile, between France and everyone else (even to the North), so it is, indeed, an isolated start.

Also, completely unrelated to this game, I hit the wrong buttons while in World Builder (checking the ocean tiles, don't you know) and found that I could give myself Lion Units. So, possibilities... but not for this game. The save file is un-effected and contains no added lions.

Beyond the Sword 3.19
BUG Mod 4.5 [Build 2221]
BULL 1.4 [Build 243]
BAT Mod 4.1

There are Seven Rival Civilizations on a total of Four Large Landmasses. So, I was expecting to share my starting continent with another, but lucked out and got one to myself.

And that's about all I have to say about the map.

The French Empire starts with The Wheel and Agriculture (not exactly what I would like for this map) and although it's Unique Building comes rather late in the game (it is an Observatory replacement), the Salon provides a free Artist (another reason to have lots of cities... and run Representation) and seems pretty nice. The French, also, get Musketeers as their Unique Unit, which are simply two movement Musketmen (and are absolutely nothing for me to get excited about, as muskets never last long in my games, but we'll see).

DeGual is Industrious (+50% Wonder Production and Double Production Speed of Forge) and Charismatic (+1 happy per city, -25% experience for promotions, and +1 happy from Monuments and Broadcast Towers).

I am sure I chose DeGual for the Wonder Production Bonus, but that happiness is looking pretty sweet, as well.

Extra Curricular Activities

I expect to win. I'd say I expect to trounce the AI, but one never knows. And it certainly may not feel like a trouncing in the end. Anyhow, knowing that I am isolated, I will be able to delay all the Military Techs until after Astronomy, which means I can overload the first half of the game building wonders, infrastructure, and quality of life improvements: such as, founding a religion or two.

As such, I think a few secondary goals are in order:

1: I win triumphantly by getting twenty-five Future Techs, while fifty plus is will be a dazzling brilliant win. I have no idea if this is remotely possible.

2: My people like Sushi, so when waging war, they prefer capturing island cities or those that control fish or rice resources.

And from there, I will point you in the direction of my in game notes (links below) for a further discussion of my pre-game strategic analysis.

A Debriefing in Brief

Spoilers Abound

In Game Notes

I lost too many Wonder Races.

I discovered that galley's can cross single tile ocean straights if the ocean tile lay within one's cultural borders, so I reloaded to capitalize upon that discovery.

I lost the race to the Colossus... and not doing well enough, otherwise, I quit.

Perhaps, it takes four play-throughs to achieve this kind of victory.

Log Files


Victory Is Mine

Cultural Victory
Score: 13,306
Normalized Score: 45,984

Future Tech #41

The victory was decisive. Of course, to be fair, I had more than a passing familiarity with the map and could tailor my strategy accordingly.

A One Sided Invasion

Galleys can pass over any ocean that is culturally controlled by the same civilization, so if coast lies on the other side, a galley can make a short hop across the ocean

Galleys can navigate all culturally controlled water tiles, so if an ocean tile is within a city's fat cross and a coast tile lies on the other side, a galley can make the ocean crossing.

Thus, per the image above (in which both red and green lines indicate ocean tiles), there were two pairs of islands (located next to each other, only one pair shown) where if I built a city, I would be able to cross over to the continent below. The wonderful thing about this arrangement is that while I could pass to the south (on account of having cultural control of an ocean tile), my southern neighbors could not retrace my steps and come north, as they did not have cultural control of that very same ocean tile. And how could they?

My Coast -> My Ocean -> Any Coast

By my fourth play through, I had studied the map enough that I not only learned this little bit of game-play trivia, I knew exactly where to settle to take advantage of this particular exploit on this particular map... so let's see if I can pull this off blind on future maps.

Meaning, not only did I have an entire continent to myself (thanks to the luck of the roll), I was able to settle five stellar cities (one full of floodplains at the mouth of a river, the rest all luscious hilly grasslands) on the southern continent (in what would have otherwise been American territory), having pushed my expansion in that direction first.

The Importance of Beachheads

Two settlers in position to settle in Sumerias unwanted hinterlands

It's sort of hard to see as we are both blue (well, I'm blue and he's more of a purple). But Gilgamesh (Sumeria) lies to the north, while I have two Settler/Musketeer stacks ready to found new cities in his unwanted icy wastes.

First, I was settling one fish ice islands at this point in the game back in my homeland, so two fish ice with silver and hills was sort enticing all on its own.

Second, such a city allowed me to land at my leisure a stack of twenty odd units... and draw the initial battle into my cultural territory. I have a longer discussion about this in my game four notes, but the short version is that one does not suffer any War Weariness when fighting within their own cultural borders... and the game doesn't really care why those cultural borders exist... you know, say, if they were created solely for the purpose of creating a beachhead in preparation for an invasion.

I've been putting Optics and Astronomy on the back burner as of late. But I think I should upgrade their priority.

It is not a great city site, but at this stage of the game, I will take it

Once again, the primary purpose of this city was as a beachhead. But if I had made up my mind and settled a dozen or so turns sooner, I would have been able to settle on the peninsula to the south and secure two fish.

And yes, at some point, two fish (especially with either a hill or wheat to back it up, even if that hill or wheat is going to take some investment in culture to win over) is definitely worth settling.

Progressive Economics

I have, perhaps, three overlapping economic systems that I go through as the game progresses.

Island Economy

The first, I shall call the Island Economy, which favors settling by the ocean along with the construction of The Great Lighthouse (+1 trade route per city) and The Colossus (+1 commerce per water tile).

In an effort to pare down the wonders, I will be relying solely on The Colossus next game... or so, that is the plan. I am, also, thinking about foregoing The Pyramids, but that is causing a lot more thought/concern, so it's not as settled as the decision to back burner The Great Lighthouse.

Monk Economy

The second real boost to my economy comes from spamming an early (hopefully) religion and construction the three major Religious Wonders:
Sistine Chapel
University of Sankore
Spiral Minaret
For the addition of (respectively):

Corporate Economy

Finally, in the later stages of the game (assuming the game lasts that long) a corporation or two is a must.

I definitely think Mining, Inc. is the most user friendly at +1 hammer per gold. If worst comes to worst, one can simply build gold with the extra hammers.

But Sid's Sushi is likely the most powerful (one would have to crunch the numbers, though), giving +1 food per gold... allowing one to run a slew of specialists. In fact, I was running so many specialists the idea of a specialist economy (scientists vs merchants vs spies) became sort of meaningless, as I was running every specialist I could.

Eh, maybe a few end game screenshots are appropriate.

Killer Cities


The capitol, early settlement has its advantages

With the rock (and other abundant resources), this was an ideal starting location (or if not ideal, very nice). However, long term it was rather mediocre. And without all the wonders and settled great people, it likely would have simply been a second string city.

Strike Right

Shows the power of the Maori Statues

The Maori Statues can make a city. I don't know if any other National Wonder (or even World Wonders) has this power. Add in the other Wonders that I constructed in it and it's a powerhouse.


floodplains and lots of them, land I stole early from Washington, settling it before he did

I prefer floodplains to all other tile types. And with the addition of a trio of hills, Paradise has enough (but just enough) production to elevate it into the ranks of my top three cities. For an idealized city, it would need a few more resources (three isn't that many) and another trio of hills.

Also, I should probably mention that it is the care and feeding that made these cities. I thought about switching my capitol location. And if I had founded other cities earlier or focused my wonder production in them, then they would have become my powerhouses. But once there's one wonder, there might as well be a second. And then come the settled great people. And there you are.

Since I already know that my next map will be Watery Death, I will push all settled Great People into the same city: namely, the capitol.


The big takeaways for me were:

1) The power of corporations. In the late game, they are must haves.

2) Galley traversal of ocean tiles. I got an extra five cities from that... all on better land than in my home country.

Now (after a week or so off), it's time to revisit another old map: Watery Death!

Essentially, an island start, with lots of land available for an early expansion.